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General : Confusion  
 Message 1 of 10 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/30/2005 11:50 AM
Joel, I'm a little confused.  Everyone tells me that things get easier, cravings and thoughts get less. 
I have this wonderful vision that one day I will wake up and not think of or want a cigarette at all. But I've just been reading about people who have quit for some significant time - in some cases years - and have gone back to smoking at the drop of a hat.
This scares me.  I never want to smoke again.
Is this what it's like for everyone?  Will I still have the urge to smoke this time next year?  Or even in 5yrs?
Hello Mary:
I started a new board called AskJoel at
Would it be okay with you if I posted your question and answered it on the new board? I am heading out for a few hours now but will get to it later tonight--either on the board or through direct email. Quick note here--things do get better and better over time. That is not to say that there aren't some tough moments but that is all they will really be--moments. I'll give you more detailed answers later when I get back in.

Hello Mary:
I just got back in. Since you didn't respond to the email I am just going to post the links here that I think will help. Read them all. You will hopefully begin to understand the difference between the urges that you may encounter in the beginning compared to the thoughts that may happen down the line.

Reading at other quit smoking sites (this one is important for it explains the difference between talking with people who are smoke free as compared to talking to people who are nicotine free

Hope these all help.
Hi Joel, Sorry I didn't respond, I had gone to bed!

It is fine for you to post anything I ask you.

Thanks so much for just being there to answer my questions.

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 Message 2 of 10 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/30/2005 11:57 AM
Hello again Mary:
I just realized that I did not adequately address the concept of how some people can be off for years and lose their quits at the drop of a hat. These strings will add some important insights to this situation:

 Message 3 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_forza-d-animo_Sent: 12/30/2005 4:52 PM
   I don't need to read the stories that you read, or know any of the details surrounding them to know why these people relapsed, or why anyone relapses for that matter.  The failure of every one of these people to remain nicoitne free is due to one reason only - They made a choice to smoke.  Why they made that choice is due to one of two things,  either they were unaware of the law of addiction or they were aware of the law of addiction and did not believe that it applied to them.
   Once an addict, always an addict.  The idea that someone with years of smoking sobriety could smoke again "at the drop of a hat" may seem like a scary concept but only if you believe that you have no control when the opportunity to smoke presents itself.  You do have control.  It is always a choice.  The idea may scare you because you are under the impression that despite your desire to remain nicotine free you will somehow be forced to smoke against your will.  Those who smoked again after years of abstinence took a cigarette not thinking that they wanted to go back again to their old level of consumption - They just wanted to have one or perhaps two.  They were not aware of ,or chose to ignore, the law of addiction.  It does not matter how much you smoke or how easy or difficult it is to quit - but how easily you return to your old level of consumption once you readminister the substance to which you are addicted.
   Take refuge in knowing that you can saunter through life unaffected by nicotine or tobacco as long as you do not put it into your system.  You can stand in the middle of a warehouse full of cigarettes and they can do you no harm.  You can stand in a room full of smokers and not light one up.  You can drink alchohol, go to parties, make love, talk on the phone, do whatever it is that pleases you without smoking.  The truth is that all of these things will be more pleasing to you if you never take another puff.
   Fear not fair maiden, nicotine has no power over you except for that which you give unto it.
Nicotine free for more than 14 months.

 Message 4 of 10 in Discussion 
From: mdpSent: 12/30/2005 5:35 PM
Thanks for that Joseph.
But will I still be getting bad craves?  Will I ever not crave nicotine?
I want to forget that I ever smoked.  I am sick of thinking about smoking and mad as hell with myself that I still think about it as much as I do.  I don't want to want a cigarette!  Am I making sense or do I just sound like some deranged woman?
This was just meant to be a simple thank you!

