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General : "I feel like some sort of a schizophrenic moron."  
 Message 1 of 9 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/27/2005 11:51 PM
Dear Joel,
I am now entering my 8th week of not smoking.  My 4th without any kind of nicotine. I smoked for 27 years.
I am really pleased that I am not smoking any more but I kind of have the feeling inside that I am only pretending to be a non smoker, that it isn't the real me.  I keep getting really upset and emotional.
I thought that by now I would be feeling a lot better.  I do not want to ever have another cigarette - or even one more puff of a cigarette.  But neither do I want to feel like this for the rest of my life - as if something or some part of me is missing.
I seem to do ok in work - where there are people who smoke around me.  It does not bother me at all - in fact it just makes me surer of the fact that I don't want to be a smoker.  When I am at home I seem to be in complete misery.  I just miss smoking, but don't want to smoke.
Is this normal?  Will it pass?  I feel like some sort of a schizophrenic moron.
Thank you for your time.

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 Message 2 of 9 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/28/2005 12:00 AM
First I am going to address the issue of being smoke free for two months and being nicotine free for one month:
 I received an email question from a newer member who asked about how to set a quit meter considering she had started using nicotine patches five days before actually joining up at Freedom. She had not smoked 120 cigarettes in that time period and she did not feel she wanted to reset her quit meter for it would not accurately reflect how many cigarettes she had not smoked nor how much money she had saved. She also seemed to feel that because she had suffered so much those first five days that they must have to count for something, or that her whole quit was invalid because we seemed to act as if we felt tha the first five days somehow did not count.

I tried to email her back a reply but her email box was full and the message got kicked back to me. So I am posting the response here for in fact the message is important for other people who may have had a similar experience of finding Freedom after they had already had an NRT quit going.

Here is the response I had written:


A high percentage of people I run through clinics have actually tried NRT products in the past-actually over 85% of people who went through my clinics last year had tried NRT products and have now basically written off the experience as a waste of time. They don't try to hang on to past failures but rather now are focused on maintaining current and future success.

I think most people at Freedom are here now too because they are also of the mindset that the day they quit using nicotine is the day they stopped using nicotine. As far as you thinking now that the first few days of using patches is now making your whole quit invalid-your ten-day quit is perfectly valid. The first five days though you just transferred how you delivered nicotine. I think you are somehow working with the idea that the first five days have to be valid and important to your quit because you suffered so much during them. Suffering is not the benchmark that makes a quit valid-getting off nicotine is what makes breaking the addiction valid. People suffocating with emphysema are suffering plenty from cigarettes but if they are still smoking I don't think you would say that the suffering is a good thing or some kind of great accomplishment.

The money saved issue is pretty much a moot point too-you likely spent more on the patches than cigarettes would have cost you-especially considering you probably spent close to $50 for the box of patches and only used a few. So to say you saved money by that purchase is really misleading too.

As far as cigarettes not smoked in the meters, I think our group mindset is not really cigarettes not smoked as much as it is nicotine not used. Cigarettes are just the unit of measure for nicotine. To most of our members counting the time that a patch was used would be like an alcoholic who used to drink whisky exclusively now saying they successfully gave up drinking because all they have daily now is scotch. Alcohol is alcohol and nicotine is nicotine.

Our board is unique. Almost no other site on the Internet would agree with this stand and will gladly welcome you in and allow you to use whatever numbers you want. But people are here because they are done playing games like trying to make themselves feel better about their past ways of maintaining nicotine addiction and are now trying to make themselves actually get healthier by actually taking control of their addiction. I hope you do the same.

If you can come to grip with the concept of measuring from the day you stopped the patch you will likely be happy and successful here, but if this concept is too much of a stumbling block you will likely find yourself happier elsewhere. While you may be happier elsewhere, I am not so sure you are going to be as successful elsewhere-but the choice of what groups fits you best has got to be yours.

One last point, the 120 cigarettes difference is not going to seem important when the number of cigarettes not smoked read 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000, and maybe more. Those numbers will be real one day if you always remember from now on that to stay smoke free simply requires always staying committed to never take another puff!


Now addressing the issue wanting to smoke and not wanting to smoke.

Read these links:

I want something

I want one ...

Fixating on a cigarette

"My cigarette, my friend"

 Message 3 of 9 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/28/2005 12:04 AM
More related links:

 Message 4 of 9 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/28/2005 12:12 AM
One more article explaining why we differentiate between the terms smoke free and nicotine free: A Quitter's Dilemma: Hooked on the Cure

