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Apr 15 12 7:36 AM
Apr 15 12 7:37 AM
Apr 15 12 7:41 AM
I have seen it written that we have said that the ONLY way to quit smoking is to quit cold turkey. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit,; it is just that cold turkey is the method which gives people the best chance of success. It is the method that all but a small percentage of long-term ex-smokers in the world used to successfully quit smoking.
There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some who cut down gradually and actually succeeded at quitting. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do "real world" research into how to quit.
By "real world" research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.
The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually successfully got off nicotine this way.
I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.
The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.
There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.
Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!
Apr 15 12 7:55 AM
Apr 15 12 7:57 AM
Apr 15 12 8:01 AM
Quitting is often a very lonely experience. If you talk to people who quit a long time ago they may make comments like, "quit smoking, there is nothing to it." They may have experienced a difficult time themselves but they could have totally forgotten it. Talk to people who never smoked a day in their life and they can react with comments like, "Hey, you never should have taken up smoking in the first place." Talk to people who still smoke and they may offer you cigarettes. This all can make a person first starting a quit feel like they are alone in the world.
The beauty of Freedom is that you are basically in a group that appreciates the importance of smoking cessation. Some people here have quit at the same time so it is natural that there is a certain camaraderie that is felt for them. But even the longer-term quitters still keep the significance of their quits at a level of paramount importance. They force themselves to remember how hard it was to quit, how bad it was to smoke and how much better off they are because they quit.
Many who are here remember how lonely and hopeless they may have felt in the beginning or in past quits and are eager to help spare others the same feelings of isolation. Their continued participation helps everyone, including themselves maintaining their own resolve to stay quit. So remember your early experiences here and in past quits, and as time goes on you too will be able to share your success to help others.
As you encounter others in your travels through life, let them know there is help out here for them. To help return the support, always be encouraging to people quitting and always make sure they understand to stay off smoking they need to never take another puff!
Apr 15 12 8:38 AM
We do come from a very different slant than most other boards. I suspect it is hard for our members to read what goes on at other sites without wanting to "correct" them on some of their views. But understand the members of those sites cringe when they read what we say here too.
A slip is a relapse sounds as absurd to them as a slip not being a relapse sounds to us. Pulling posting privileges if a person posts a relapse makes them think that we are intolerant and elitists. I guess in a way we are--we only want people who are wanting to quit and are willing to put in a 100 percent effort and commitment. The other boards are much more tolerant than us--they are willing to work with anybody no matter how much or how little effort they are willing to put into quitting and no matter how many it takes for them to get a quit right.
Our members are here though because they want to finally get smoking permanently over with and they see us as their best shot for treating nicotine as the addiction it is and they see us as their best chance of permanent success. They are here because they have accepted the premise that there is no real legitimate reason to relapse. We are glad they see us that way--it is how we see ourselves too. But it is not our place to try to convert any other site to our ways of thinking any more than it is their right to try to change us.
If someone from another site came to us and told us we were all wrong about quitting cold turkey and our relapse policy we would delete the post and say we don't want to divert our board from attention of quitting smoking. We should then not try to divert the attention of other sites or raise controversies elsewhere either then. By sticking with this policy they may call us intolerant but they should never be able to call us hypocrites.
Here are a few other posts that elaborate on how we are different.
I Liked My Other Support Group More
Is Relapse a Natural Part of the Addiction Process?
The text below I lifted from Our Mission Statement.
This is a real valuable string covering many different aspects of our operation. Its not easy keeping the board focused on just quitting smoking. We have many people coming in from different countries with many different life situations and many different problems. But everyone joining here from all these many different places and different problems all have ONE thing in common. They are all nicotine addicts and by joining here at Freedom have committed to quit smoking and to do everything in his or her power to stay nicotine free.
That is all Freedom is here to do, help people realize that no matter how different they are and no matter what problems they may have, that not smoking is an option. This is very different than the common statement that smoking is not an option, which of course is not true considering the millions and millions, and probably billions of smokers, I just never thought of looking to see how many smokers there actually are in the world. But not smoking is an option, which is clearly evident considering the billions of people there are in the world who don't do it.
Anyway, the original post here and the additional posts cover many aspects of what our one and only mission is here at Freedom. We are here to help our members save their own lives. I have said often we are not striving to be the biggest quit smoking site, the most popular or even the best. The best is always going to be in the eye of the beholder.
Every member at every site thinks that their site is the best. If not, they would move on to another site better fitting his or her own needs. In their view, that site will then be the best for them. And if the next site helps the person sustain his or her quit, he or she will have been right.
If on the other hand the person loses his or her quit when he or she loses his or her focus, the end results can be tragic. Whether or not he or she then feels the site was the best is of little consequence if the person loses his or her quit.
But we want this site to be viewed as the best by the people who are its members. The purpose we present to all when they join is that we are a site that is totally focused on smoking cessation and relapse prevention. We are all committed to keep this site focused on this concept at all times. In our membership's view, that is what makes this site best for them, which is evident because they are still here.
When will our Mission for Freedom be over? When no one posts anymore because we no longer seem to be fulfilling anyone's needs. Then we will know that there is no longer a need for a focused cold turkey quit smoking site.
Until then, all members should know that we are a cold turkey quit site that is totally dedicated to help each other and more importantly help ourselves to stay dedicated to the simple principle that we will never take another puff!
I thought it would be a good time to point out that we really are different than most other boards out there. I am not saying it is better or worse, just different. People come in here that have often been at other boards first where the rule of the day is everyone has good ideas of how to quit. The fact is, many people come with their old techniques and understanding of how to quit. That is why many if them are current smokers. Their old techniques failed them.
We on the other hand are trying to share methods ands approaches that are tried and true. Not methods that one person used and it seemed to work for them, but that you can find dozens of people who used the exact same method only to have it basically undercut their quits. We are trying to highlight the methods that enhances the vast majority of members and even ex-smoking non-members overall success.
It is not that we are not against newbies offering support, but just that they should hang around a while first, read all of our philosophies and try to understand what we are doing here and why we have some of our guidelines in place.
If a person has a difference of opinion with our technique, which is basically quit cold turkey, don't carry cigarettes and never take another puff, they should not post about it on the board. If they want to discuss it with management, we can each be emailed and we will explain why we don't advocate a specific piece of advice. Or maybe we will see your point and modify our approach.
But if a new member reads it in their first days of a quit, before we have a chance to point out the pitfalls, they may think that this advice is accepted strategy for enhancing smoking cessation. The fact is for most people, if the advice in contradictory to our basic premise, it is probably going to be counterproductive to the person's quit. People just quitting who are hanging on for dear life will often grasp onto things that are written in our posts and responses. The addiction would love to get some support from a basically bad piece of advice that makes the potential for relapsing seem a bit easier.
Also, we need to keep focused on the real danger of the buddy system. The buddy may have the best advice in the world, and the other buddy may really count on the person to get them through thick and thin. But there is no guarantee that the buddy will be available when needed or worst, there is no guarantee that the buddy won't be a smoker next time contacted. Stranger things have happened.
Count on yourself first. You can count to some degree on the group after that, but there have even been times where due to technical difficulties the whole group disappears all at once. Again, that is where counting on yourself is paramount. Print out your own reasons for having initially quit. Print out materials here that struck a personal chord helping you at a critical moment. Have alternative resources of support established. But don't count on one individual, no matter who they are. The stakes are too high to gamble on one person helping you when he or she may not be able to do this for him or herself.
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