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General : Advice for a non-drinking alcoholic on quitting  
 Message 1 of 8 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameLucínda  (Original Message)Sent: 12/15/2005 10:05 AM
Dear Joel
I finally last night felt comfortable enough in my quit to tell my parents, who were both overjoyed that I have stopped.  My mother is an ex smoker, but my father still smokes.  He is 76 and has been smoking since he was 12.  He has tried all the usual methods of giving up but has failed every time.  He is an alcoholic, albiet one who hasn't had a drink for years.  He is very keen to find out how I did it and I said I would print your library for him because he doesn't have access to the internet.  I was also going to print off a few of the threads from Freedom if that is okay and I wondered whether there was any particular advice you would give him?  Or if there is anything that I should draw his attention to?
Regards and thank you
Nicotine free for 3W 1D 12h; ?14.30 richer; 675 cigarettes not smoked.

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 Message 2 of 8 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/15/2005 1:30 PM
Hello Lucinda:
I wanted to make sure that you knew that we had most of the articles in Joel's Library assembled into an easy to download and print e-book at The book is also indexed making it easier to go back and search for specific information.
I am going to attach an article below that discusses alcohol and smoking cessation issues.
As far as for printing out strings at Freedom, it is fine. If he is nervous about how hard it will be over the long-run to stay smoke free, the Tell a newbie how many seconds a day you still want a cigarette string is particularly powerful at clarifying how not smoking really does become relatively easy over time, and will not lead to the lifetime preoccupation towards cigarettes that many people assume it will be.
Also, a few days ago a new string was started at Freedom titled Whats Your Favorite Link Parade? There you will find recommendations from a number of our members of strings that most influenced them.
Hope this helps.

Can people quit smoking
and still drink alcohol?

There are different groups of people that must be taken into consideration when addressing alcohol and quitting: people who have never taken a drink in their lives, people who are truly social drinkers, drinkers who consider themselves to be social drinkers but who may in fact have a drinking problem, people who know that they are alcoholics and who have quit drinking, and people who are actively drinking alcoholics. There are different considerations involving quitting for each of these groups.

Never Drinkers

The easiest group of course is people who have never been drinkers and don't plan on ever drinking. There is nothing they need to worry about regarding alcohol consumption when quitting smoking.

Social Drinkers

Truly social drinkers can still drink alcohol without risk of smoking relapse--but being mentally prepared can be crucially important for them. They must go into ALL drinking situations reminding themselves that they are recovering nicotine addicts and that they are going to be recovering nicotine addicts for the rest of their lives.

While that may not sound great in concept--being a recovering nicotine addict--it sure beats being an actively using nicotine addict, hands down. For over time, being a recovering nicotine addict has no real signs or symptoms and no real adverse health or even social effects associated with it. Being an active user would actively be destroying tissue with every puff, depositing cancer-producing chemicals with every puff, assaulting your heart and circulatory system with every puff, costing you money with every puff, and making you reek with every puff.

It is important for these people to know that everything that they could do as smokers, they can also do as ex-smokers. They just have to teach themselves how. There are some things that new quitters are forced to learn early on like how to eat, sleep, use the washroom, breathe, etc. These are things that are required from day one for survival. So even though they may resist doing one of them, they can't resist for long and will thereby be forced to start to break the association to smoking early on.

Other things are sometimes put off and seen as unimportant to face early on. Tasks like doing housework, laundry, cleaning, brushing teeth, combing hair, or maybe even going to work and doing their jobs. While it is true that people won't die if they stop doing one or more of these activities for a day or two, putting off doing them too long will create a set of problems that can be quite annoying to those around them.

Besides threatening their livelihood and making them look like slobs in general, if carried on too long, it can really start to make them feel intimidated that they may never again be able to do these activities. Again, it must be repeated, everything a person did as a smoker they can also do as an ex-smoker--but they have to teach themselves how.

Now when it comes to areas of less importance like watching television, sports, playing cards, being a couch potato, and yes, even drinking with friends--things that are not necessary for survival and in fact, things that may not even be good for a person--well, the truth is people can do these things too as ex-smokers.

The same process is necessary though. They have to teach themselves how. Holding off too long can create a sense of intimidation, the feeling that they can never do the specific activity again. This simply is not the case. They will be able to get themselves back to their pre-quitting existence if they choose to.

Drinking is a special case because the association is so strong and by its very nature lowers their inhibitions. It can cause people to do some very irrational behaviors. Smoking can be one of them. Because of the drug's influence, it is best that people take it on gradually, in the beginning in a safe environment.