 Message 5 of 9 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_forza-d-animo_Sent: 12/28/2005 1:18 AM
  You make one very poignant remark in your letter to Joel, "I kind of have the feeling inside that I am only pretending to be a non smoker, that it isn't the real me."  Perhaps the reason that you feel that way is because you are pretending to quit, you haven't made up your mind yet that this is what you want.  If that is true, then try this exersise for awhile -  Pretend to make a list of all the reasons why you quit and post it someplace where you can see it everyday.  Every morning when you arise, pretend to say to yourself, "Today I will not smoke or use nicotine by any delivery method."  Have you noticed any positive physical changes since you quit?  Pretend to make note of them.  Can you breathe better?  Are you sleeping better?  Are you making better use of your time?  Pretend that you feel a sense of accomplishment for having overcome your addiction and taking control back from nicotine which controlled you for 27 years.  At night, when you lie yourself down to sleep, pretend that you are proud of yourself for living another 24 hours without sucking burning tobacco through a paper tube, destroying lung tissue, robbing yourself of oxygen, and filling your body with in excess of 4000 toxins contained in its smoke to satisfy your need for nicotine, an extremely addictive drug.
   You may be waiting for something to happen, some feeling to come over you, some milestone to pass that will mark your quit in some way that will say, "Yes, now I have quit, and this is proof."  Walk over to the nearest mirror and look at yourself and congratulate yourself for what you have done.  You have already quit smoking - This is not practice for when you really quit.  You have been nicotine free for 4 weeks.  If someone else were to come to you and say, "You haven't really quit - You're just pretending."  I am sure that your attitude would be different.
  You made a decision, 4 weeks ago that you did not want nicotine any longer.  It was a good decision.  If you are looking for proof of that, is your resource.  If you are having thoughts about a cigarette from time to time, that is normal.  If you remain committed to your decision to live nicotine free, it will continue to get better and easier.  By better I mean that the thoughts will become fewer and fewer.  By easier, I mean that when you do have a thought, it will be fleeting.  Don't dwell on those thoughts or romantisize about smoking - Remember that not very long ago, you were thinking constantly about how much you wanted to quit.
  In the beginning, you need to reinforce your reasons for not smoking daily.  You need to fill your mind with information that invigorates you and solidifies your determination.  So in answer you question, "Will it pass?"  If you remain nicotine free, yes it will.  Learn all that you can about your addiction, knowledge is your most powerful ally

 Message 6 of 9 in Discussion 
From: JohnSent: 12/28/2005 1:50 AM
Two quick points.  Part of the high that became a part of every nicotine addict's life was nicotine activating the body's fight or flight defenses, providing us with a shot of  adrenaline.   During recovery if we get angry or pick fights with those around us we can get the missing  adrenaline flowing again.  You've come far and invested much.  Be patient with yourself.  It won't be long before you start falling in love with the deepest sense of mental quiet and calm that you've known since becoming addicted to a central nervous system stimulant.
As for pretending to be a non-smoker, go for it.  If you cross a desert or ocean there's always a middle, a no-man's-land where where you don't feel any closer to one side than the other.   A natural part of this amazing journey are those days where you no longer feel like a smoker but don't yet feel like an ex-smoker either.  It's part of the landscape.  Savor it.   
Although at times it may seem like the rose bud has stopped opening we promise that it has not.   As Joseph mentioned, whether we're able to sense it or not, with each passing day the thoughts and challenges are getting fewer, shorter in duration and generally less intense.  
You're getting closer to home and there's just one rule ... no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff!
John  (free & healing since May 15, 1999)

 Message 7 of 9 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameJoeJFree-Gold-Sent: 12/28/2005 2:52 AM
You have received some very powerful and poignant support already.  I jsut would like to add my Congratulations to you for completing you First Month - what many of us who have made the same decision to live nicotine free often say is the most challenging bit of this recovery process.  You are well on your way to learning to love Your New Life ...
Just one more thing, your quit sure sounds real to me.  This is a good read to 'get your mind right' as they say.  Are you ready to take back your life?
Tearing Down the Wall is a goo learning article.
This subject Quitting With A Possitive Attitude is one of my favorites and i printed out this part and put it on our refrigerator so that I would see it and read it every morning.
If you are TRYING to quit smoking then you're still undecided.
Tell yourself quitting is HARD and unless you're lying it will be.
Believe your craves to be INTENSE and intense will be the ride.
Ponder excuses for a FIX and you’ll eventually get to use them.
If you think you might RELAPSE, then relapse you just might.
If you believe that you will FAIL, then chances are you will.
If you WANT to be a ex-smoker, your mind has yet to heal.
When you’re READY for your freedom, freedom you shall find.
View this challenge as WONDERFUL and fulfillment will arrive.
See the GLORY of today, then glory it will be!
Praise the HEALING of your body and set your spirit free.
Inhale the JOYS of today, feel the spender of the journey.
Yet be TRUTHFUL of the past, to protect the here and now.
BELIEVE yourself an ex-smoker, an ex-smoker you shall see.
NEVER take another puff and freedom it will be.

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long     John

Quitting With A Positive Attitude Is Definitely A Plus,  Not A Requirement. 

Anyone can quit as long as they have the desire to.  A good positive attitude won't stop the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that take place during our temporary period of adjustment we call quitting.  A good positive attitude will help a person deal with their symptoms and treat them in a  more emotionally managable manner.  I believe a positive attitude will help you find the comfort you desire sooner rather than later.  Reality also says no matter how your attitude is, the comfort will find you sooner or later as long as you never take another puff. It just depends on how long you want to fight with it. 
Believe you can quit for just 5 minutes at a time.   Believe in that one time concept.   Then each time you make it 5 minutes and beyond your attitude and confidence will build until you believe as I do. 
You Can If You Think You Can,  5 Minutes At A Time

 Message 8 of 9 in Discussion 
From: mdpSent: 12/28/2005 12:56 PM
Thank you for such wonderful advice.  It was just what I needed.
I AM committed to never, ever having another puff.  Your replies just reinforced this and helped me to see that I AM  a non smoker already and that I need to focus on that fact and not the illusion that I want to go back to that disgusting, suicidal way of life.
Thank you so much.  It makes such a difference having people there who know exactly what you are going through.
I feel a lot more confident today. 
Joseph, John, Joel and Roger, thank you once again. 

 Message 9 of 9 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameSal-GOLDSent: 12/28/2005 3:27 PM
You are still adjusting to life without feeding a very strong drug addiction. 
Be sure to read all the links that have been suggested for you, as the more you educate yourself about nicotine addiction and recovery the easier it will be for you to be patient during the journey to comfort (which will evolve for you).
One more to read:  Recognizing needs
Stick with it, it's worth it!
Free for almost 3 years after 34 years of smoking.

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