Hooray to all of you!

Discussion created by docmarkc on Feb 25, 2009
Latest reply on Feb 25, 2009 by amber11
For those of you like myself who quit in '08. Great job and I know you don't need MY approval as you are almost giddy with pride for your own accomplishment.

For the rest of you... Those planning on quitting sometime next month, I can tell you that you are embarking on a journey. Quitting is not a destination, you cannot declare a negative, meaning you cannot say that you have quit. The sheer numbers of people who relapse and return to smoking is proof that you can only say that you have not smoked since.... (Fill in the blank). That sounds harsh, and I don't want to dishearten anyone, but it is what it is.

Yes, it is a battle and a terribly one sided battle. Cravings, hopelessness, desire, and weak thinking are powerful in the beginning. It can seem insurmountable. Read my blogs, I wondered if I would EVER stop thinking about it. The amazing truth is that you don't. but the tide DOES turn. Here it is almost a year, and I think about smoking several times a week, but the cool thing is that where I used to think "wow, I got a craving... an urge... DAMN, I don't smoke, why me? when will this end?"
Now, when the thought comes to mind as I pass a smoking shelter, or I see an ashtray outside of a grocery store. It starts with "Hehehe... I remember when this would have bugged me. Now I am the one in control! I don't desire to smoke in the slightest. I still get the ping of "Now is when i would smoke" but I would not call that an urge or a desire. It is more of a memory or an autonomic reaction.
The best part is the feeling of strength and power I have regained. I feel that as a smoker I was weak, I was controlled, I had to subjugate myself and submit several times a day to a paper tube filled with dried leaves. I had to pay through the nose money I could have used for my children's education or on a better home just to satisfy a pathetic addiction that I created for myself. Seriously I have to remind myself to not think poorly of people who don't want to quit or are unwilling to at least try. That is not my place... It isn't right or fair. I'm just being honest tho, it is difficult to not look down my nose at them from a gut reaction level. Especially when I see someone smoking while driving... seeing a butt flung out a car window, watching a smoker drive by with kids in the car, seeing people huddle behind their workplace in the cold wishing not that they were inside, but that it were warmer outside because of COURSE they are going to smoke.

I wish I could grab each one of you by the shoulders and look you in the eyes and make you hear these things. I didn't see them until later, I didn't understand until after, but If I had, I would have quit years sooner. so please... HEAR THIS!

Physical withdrawals only happen as nicotine levels drop... When they are at zero they can't drop anymore so after you have flushed out the nicotine (That is three days folks... 72 hours.) it is no longer nicotine withdrawal. It is ALL IN YOUR HEAD!

The powerhouse of addiction is not the nicotine. The big brawler is dopamine. made by your own body! As nicotine enters the brain, the brain releases dopamine immediately. Dopamine once was thought to be a pleasure chemical telling the person that they are experiencing a pleasurable thing, but more recent studies have shown that dopamine "Solidifies" memory in the brain. It is a chemical "Bookmark" that tells you at a subconscious level to "Remember this moment". In summary, the smoker, having physical withdrawal symptoms of anxiety, headache, restlessness, and agitation, takes a puff, and as those negative symptoms wash away (Or better yet as the body is tricked into feeling normal) a flood of chemicals flow through the brain screaming THIS is important! THIS is what you need every time you feel bad, THIS is what you need to remember, THIS is how to feel better in all situations! Worse, the smoker does this over, and over and over again each and every day for years and years and years. Think about petting the dog and giving him a treat when he acts good. You can train him to do anything. Personally I did NOT like being trained. Worse yet, trained to obediently follow a lie.

Next... No matter how crappy you may feel at any particular moment... No matter how badly your subconscious screams at you... after the first three days... I'm sorry, but the cigarette is NOT going to help. If you think it will, you are lying to yourself. I understand you have years of brain development because of the dopamine telling you that a smoke will fix it all, but the stress you feel, the anxiety you are trying to escape... STOP! Take a deep breath. drink in this one moment, this single triggered urge. Don't think about the day, the week, or the month, this is just ONE moment in this ONE urge to smoke... Seriously. This isn't that bad, and in fact... In the past, sometimes I felt this anxious and irritable WHILE SMOKING! You aren't feeling any different than you ever did, the only difference is that there is a part of your brain telling you it is different BECAUSE, and will only be fixed BECAUSE you need to smoke. You don't. It is a lie... You are lying to yourself and it is working.

You are better than that.

P.S. I do apologize to anyone who reads what I write and feels that I am too much of a downer or that I am too hard on people, but please understand that I was this hard on myself first, this site is about what works for each person, and this worked for me. I wish everyone the best, I truly do.

If I have just one, then I will be right back where I started. Where I started was wishing I could be where I am now.