These people should probably limit themselves to one drink the first time out just to show themselves that they can have a drink without smoking. Also, they should do it with people who are non-smokers and who really are supportive of their quitting. This is a much safer situation in the beginning than going out with drinking buddies who smoke cigarettes and who may be a tad envious of their quitting, and who, while drinking themselves also have their inhibitions lowered. It may manifest in behaviors of encouragement of smoking at a time when the person is more vulnerable.

Soon ex-smokers will be able to face these environments too. Again it is best that they do it gradually, breaking some of the association and intimidation factors in the safer controlled environments. The fact is, though, for the rest of their lives they will need to keep their guard up, in a sense reminding themselves of their reasons for having quit and the importance to stay off smoking, every time before they go drinking. It prepares them to face the situation in a much safer state of readiness.

These people need to use timetables that they are comfortable with, but the sooner they take on activities like drinking the sooner that they will prove to themselves that life goes on without smoking.

Problem Drinkers

The next group is people who define themselves as social drinkers but who do in fact have a drinking problem. These are people who cannot drink in a controlled manner, or people whose drinking at one time has adversely affected their health or caused them any economic, professional, legal, or personal problems.

These people need to think long and hard about whether they are in fact problem drinkers or possibly dealing with alcoholism issues. If a person says that they know that their drinking will cause them to take a cigarette and relapse back to smoking, and then they take a drink and relapse, they are in effect problem drinkers for they have now put their health on the line in order to drink.

Recovering Alcoholics

A person who has acknowledged that he or she is an alcoholic and has successfully quit drinking probably has a rather thorough understanding of addiction. If he or she didn't, he or she would not be successfully off drinking but more likely rather still is an active drinker. People who are successfully recovering from alcoholism probably understand the relapse implications of just one drink, or just one sip.

All a person who has quit drinking needs to do to quit smoking is to just transfer his or her experience and knowledge with alcohol, while aiming it straight at nicotine. The same problem -- drug addiction. The same solution -- stop delivering nicotine into his or her system.

The recovering alcoholic will probably be scared about quitting, feeling that life will never be the same without smoking. ?The odds are pretty good that he or she probably had those exact same fears when quitting drinking. The recovering alcoholic was right when he or she thought his or her life would be different. It in all likelihood became immeasurably better. The same will hold true with quitting smoking.

I always state it this way. Treat an addiction as an addiction and a person will learn to control it. Treat an addiction like a bad habit and the person won't have a prayer. Nicotine use is an addiction. If a recovering alcoholic takes his or her understanding of addiction and aims it at nicotine he or she will do fine.

I should point out that whenever I have a person who quits smoking after quitting another substance, he or she often has a harder time quitting than the average smoker. Smoking may have been a crutch used to help them get off of the other substance. Now, when quitting cigarettes, not only is the person trying to break free from a primary addiction, but he or she is also trying to remove the crutch that he or she feels supported recovery from the other addiction.

While it may be harder up front, people recovering from alcoholism or any other addiction can be more prepped for success than the average quitter, for once again, they understand addiction. If the quitter aims their alcohol recovery program at treating this addiction, they will do fine with nicotine dependency recovery, too.

Drinking Alcoholics

The last group is people who are actively drinking alcoholics who want to quit smoking. When it comes to nicotine addiction, the only thing these people need to do to successfully quit smoking is to stop delivering nicotine. Are there other things that some people may also have to get rid of after they quit smoking? Sure there are.

If a person were a diabetic while smoking and not watching his or her diet, he or she would likely have to get his or her sugar intake under control when quitting smoking. The fact is, though, he or she probably needed to get his or her sugar under control when he or she was still smoking. Quitting didn't change that variable. Alcohol is no different. If a person has a drinking problem before quitting, he or she will still have a drinking problem after quitting. Still, all the problem-drinker needs to do to get off nicotine is just to get off nicotine. The drinking problem still exists and still needs to be dealt with.

A person first realizing he or she has an alcoholism problem and who also wants to quit smoking either has to quit both substances at the same time or get drinking under control first. The only reason I say that some people probably need to quit drinking first is because of the limitation of how the person's alcohol treatment program will advise him or her when they find out that he or she is a recent quitter of cigarettes.

Many if not most alcohol recovery programs will inadvertently or very purposely push a new ex-smoker entering the program to smoke. Over the years I have in fact had actively drinking alcoholics in smoking clinics--people who made it abundantly clear that they knew they had drinking problems and smoking problems but wanted to treat the smoking first.

I really do try to get them into alcohol treatment concurrently but cannot force them to do it. On more than one occasion I have seen the person successfully quit smoking, stay off for months and sometimes longer, and finally get into AA, only to be assigned a smoking sponsor who tells the person that he or she can't "get off smoking and drinking at once," and who actually encourages the person to smoke again.

