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General : "Will I always get the craving?"  
     
Reply
 Message 1 of 7 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/9/2005 7:16 PM

Hi All,

I hope you are well.

I quit smoking 3 months ago today, and I thought it would be easier by now.

But I find myself thinking about cigarettes or smoking as much as ever.

Is there a point at which it gets easier, an amount of time, or will I always get the cravings.

Thank you in advance for any help

Robert



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Reply
 Message 2 of 7 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/9/2005 7:22 PM
Related readings:

Reply
 Message 3 of 7 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameStarshinegrl-GoldSent: 12/9/2005 7:27 PM
Hi Robert,
 
CONGRATULATIONS on having lived your first three nicotine free months!! I hope you are really proud of yourself and you also celebrate this day with something special.
 
Sorry, I can't tell you at which point in time it will get easier for you as really Every quit and "Everyone is different. What I can tell you is that "No, you will not always have cravings - comfort will come for you, too.
 
Just some questions: have you got any idea why you are thinking about cigarettes or smoking as much as ever? Are you missing nicotine? Are you thinking about your life as a non-smoking person, which, of course, will also lead you back to comparisons with what your life was like as a practising addict. Are you thinking about the many positive changes you will no doubt have experienced by now?  Have you tried replacing the word "cigarette" with "nicotine ? Did you try to Think about something else?
 
You might not think it at the moment, but you are doing great, Robert. 3 months of the beginning of your nicotine free life!!!
 
Wishing you a great nicotine free future.
 
Gitte
378 days and a bit

Reply
 Message 4 of 7 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_forza-d-animo_Sent: 12/10/2005 3:11 PM
Robert,
  Congratulations on having made the decision to quit smoking and nicotine.  You must already feel a tremendous difference in your life, your ability to breath, smell, and your energy level likely have all improved.  All of these are positive reinforcements that you did the right thing when you recognized what your addiction to nicotine was doing to your health and so you made up your mind to live without it.
 
  But you are troubled.  You say that after 3 months of nicotine free life, you "think about cigarettes or smoking as much as ever."  I'm sure you have heard the joke about the man who went to the doctor and said "Doctor, It hurts when I do this ..."
The doctor's reply of course is "Don't do that."  No, I am not being a wiseguy.  One of the articles Joel recommended addresses the same issue.  Just think about something else.  (I did not link that here but the link is just above in his original reply to your question.)  What many of us do not realize is that we are focusing on the idea of having one cigarette and how good it would be to smoke just one to relieve the withdrawl, the anxiety, the stress, the anger, the fear.  Just one is all I need.
 
 You probably already recongnize where I am going with this.  You can't have just one cigarette.  The key to your freedom from nicotine addiction is to avoid having one.  One is easy to avoid, but if you were ever to smoke that one, it would be the thousands that come after that would hard to keep yourself from smoking because you will need them again to prevent the withdrawl which you will go through about once an hour for the rest of your preshortened life as a result of your nicotine addiction.
 
  Change your perspective Robert.  Stop looking at giving up the smokes as a sacrifice that you made, something that you are suffering through against your will.  You made an informed choice to quit smoking because you know what the consequences are if you were to continue inhaling from that paper tube that is laden with toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and particulates.  You chose to quit.  Make a list of your reasons and when the desire to have a cigarette presents itself state them out loud to remind yourself that this is a positive experience.  After three months, you have proven that you are capable of living nicotine free, now seek to prove, as all of us have, that life is not burdensome without nicotine, it is infinitely easier, healthier, more enjoyable then when nicotine dictated to us what we could do and for how long based on our need to suck hot toxic laden smoke into our lungs again to keep from going into withdrawl.
 
  If you choose to remain nicotine free, you will soon discover that the freedom from the thoughts that you seek is not in taking that cigarette that you have conditioned your mind to believe will offer relief, but in denying yourself that short term satisfaction in favor of a lifetime of FREEDOM.
 