 Message 5 of 10 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/30/2005 6:07 PM
Hello again Mary. Again, read the following articles:
They really all address your question here of about future craves or thoughts. In direct answer to your question, will you ever get to the point that you forget that you ever smoked, the answer is probably yes. I also need to add in the day that happens you had better get back to the site to remind yourself that you used to smoke, and that you were addicted, and that you are still addicted.  The day that you forget you smoked is the day that you will totally drop your guard, forget your addiction and be setting yourself up for a potential relapse.
Also, read all of these articles I referred to earlier:
Many of them are based on people who forgot they ever smoked, which have them the idea that they were now safe and which ended up costing them their quits.
No one can guarantee for how long you may have smoking thoughts, but we can all guarantee that these thoughts will never threaten your quit as long as you remember to stick to your personal commitment to never take another puff.

 Message 6 of 10 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/30/2005 6:09 PM
Here are two additional articles addressing issues raised above:

 Message 7 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_forza-d-animo_Sent: 12/31/2005 1:00 AM
There are nearly 60 articles that Joel recommended for you.  Read them all.  Post again with the answers that you find to your questions.  The short answer is, no, you are not a deranged woman.  You are a nicotine addict.  It will get better as long as you do not use nicotine again.
Read and learn all that you can about your addiction.  Knowledge is the key to your recovery.

 Message 8 of 10 in Discussion 
From: mdpSent: 1/1/2006 2:43 PM
I have read and read and read some more.
I have learned so much.  You are right when you say that knowledge is the key. 
I know now that I am the one who is in charge of this quit.  I am the only one who can keep it going .  At the end of the day it is me who can choose to be a smoker or a non smoker.  I chose to be a non smoker.  I need to keep in my mind the reason that I wanted so badly to quit.  It was not a little whim.  I felt ill, tired - I knew that it would kill me, as it did both my parents.
I used to dream about what it would be like not to have to smoke.
Now I Know.  I need to start feeling really proud of myself and stop complaining to myself that I want a cigarette -  WHICH I DEFINATELY DON'T!  I know that if I gave in and had one - or even a puff - I would not get the satisfaction that I think I would.
I said that I wanted to forget that I ever smoked. The truth is, I need to remember that I did smoke and how awful it was - and be grateful and thankful for every day that goes by and I don't smoke.
I know that eventually the urges and craves will go. I just need to go one day at a time.
I know that the secret to my success is never, ever to have another puff.
I know that if it wasn't for this site I would never have lasted this long.
I also need to keep reading . 
I have learned so much more than this, but at this rate I will be writing a book!
Thank you once again for your advice. 

 Message 9 of 10 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 1/1/2006 4:46 PM
Hello Mary:
Whether or not you write a book is totally up to you. You may want to read a book on quitting though and if you do, I would recommend the free e-book at
It may give you some ideas for a chapter or two in your own book, but, more importantly it will reinforce the idea that you made a good choice the day you committed to quit and why it is still a good idea to stick with your new personal commitment to ever take another puff.
I want one—no I don't. One sounds great—no it doesn't. Oh just one—not just one. If you keep thinking in terms of "one" this kind of internal debate is non-relenting—it will slowly drive you nuts.

So, don't carry on this debate. Don't think in terms of one. Think in terms of full-fledged smoking. The full quantity, the social stigma, the stench, the costs, the risks. I'm not advocating looking at them negatively. Just look at them how they were—really were at the end.

They were making you sick and tired enough of them that you voluntarily put yourself into withdrawal to break free from them. You did it. Now just keep them in perspective. If you used to smoke 20 a day, say to yourself when the urge hits that "I want 20 a day, every day, for the rest of my life, till it cripples, then kills me." As soon as you hear yourself say it in that perspective you will likely find yourself next saying, "What am I thinking? I don't want to smoke that way." That will be the end of that particular discussion.

Look at smoking in real terms and you will walk away from each urge with a sense of relief and accomplishement. Fantasize about them and you may walk away with a feeling of deprivation. You are not depriving yourself of anything, you are ridding yourself of a deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stay forever resolute to never take another puff!



The fantasy

The reality       

 Message 10 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_forza-d-animo_Sent: 1/1/2006 11:33 PM
I'm proud of you Mary - You followed through.  Now you understand and you own your quit.  Congratulations.  It will continue to get better.

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