Note the sequence here--the ex-smoker has been off of nicotine for an extended time period but the smoking sponsor says that the person can't quit both at once. It is unfortunate that most alcohol and drug treatment programs just don't recognize smoking as another drug addiction.

You will not often see an AA sponsor say that you can't give up drinking and heroin at once, so if you have been off heroin for six months and now want to quit drinking, you should probably take heroin for a while until you get alcohol out of your system.

The bottom line is that there are other things that ex-smokers may need to address but not in order to sustain their quits, but to sustain their health or control other problems. To successfully overcome smoking and arrest a dependency upon nicotine requires only that a smoker make and stick to a personal commitment to Never Take Another Puff.


 Message 3 of 8 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameJoeJFree-Gold-Sent: 12/15/2005 2:53 PM
First off - CONGRATULATIONS to YOU for deciding to get rid of cigarettes & nicotine!!  You are still in your first month and sound like you are gaining confidence every day!  Horray!  We would be pleased and honored if you would consider joining a great group of quitters at the FreedomFromTobaccoQuitSmokingNow forum.
I decided to write to you because I had a similar situation.  Mom & Dad both smokers, Mom quit first (10 years an ex-smoker before she passed) Dad still smoked.  When I quit last January I could tell my Dad was both intrigued about how I had quit after 40 years and embarassed that he still smoked when we were together.  I explained how I approached my 'smoking problem' not as quitting smoking but as overcoming an addiction to nicotine.  Cigarettes are not the issue, nicotine in our blood and brain is the issue.
I wrote this post at Freedom in June about my Dad -  Great News.
Lucinda, it never is too late, we are never too old to Decide for Ourselves that we, not nicotine, control our lives.  As Dad so typically said - You Just Gotta Wanna and NTAP!
Within the month I will be one-year quit and on the 20th my dad Al will be Nicotine Free and healing for 6 Months!  You and your Dad can join us in knowing that by removing nicotine you can make living the rest of your lives the best of your lives!
JoeJ Free a nicotine addict, a 40 year smoker and now an ex-smoker for 11 months, 4 days, 23 hours, 26 minutes and 13 seconds (338 days).
I've not had to buy & consume 8474 Nicotine delivery sticks, and saved $1,697.23.
I've reclaimed 29 days, 10 hours and 12 minutes to live as I Choose, that's the best part of my gift to me.

Alfred J a 75 year+ nicotine addict and now an ex-smoker for 5 months, 24 days, 21 hours, 41 minutes and 55 seconds (177 days).
Not had to buy & consume 1423 Nicotine delivery sticks, and saved $286.74.
Reclaimed 4 days, 22 hours and 36 minutes to live as I Choose.

 Message 4 of 8 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_forza-d-animo_Sent: 12/15/2005 3:04 PM
   First of all congratulations to you for having givien up nicotine and tobacco.  It is not unusual for us, when we quit to look immediately to share what we have found with others.  In fact it is fairly consistent.  We have discovered something, like a child in an easter egg hunt, and we want to let everyone know about it.  On the one hand because we are proud of ourselves but on the other to let others know that the key that they have so long been seeking, to overcome their addiction, is so obvious - It has always been right in front of us.  (The "I found my glasses - They were on top of my head." kind of obvious.)
  Don't be surprised if others don't want to believe or even to listen to what , for you, is now so simple and obvious.  To quit smoking, you have to quit smoking and remain committed to that goal.  In other words "Never take another puff."  You must also never substitute.  Taking nicotine by any delivery method will likely bring you back to your delivery method of choice - smoking or chewing tobacco.
  Your father already knows the secret to quitting tobacco and nicotine - It is the same method he used to quit alcohol.  He never took another drink of it.  People who are looking for a pain free, thoughtless approach by taking some pill, accupuncture, hypnotism, patch, gum, nasal srpay, inhaler or losenge or now even a vaccine, may unfortuantely, take that wait with them to an early grave.  The shortest path to you goal is always straight ahead - First your mind must be made up that your goal is to quit.  Once you decide to quit, no circumstance or person will sway your decision, or your father's, to remain nicotine free.
   For anyone to quit they only must do one thing, stop smoking. But it helps a great deal if they recognize their addiction to nicotine and then to overcome all of the denial and justifications that they use to continue to inhale burning tobacco for the nicotine it contains.  I hope that you continue to read at and that you father understands that those who overcome any addiction do it the same way.  No matter what the substance is, it requires complete abstininence.
Nicotine free for 14 months

 Message 5 of 8 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameStarshinegrl-GoldSent: 12/16/2005 1:20 PM

Hi Lucinda,

first of all: massive congrats to you for having stopped using nicotine for nearly a month now! I hope you really are proud of yourself!!