If you choose to never take another puff, you will never regret it.  Read as much as time affords you at www.whyquit.com and you will learn everything you need to know to about your addiction.
 
Never give up.
 
Joseph

Reply
 Message 5 of 7 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/11/2005 7:39 PM
I need to update this one a bit. Linda sent me an email after I posted this original string pointing out to me that I should have asked Robert if he had been off nicotine for the past three months or whether he was just off smoking. I am so used to working under the asssumption that people writing to me from the forum are of course nicotine free.
 
This is the email I sent to Robert a couple of days ago:
 
Hello Robert:
 
I just realized that there is an important question that I failed to ask you. Have you been off all nicotine for the past three months or just off smoking?
 
Again, if off all nicotine the reactions you are having are more of a psychological nature. If you have used nicotine products like patches, gums, inhalers, etc, then there is another more likely explanation of what is occurring. Please let me know what your method of quitting has been over this time period.
 
Joel
 
This is the response I just got today:
 
Hello Joel

Could you please reply on my behalf to the people who have taken the time to respond in the forum.

Just to say thank you and that the advice they have offered has been just what I needed.

I have now thrown away my inhaler and will carry on nicotine free.

Thank you

Robert

Ps.

I have tried to join the members forum previously but was unsuccessful.


I am glad we got this clarified, for Robert's sake as well as for all people reading here.

I am going to attach links to articles addressing this string:

Hooked on the Cure
NRT and Quit Meters
How to Apply for Membership at Freedom


Reply
 Message 6 of 7 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/11/2005 7:42 PM
Some additional commentary to the above incident:

The difference of a cold-turkey withdrawal period in contrast to a NRT based withdrawal period will be obvious to any of our members who had quit at the same time as another family member, coworker or friend who started using a nicotine replacement product at the same time that they had just quit smoking. When comparing notes the first few days of the quit you will likely see a lot of similarities in the complaints. But as the days progress, it usually will become obvious that there will be a divergence in experiences, withdrawals easing up and quickly ending for the cold-turkey quitter, while the NRT user still is complaining of constant desires and symptoms, or as Bill has seen--they are still supplementing nicotine delivery with cigarettes.

Our members have got nicotine out of their systems. They are at the point that they finally have gained control over their addiction, their health and their lives. They know now to keep that control all they need to do is keep all forms of nicotine out of their system by never administering it again via chewing, absorption through their skin, through their nasal passages, injecting it, and avoiding the most direct route of administering nicotine to the brain—by smoking it—by just knowing now to never take another puff!

Joel

I am lifting the post below from our Quit Cold Turkey string:

I read a comment somewhere in a post yesterday that cold turkey quitting was the ONLY way to quit. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit; it is just that cold turkey is actually the easiest way to quit. It is also the method that the vast majority of long-term ex-smokers in the world have used to quit smoking.

There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some people who cut down gradually and actually pulled off a final quit. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many multiples of others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do real world research into how to quit.

By real world research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.

The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually got off nicotine this way.

I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be though, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal. On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!

Joel


Reply
 Message 7 of 7 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/11/2005 8:37 PM
This is another important series of commentaries exploring the situation that this post created:
 

For our members and readers who also read or participate at other quit smoking sites

We have members and readers here at Freedom who also participate at other online support sites. Recently one of our members posed a question at the board as to why a specific member at another site was still having such a hard time even though the person was off smoking for several months. Actually, we took the post off the board at Freedom because it specifically copied and pasted the post from the member at the other site and we do not allow posts from other sites at our board without prior permission of our managers.

The question though touches on a few important concepts that would be beneficial for us to address for people who do read at other sites. There are some real limitations to reported quit times at most other boards because quit meters at other sites do not often reflect how long the person is actually off nicotine. Some people may still be on NRT or have just very recently got off the nicotine product even though their meters may show a much longer "quit" time. 

