With nearly an 8 year quit, I hate to think that I have to worry about smoking ever being a consideration again.
Many group all addictions as one and often compare alcohol addiction to cigarette smoking.
While I agree that if you start smoking again, you will continue for however long, I can't compare the two.
Smoking was something we did many times a day. We could smoke and continue to function in our daily lives.
Can you imagine an alcoholic drinking 20 drinks or more every day? They would most likely not have a functional life if that were the case.
Alcoholics drink to escape reality, Smokers smoke to get a buzz but it's not as totally overwhelming as drinking is.
I believe our brains are the supercomputers that remember everything we have done, every cigarette, every feeling, every emotion. Now we may not be able to draw them out on command but I believe they are up there rolling around.
When you are totally zonked as in drinking or general anesthesia, I don't believe the memories register. The pain of what made you drink is still there if it is not addressed but the memories of that 10th drink in an hour are not.
I do not put alcohol addiction and nicotine addiction in the same category because of this. I believe alcoholism is more of a disease than smoking. In other words, I feel we have a choice to smoke whereas an alcoholic doesn't because they are typically drive by despair. To the recovering alcoholic that says smoking is harder to give up than alcohol, perhaps it's because it is so deeply ingrained by it's repetition and the memory connections it makes.*
We know that nicotine sensitizes pleasure receptors in our brains and after time, these make it difficult to obtain pleasure without nicotine involved.
We know nicotine is nearly out of our bodies in approximately 72 hours after we stop using it.
We know these pleasure receptors that are sensitized to nicotine die off in about a years time from when we stop using it.
So, what brings people back to smoking after a number of years of being free of smoking? I believe it's the memories and feelings tied to smoking each of those cigarettes?
There's a saying on my page.
There are only two ways people come back to smoking. They talk themselves into smoking or they drink until they lose their inhibitions and then they talk themselves into smoking.
Now I know if I started smoking again, I would continue because I have no temptation to have just one puff. It would be a definite choice to smoke long term again. I don't choose to live in fear of that knowledge like an alcoholic who must fear that first drink after abstinence.
How are you going to live your life? In fear of relapse or in the Joy of Freedom?
It's your choice you know.
* This was added after the blog was posted for further clarification.