Isn't it great to see our parents being overjoyed when they realise that we really mean it? I still remember my parents' reactions when they saw me for the first time as a non-practising addict last Christmas. I had always known that my Mum (never-smoker) would be over the moon because she had been asking me to stop or trying to make me see sense ever since she found out that I had started to smoke. The real surprise, though, was my Dad - he is going to be 76 in a couple of weeks and I have only ever known him as a heavy smoker. He was and is really proud of me.

A side-note, which is not too happy: when I stayed with them last time (they live in Germany, I live in England), he wanted to show me that he would not have a problem at all with stopping to smoke. I told him everything about the "one puff", about how he would have his body nicotine free in 72 hours and the most important thing: that once he had achieved that, all he would have to do is to NTAP. He did surprise me ... three days and he did not take one single puff. Whenever I asked him how he was feeling, he said "okay". Well, I had to leave on the third day and I told him that I was ever so proud of him. The next day when I rang to tell them we had arrived home safely and I asked him how the "non-smoking" was going, he said "hmmm, well, actually, I have had just one yesterday" --- his "excuse": our leaving. As far as I can tell, he is up to his old level again but he is still saying that he will quit one day. I hope he will.

Unfortunately, he does not like reading at all - so all I can hope for is that Joel will one of these days appear on a German TV-programme. He - my Dad, that is, not Joel -  also has not yet come to the realisation that he is a real and true addict, too.

Your Dad, on the other hand, is very keen to stop feeding his body nicotine and I just know that he will.

Joel did write this to a member of Freedom who had broken free of another addiction before he quit nicotine and I think it might be very encouraging for your Dad to read this:

"Whenever I learn that a person has dealt with other addictions over his or her lifetime I like to make a few comments addressing how he or she should use his or her understanding and insights on dealing with the other addictions and aim it straight at smoking and nicotine addiction. In some ways it is a little harder for people who have a past drug history, since cigarettes are often used as a crutch to get off the other drug. While they may have a little harder time initially quitting, they are often more successful than average, because these are people who understand addiction and how to effectively deal with it. In a sense, they have a program and understanding already in place, it is just a matter of directing all of their insights straight at nicotine.

Here are a few articles to read on the topic:

Crutches to Quit Smoking

Nicotine vs. Heroin

You Smoke Because You're A Smoke-a-holic!

Some new findings on Nicotine Addiction

The Law of Addiction

Also check out the articles on the Addiction section of our board.

The way to stay in control over this addiction is the same as any other, which is to just stick to your commitment to never administer the drug again, which is as simple as sticking to your commitment to yourself to never take another puff!


Just three more articles that I think your Dad also might like to read are

I had quit thousands of times, then ...
I have tried everything to quit and nothing works!
Top 10 reasons that quits fail

Lucinda, you are a great example for your Dad and I hope he joins us all soon in living a nicotine free life.

385 days and a bit

 Message 6 of 8 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameLucíndaSent: 12/21/2005 12:23 PM
Hi again.
I just wanted to say thanks so much to you all for responding, I am sorry I didn't get back here sooner to thank you but real life has been getting in the way!
I have sent my father the information - I know he really wants to stop, hopefully reading Joel's book will be the same inspiration for him that it has been for me.
Thanks again
Nicotine free for 4W 14h 15m; ?72.35 richer; 857 cigarettes not smoked.
(Green tomorrow!   This time four weeks ago me ever being  green seemed about as likely as me going to the moon - it seems to have gone so quickly.  Amazing and lovely  )

 Message 7 of 8 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 5/5/2007 9:44 PM
Video Title
 People in recovery from other addictions  3.24mb  9.68mb  1.27mb  08:50  11/20/06
"I can't drink alcohol without a cigarette" 1.36mb 13.4mb 0.55mb 03:43 09/27/06

 Message 8 of 8 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 9/23/2007 5:06 PM
Videos related to addictions:
Video Title Dial Up High Speed  Audio Length Added
Addiction - the Surgeon General says ... 4.42mb 13.2mb 1.77mb 12:00 10/09/06
Criteria of addiction 4.09mb 12.2mb 1.64mb 11:06 10/09/06
People in recovery from other addictions 3.24mb 9.68mb 1.27mb 08:50 11/20/06
"What bad habit should I replace it with?" 1.86mb 18.4mb 0.75mb 05:04 10/02/06
 "I can't drink alcohol without a cigarette"  1.36mb  13.4mb  0.55mb  03:43  09/27/06

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