Then there are the constant discussions that go on at other sites as to whether people should reset their quit meters if they only have a few cigarettes, or one cigarette, or a puff. The debate of what is a slip and what is a relapse is standard and daily fare at most sites. When it comes down to it you just don’t know the accuracy of quit time periods from anyone at most sites by simply reading their quit meters.

We have a string at Freedom titled Tell a newbie how many seconds a day you still want a cigarette. This is an extremely important string. If you go back and read through the hundreds of responses from people who are off for weeks, months, or even years and you will get a real appreciation of just how infrequent smoking thoughts really are for people who totally break free from nicotine. If you were to pose the exact same question at other sites that have the limitations of variable interpretations of what it means to be truly quit you would likely see many different answers and a wide variety of responses to this very same question.  

The problem of defining what is really being quit can even pose problems to people who are not using any form of NRT or had any "slips" (relapses), for by reading the comments of other people who are “off smoking?for days, weeks, months or years and who are still complaining of this symptom and that craving can set up the expectation that quitting is really a long drawn out battle. This sets the stage for either a self-fulfilling prophecy situation or for easily blaming everything that goes wrong in an ex-smoker's life on the fact that he or she had quit smoking.

If you are you feeling stressed on a particular day weeks into your quit or having a specific physical symptom—it must be because you quit smoking. After all, look at those other people who are feeling stressed or having the same physical symptom the same day who have been off for just as long. We on the other hand try to insure that our readers recognize that if they are feeling stress or are having a physical symptom it is probably because they are just facing one or more stressful situations or are having symptoms to a problem that they had better find the real underlying reason for the cause. The string Life goes on without smoking explores this issue. 

Other sites often lack a very thorough educational component helping people to understand important concepts inspiring people to quit or reinforcing their resolve to stay off. We have four major components built into the sites of www.whyquit.com and Freedom. We try to give our readers the understanding of why they smoke, why they should stop, how to stop, and most importantly, how to stay free from not only smoking but from the control of nicotine. The combination of having all of this information and being truly nicotine free gives our readers a real edge in sustaining their quits and of helping them to have a healthier and happier outlook on their life as a non-smoker. We help them to develop a more positive attitude and this will often minimize the emotional adjustment period people can experience when quitting. We also help them to see early on that they are not depriving themselves of a cigarette as opposed to ridding themselves of smoking. We in essence help to speed up the emotional recovery process for many of our readers. 

I sometimes worry about our members participating at other sites for the conventional wisdom advice and different philosophies taught can sometimes sidetrack them in their progress. In a way though I think it can also be helpful for some to read at other sites too as long as they read at these sites with an educated and critical eye. Our members will often see people having an extended hard time and may very well be able to recognize just why these other people are in a perpetual emotional or physical withdrawal state and end up feeling more grateful and protective of their own quits. Our members will also see relapses on a regular basis and realize just how important it is to do everything in their power to make this quit stick. 

By the way, we have guidelines as to how to behave as a Freedom member when at other sites. I am going to copy comments we have in Our Mission Statement string that talks about how we don’t want our members stirring up debates at other sites with our materials and philosophies. What we are doing here at Freedom is controversial and we do not believe in stirring up controversies at other sites. 

Also I am going to attach a few other links here that I think would be good for people who participate at other sites to read. Again, if you do read at other sites work at developing a critical eye and recognize what you are reading may not be what the person is writing. You may be reading “nicotine free,?when the writer was saying “smoke free?or even “smoke free except for that one puff here and there that didn’t really count.?nbsp;

Again, read these additional links below, They will help to prepare you to read anywhere and to recognize the real advantage you have in understanding just why you quit and why you are still totally convinced that you want to stick to your personal commitment to never take another puff. 

Joel

Threads that shows how we are different than other sites: 

I Liked My Other Support Group More

The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom

Good news, our members don't relapse anymore...

Do members of our board seem to be too happy?

Misery Love Company

Quitting can be a very lonely experience

NRT and Quit Meters

Problems and limitations with the use of NRT's


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