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Apr 6 09 4:25 AM
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Apr 19 09 7:28 PM
I am so very pleased for your progress. Comfort is finding you and it is such a nice reward.
Keep moving forward and it does continue to get better.
A good healthy attitude will take you very far. keep swimming, jenna 343days
May 9 09 10:29 AM
May 9 09 10:49 AM
The Terrible 3's
You will often hear the concept of the terrible three's in regards to quitting smoking. How things just go bad at three days,
three weeks, three months, and three years. Except for the three day issue which has a real physiological basis, I do not put a lot of stock into the
concept of the terrible threes, especially the 21-day or 3 year's mark. The three-day issue is a real phenomenon, although for some people it is a
one-day or two-day issue and it may be eased up by the third day so that one is not even etched in stone. The three-month issue has a basis, but it is not
physiologically based, but more so it is probably from seasonal variation.
As ex-smokers start pulling out their old wardrobes, start experiencing new weather conditions, start watching different sports
seasons, start preparing for different holidays and events, these are all first time experiences without a cigarette. If a person quits in the heat of
summer, there is no way they learn how to shovel snow, or scrape ice without a cigarette. Maybe driving in snow and ice always scared them. That scare
would lead to increased smoking, intricately intertwining the two activities. The first time encountering the condition will be an automatic feeling of
needing to smoke. On the
You overcome these triggers the same way you overcome the original triggers-just don't give into them. The first time it will be a stronger thought,
but after successfully overcoming the specific event, it will become easier and easier each successive time. Eventually, not smoking will become the habit
for the specific event.
You need to be prepared for these periodic fluctuations in number of smoking thoughts. Not because of the terrible threes, just because you need to be
prepared everyday that there might be moments where there is a desire for a cigarette. It is a matter of always keeping your guard up, and remembering that
not smoking is important everyday. Still comes down to the premise of waking up everyday and saying to yourself, "I will not smoke today," and
going to bed each night proud of the accomplishment. Do this and you will make it through all the "terrible threes" (and they might now be in
anyway terrible) having been able to successfully Never Take Another Puff!
In response to the "miserable three's" we hear so much about. The three-day thing is a real understandable phenomenon. It is how long we
basically have nicotine left in our bodies after smoking cessation. As long as we have any amount the brain is demanding the full compliment. The lower it
gets, the more your brain and hence body complains. Once the three-day mark is passed, pure nicotine is either excreted or metabolized into other
bi-products. Those bi-products are what can be tested for in a drug tested for nicotine for up to two weeks, but they do not have the power to maintain an
active state of withdrawal. Some people seem to metabolize more efficiently than others, seeming to only have physical withdrawal effects for one or two day
periods, but once overcoming the third day, most people's intense physical symptoms will diminish.
In clinic experience, the three-week mark never seemed to be a big issue. I still maintained contact heavily over the first month though, constantly
reinforcing quitting concepts, and maybe, people left on their own devices didn't internally keep up that kind of ammunition strengthening. Another
factor may be friends and families. During the first week, maybe even the first two, everyone pays a lot of attention to the smoker who is quitting. They are
worried that this time may not take. They ask constantly how the person quitting is doing, offer support and encouragement, tell them how great they are and
how proud they are of them. All this attention is either greatly appreciated or drives the person quitting nuts. Either way, it in a sense keeps their
attention focused on the quit.
But after a couple of weeks, the novelty wares off, to the ex-smoker and the family member themselves. At some point, people stop asking. Sometimes this
is interpreted to the ex-smoker that people stopped caring. This is not the case. The family and friends just start to take for granted that the person is
over it. They get complacent. Understand something though, the family and friends probably still cares, whether they show it our not. If the person relapses,
they may have a fit, but if he or she stays off, that's just the way things are.
This lack of attention to cessation often leads to the ex-smoker to feeling complacent too. Complacency is dangerous. That is when the thought is
triggered by something, the ammunition has stopped being reinforced and the ex-smoker has lost access to their reasons for why they stopped and why they
don't want to go back. I don't think three-weeks is a magic guide or absolute, like the three-day mark, but a variable due at least in part to this
kind of mind set.
The three-month is another interesting time. If I had to venture a guess, I would say the thoughts are due to seasonal variation of activities, weather,
clothing, etc. When you quit in the dead of winter, depending on where you live, you learn how to shovel snow, scrape ice, bundle up, watch football and
hockey, in a sense, you learn to do winter activities without a cigarette. You learn this all by repetition, doing it once, then another time, then another,
all without taking a cigarette. But when springtime rolls around, conditions may change. Maybe you do spring-cleaning. Last time you did spring cleaning, you
were a smoker. Nothing you did in winter may have just the same flavor. How did you take breaks during spring-cleaning? You stopped for a cigarette. How did
you reward yourself when finished? You smoked a cigarette. This is a new trigger. Then you start changing your wardrobe. Last time you wore that jacket, you
were a smoker. You may even find cigarettes in pockets you paid no attention to when you quit. Sporting events change. Now you are watching baseball instead
of football. Maybe even going to games. Every time you went to games before, you smoked. Win you watch your team win for the first time, you are supposed to
smoke in celebration. After a couple of wins, you break the association. That doesn't yet prepare you to watch them lose though, that you will learn
quickly too. (At least if you are from Chicago, the Cubs you know. Sorry I digressed). And what about getting ready for tax time, this too smoking had always
been part of.
