Some past participants have shown a certain reluctance to return to Freedom after relapsing back to smoking. Many are embarrassed to come back admitting failure. Others feel they tried Freedom once, and, since they went back to smoking, its techniques must not have worked for them, so why bother trying the same approach again? Still others feel it is an inconvenience and an unnecessary commitment of time and effort considering they "heard it all before."
The concept of returning after a relapse may seem embarrassing at first, but, the ex-smoker will probably see quickly he is not alone. Many people have had past quits prior to joining Freedom and understand the fragility of a quit. They will generally understand and accept the presence of repeaters enthusiastically. Relapsers offer a strong confirmation of the concept of addiction to our old members and to all new participants. They often openly share their past experience of how, after initially quitting, they came to a point of complacency which allowed the relapse to occur. They generally reflect back at their non-smoking period as a time where they felt emotionally and physically better, and then openly express the disgust and misery that the relapse brought on. Not only did it cause embarrassment, physical discomfort, and maybe even serious health complications, but also, it was putting them through quitting all over again. Their insights offer a valuable lesson to first time participants not to make the one tragic mistake that could lead them back to smoking and the need for quitting over again--taking a puff on a cigarette.
As far as it being an inconvenience, while reading and posting may take a chunk of time out of a smokers life the first few days, in all probability, there is nothing a smoker has to do the week that he or she is stopping that is as important as quitting smoking. Failure to touch base daily with us because of conflicts of time with social or even professional commitments makes about as much sense as a cancer patient skipping life saving chemotherapy treatments for the same events. Missing an entire day because of prior time commitments may jeopardize the quitting process or the long-term maintenance of smoking cessation. This may cost the person his or her life. In the long run, it will probably be viewed as an error in judgment by the patient as well as any significant others who recognize what was put at risk and what was lost in the process.
For those who feel that Freedom didn't work, the fact is that the techniques taught here didn't fail, the smoker's implementation did. Only one recurrent theme runs through Freedom: if you don't wish to go back to smoking--NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! No one ever went back to smoking without disregarding that rule. Relapsing is an automatic admission that the smoker disregarded the basic principal taught at Freedom.
As far as feeling that "I've heard it all before," being a relapser is evidence enough that the smoker did not hear it or comprehend it all before, or is the type of person who needs to hear it over and over again in order to keep believing it. Repeaters are people who have trouble initially accepting or keeping the concept of addiction alive. This trait is in all probability the reason why the ex-smoker originally relapsed, or maybe didn't stop at all the first time. He or she reached a point of complacency where it was believed that smoking could be controlled at an acceptable level. Smoking is an all or nothing proposition. The repeater must recognize the reason for the past failure and learn from the experience. Otherwise, he or she will be doomed to repeat it over and over again.
If you have gone back to smoking, come in and try again. Once you quit smoking, do everything in your power to stay off. Come in for continued reinforcement and witness the mistakes of other past participants who got complacent. As far as addiction goes, it is much better to learn from others' mistakes than having to attend later due to your own. You just don't know whether you will ever have the strength, desire, or opportunity to quit the next time. In today's society, failing to stay off smoking carries long-term risks which include loss of social status, and respect of others; financial implications which range from supporting an addiction costing hundreds to thusands of dollars per year as well as possibly costing your job and career; and, most significantly, eventual loss of health, and possibly loss of life. Considering all of this, the choice to quit smoking and to stay off is an important one. To keep the ability to stay off smoking you need to always remember to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
© Joel Spitzer, 2000