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2005-06-22 22:05:15 (UTC)

Self-Care in the Stop Smoking Process

"Caring For Our Quit" (I Like This On Fridays)
From happycamper on 4/27/2001 8:17:57 AM

Weekends are often difficult for me and I find this so
helpful. Each friday I renew my quit by reading this, so
each friday I repost this for others to read and renew
their quit. It is written by Zep @ Freedom

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Caring for Our Quit

The recovered cocaine addict, the heroin addict, the
nicotine addict - each knows the law of addiction. They’ve
heard it over and over and over. Just one, just once,
that's all it ever takes and it's back! They’ve also read
or heard about the relapse study data indicating that 95%
of recovered addicts who take just one puff, one hit, one
snort or one injection, experience full and complete
relapse. They know the rule of addiction and they know what
happens if they break it. Then why do we?

There are three primary factors associated with relapse:
(1) rewriting the law of addiction; (2) an excuse; and, (3)
a vague memory. It doesn’t matter if it happens within two
weeks after quitting, two months, two years, or twenty
years, the factors remain the same and apply to all of us.
Rewriting the law of addiction is easy and you don’t need a
pencil, paper or computer to do it.

“Just one puff” and then “do not pass go, do not collect
$200, but go directly to the addict’s prison and surrender
your freedom for good.” It isn’t that the recovering
nicotine addict doesn’t know or believe the law of
addiction, because we do. It’s just that we begin to
believe that we’re the exception. We convince ourselves
that we’re stronger than those who wrote the law, and those
came before us. We amend the law. We put ourselves above
it. “Just one, it’ll be ok, I can handle it, I'm stronger
than the others, a little reward, it's been a while, I’ve
earned it.”

I’m sorry. As soon as those words are spoken, it's over.
Instead of saying that you can handle“ just one ,” a
truthful statement would have been “I can handle them all,
give them all back to me, my entire addiction, all the
ashtrays, the coughs, the smells, I want it all back.” It’s
far easier to create an exception to the “law” than to
admit the truth. A one pack a day addiction is 7,300
cigarettes a year. Don’t picture smoking just one. Picture
smoking 7,300 each and every year. “To thine own self be
true.” You deserve the truth - you paid the price - you
earned it.

The excuse can be anything. Usually the addict waits for
that great excuse to come along, but some get tired of
waiting and any old excuse will do. Even joy! A reunion
with an old smoking buddy, a few drinks with friends, a
wedding, a graduation, or even a baby’s birth and a free
nicotine laden cigar, why not! But joyful relapse is harder
to explain to yourself and to those you love.

The smart nicotine addict waits for the great excuse, the
one that we know we can sell to ourselves and others. As
sick as it may sound, the easiest to sell and the best of
all is the death of a loved one. Although everyone we love
is destined to die and it will happen sooner or later, for
the reformed addict it’s the perfect excuse for relapse. I
mean, who can blame us for ingesting highly addictive drugs
into our bodies upon our mother’s death. Anyone who does
would have to be extremely insensitive or totally
heartless! Right? Losing a job, the end of a relationship,
illness, disease or financial problems are all are great
excuses too - it’s drug time again! The addicts back!

But an excuse doesn’t work alone. It needs help. Failing
memories of “why” we were willing to put ourselves through
pure “Hell” in order to break free, breathes fatal life
into any excuse. Most of us failed to keep a detailed
record of why we quit or what it was like. Instead, we're
forced to rely upon our memory to accurately and vividly
preserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
truth. But now, the memory in which we placed all our trust
has failed us.

It isn’t that your memory is bad, faulty or doing anything
wrong. In fact, it’s working as it should to preserve in as
much detail as possible the joyful events of life, while
forgetting, as quickly as possible, all the pain and hurt
that we’ve felt, including all of the wrong we’ve done. To
have our brains do otherwise would make life inside our
minds unbearable. If women were forced to remember the true
agony and intense pain of childbirth, most would have just
one. God blessed us with the gift to forget.

So how does the reformed nicotine addict who failed to keep
accurate records of their journey, revive their passion for
freedom and recall the price they paid for liberty. If we
forget the past, are we destined to repeat it? Not
necessarily. It doesn’t have to be. But just as any loving
relationship needs nourishment to flourish, we can never
take our quit for granted or the flame will eventually die
and the fire will go out. We have to want to protect it
until the day we die. We have to turn that "want" into
action. If we do, we win. If not, our fate may be similar
to almost all who don’t - relapse followed by crippling
disease or early death.

Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, our quit needs care.
If you don’t have a detailed log to regularly review upon
each anniversary of your quit or at each birthday, do your
best to create one now. Talk to those still smoking and ask
for help in revitalizing your memories. Encourage them to
be as truthful as possible. Although they may look like
they’re enjoying smoking, the primary joy they get is in
keeping their body’s nicotine level with the comfort zone,
so as to avoid the agony of early withdrawal. Show them
your pen and paper, let them help you make your list. You
may even cause a spark in them. Be kind and sincere. It
wasn't long ago that those were our shoes.

Think about that first week. What was it like? Can you
still feel the powerful craves as your body begged and
cried to be fed? Can you still feel the pain? Do you see
yourself not being able to concentrate, having difficulty
sleeping, feeling depressed, angry, irritable, frustrated,
restless, with tremendous anxiety, a foggy mind, sweating
palms, rapidly cycling emotions, irrational thinking,
emotional outbursts or even the shakes? Do you remember
these things? Do you remember the price you paid for
freedom?

If you have access to a computer, you wont’ need a smoker’s
help. You can go on-line to scores of smoking cessation
support groups and find thousands of battles being fought,
hear tons of cries and watch hundreds who won’t make it
through “Hell Week” to the hope that lies beyond. Visit as
often as possible. Make a few posts to those in need. Share
your valuable quit wisdom and give the gift of hope. Most
don’t know what it’s like to be free. Most have few
remaining memories of the days before their addiction. Fear
of the unknown is frightening. Help them and in doing so
help yourself.

If you find yourself attempting to rewrite the law of
addiction, stop, think, remember, read, revisit, revive and
give to others, but most important, be honest with you.
Terrible and emotional events will happen in each of our
lives - such is life. Relapse won’t fix, correct or undo
any of them. In your mind, plan for disaster today. How
will you cope? What will do? Remember, your addiction is
real. Today it sleeps. Will it sleep tomorrow?

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!

Zep : )
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Hope this helps all to have a happy smokefree weekend!

yqs,
maggie
Never Question Your Decision To Quit


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