Well, let three more months pass and we have summer time activities. The beach, the pool, outdoor activities, barbecues, picnics, all things that are
basically new to an ex-smoker who quit during snow. And then fall and its color changes, it's clothing, its basic change of flavor and nuances. All these
changes are potential triggers.
While this may sound discouraging, that there are all these future changes awaiting the ex-smoker, consider this. Everything the smoker encountered the
first three days was new. Everything! Getting out of bed, brushing teeth, using the bathroom, again, everything. And this is on top of drug withdrawal. The
ex-smoker got through them all, breaking the day to day rituals and associations. That is why he or she is now an ex-smoker. That is why after weeks, he or
she is not thinking about cigarettes every waking moment, but rather a couple of time a day.
At these seasonal times, new experiences trigger thoughts, but it doesn't have the physical withdrawal complicating it. It's still a battle, but
now the all out war previously experienced. You all had the strength to win that war. You can beat these reactions too. Bring back your original ammunition,
remembering why you quit. You were fighting for your freedom, your health, and eventually your life. Bring your reasons for quitting to the forefront of
consciousness and when these thoughts are triggered, you will quickly squelch them. Next time the same circumstance will seem a little weaker, and after a
few times, not trigger at all. Eventually days, weeks, at some point, even months will pass without a real problem. You will experience moments of thoughts,
but at the same time be benefiting from thousands of hours of health and even greater serenity. If you want to permanently avoid making another year of
constant new battles, remember…Never Take Another Puff!
Additional commentary from the Miserable Three Post:
May 9 09 11:07 AM
Joel's Reinforcement Library
If you say it often enough you really start to believe it. But would life be different if you smoked again?
You bet it would. From the moment you awake to the time you go to sleep, life would never again be the same.
Once again you have to smoke as soon as you wake up just to have the strength and energy to drag yourself out
of bed. You cough up some of that phlegm in your lungs and get a drink of water for that horribly dry throat. You have a lousy taste in your mouth and a
slight headache. But none of this concerns you since you feel this way every morning. Funny though, if you think back to your ex-smoking days, you used to
wake up feeling clean, healthy and refreshed.
You start to dress and get ready for work. Fifteen minutes go by so you smoke a cigarette or two. At breakfast
the food sure tastes bland. Better add some salt and pepper to those eggs. Coffee sure seems weak today, no smell or taste to it. Better brew it longer next
time. When you were an ex-smoker things smelled and tasted so good.
You realize you had better start moving faster since you are already behind schedule. Where does the time go?
When you were not smoking you seemed to have so much more time in the morning. Better hurry or you will be late for work again.
The inside windshield sure seems dirty. It is kind of surprising since you just cleaned it three weeks ago.
Better try to scrape that brown film off over the weekend. No wonder the kids are always complaining about the smell in the car. Remember when you were an
ex-smoker and you cleaned your inside windshield about every six months.
You just hate driving during rush hours. Its forty-five minutes of pure frustration. Three or four cigarettes
between home and work. But it sure is better than taking that train where you can't smoke at all. Near the end of these trips you sit with an unlit
cigarette hanging out of your mouth, a lighter in your hand. When the train finally stops you push your way out to light the cigarette as fast as you can.
When you were an ex-smoker and you drove or took the train you didn't even think of a cigarette.
You are really late now. You run half a block from the parking lot to your office. You start wheezing and
coughing. You can't catch your breath and your heart feels like it is going to explode out of your chest. Funny, when you were an ex-smoker a little run
like that wouldn't even make you perspire.
At work the phone just doesn't stop ringing. You almost don't have time to smoke. But you know you
will make time to smoke at least three an hour. In fact, with that hour-long staff meeting where you are not allowed to smoke coming up, you had better smoke
a few extra. You don't want another episode like last week where the boss asked you some difficult questions and all you could think about was when could
you get a cigarette. Sure was simpler when you were an ex-smoker.
Rush hour going home is just as bad as going to work. You should stop and get cigarettes, you might not have
enough to get through until tomorrow. Another couple of dollars down the drain.
Well, you are finally home. You had better smoke while getting ready for dinner since your kids won't let
you smoke at the table. Another half a pack or so before going to bed. You sure are tired. I bet you feel like you smoked too much today. As you doze off
your last thought for the day is, "Boy, do I miss not smoking." Consider what life was really like as a smoker. Remember all this and NEVER
TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
May 9 09 11:36 AM
Jun 17 09 3:48 PM
Jun 17 09 4:12 PM
Feb 9 10 12:33 PM
Feb 9 10 6:01 PM
Hiya KerryI remember when I turned gold, (apart from having babies) it was the proudest day of my life, that I was strong enough to control my addiction, and up until I read here I did not even know I was an addict - when I quit, it was only going to be for a while and then I would just be a social smoker, well www.whyquit.com sorted me out on that point....What you have done is amazing, absolutely awesome.........celebrate hard, you have graduated from the greatest cyber classroom in existence, you have read and you understand the "law of addiction" your strength and education have made you one year free, and you are following the path to living nicotine free for the rest of you life.Well done......Suzie3+ years
Feb 10 10 12:34 AM
Feb 10 10 8:43 AM
Jan 8 11 7:17 PM
Jan 8 11 7:30 PM
Jan 8 11 7:40 PM
Jan 8 11 7:49 PM
Jan 9 11 12:00 AM
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