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I am lifting the comment below from the string "Come share your strength, come recognize your vulnerabilities?". In it we explain how we never want to put any undo pressure on any member to come and post. It is up to each and every member himself or herself to post whenever he or she wants to. We do hope though that members and non-members alike stop on by and read every now and then as time permits. Keeping ones own quit strong and secure is of paramount importance by all people who have quit smoking.
The practice of asking where a particular member is putting unwanted pressure on that person to post. It is also setting up a situation that can pose a real problem. There are times when a person is gone for weeks or even months at a time. If another member puts up a post asking where is so and so, there is a good chance the person will never see it and thus not respond. This can set up the perception that the person relapsed. There are times when this may be the case, but there are just as many times if not more where it was not the case. Actually, as I think back to the times when we have seen a post like "Where is what's his name," in most cases we knew the person was still off smoking, but it is not up to us to report on any specific member. Whenever we see posts come up asking about another member we are going to pull that post.
I should also point out that there are people who occasionally leave Freedom who are still not smoking. As some people grow more comfortable in their quits (see Freedom - your journey to comfort - a highly focused forum) they find our style of operation to restrictive. Sometimes a person will pull his or her own membership because of our structure, at other times we have pulled posting privileges of members because they were trying to shape Freedom's style into one that was more relaxed and social and better fitting their current state of being. Such actions though will weaken the level of focus that we keep at Freedom and we believe that level of focus is more important than the enjoyment of any particular person or even groups of people. So there are times when a person is no longer a member and thus cannot respond to a request for information. If a person is no longer a member it may mean many things and there is no way to know for sure. Even at times when we know the status of an individual the managers won't divulge that information unless that member or past member expressly tells us that they want us to pass along his or her information.
In summary, it is impossible to know for sure the status of a person who is not posting. When it comes down to it though, the only one person any member should be focusing on is himself or herself. The people who any member should be giving assistance to or looking to support are people who are expressly asking for such help. Put all available time you have into securing your own quit and put any extra time you have at the site into helping our new members or even a longer-term member who is asking for help. As I said, it is impossible to know for sure the status of a person who is not posting. The only thing that you can know for sure though is that your quit will stay strong and secure whether you are a member or not, or, whether you ever post or not just as long as you always remember to stick to the commitment you made to yourself to never take another puff!
Actually, the majority of our successful quitters don't post all that often. We often see where a person is celebrating turning silver or gold or off multiple years who drop in and say, "I don't post much anymore but I still drop by and read regularly. Spending time reading is probably more likely to help a person secure his or her quit than posting. When it comes down to it, our real wish is for each individual here is to keep his or her own quit secure.
Now there are people who are long-term quitters who are in fact frequent posters. We really appreciate all of the work and help of these people who do stick around. You can tell from the posts of these people that they are well beyond the point of feeling insecure about their own quits. They know not to get complacent and they do want to help. If a person has the time and desire to be there for others they are great assets to our board. But for people whose time might be limited, we want them to put their time into securing their own quits more than trying to secure others.
There is one thing that makes our goal a little different than many Internet based sites. We don't want people to sacrifice time from other areas of their lives and getting hooked on the board. (See Crutches and Freedom - your journey to comfort - a highly focused forum) In the beginning few days this is common, where new members really do spend an inordinate amount of time reading and learning and trying to strengthen their resolve. This is during the time period when many people do find their lives centered around not smoking. Over time though, life should not need to be centered around not smoking, it should be centered around living your life. Being really successful means that you have developed the ability of being with family, friends, doing your job, and meeting your normal day to day demands without constantly thinking about smoking or about quitting.
Over the long-term not smoking should still be looked at as a big deal and a major accomplishment but you shouldn't have to spend more than a few minutes on any given day reminding yourself of this fact. (see "I am not going to smoke today!" and Take it one day at a time. We don't want new members or people first looking at our site who are just considering quitting to think that quitting smoking is going to be a major time commitment or something that is going to consume the rest of their lives. Quitting smoking is going to buy you lots of time and allow you the ability to live your life to the fullest.
We know not everyone has time to stop by and write everyday. Some people don't have time to write every week or even every month. But do try to find the time to stop by and read every once in a while. Taking a few minutes to read can help to secure your quit. Securing your quit can help to buy you years and maybe even decades of extra time of a healthier and higher quality life. Make a point of stopping by every now and then to to read and strengthen your commitment and resolve to never take another puff!
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