I received an email question from a newer member who asked about how to set a quit meter considering she had started using nicotine patches five days before actually joining up at Freedom. She had not smoked 120 cigarettes in that time period and she did not feel she wanted to reset her quit meter for it would not accurately reflect how many cigarettes she had not smoked nor how much money she had saved. She also seemed to feel that because she had suffered so much those first five days that they must have to count for something, or that her whole quit was invalid because we seemed to act as if we felt tha the first five days somehow did not count.
I tried to email her back a reply but her email box was full and the message got kicked back to me. So I am posting the response here for in fact the message is important for other people who may have had a similar experience of finding Freedom after they had already had an NRT quit going.
Here is the response I had written:
A high percentage of people I run through clinics have actually tried NRT products in the past-actually over 85% of people who went through my clinics last year had tried NRT products and have now basically written off the experience as a waste of time. They don't try to hang on to past failures but rather now are focused on maintaining current and future success.
I think most people at Freedom are here now too because they are also of the mindset that the day they quit using nicotine is the day they stopped using nicotine. As far as you thinking now that the first few days of using patches is now making your whole quit invalid-your ten-day quit is perfectly valid. The first five days though you just transferred how you delivered nicotine. I think you are somehow working with the idea that the first five days have to be valid and important to your quit because you suffered so much during them. Suffering is not the benchmark that makes a quit valid-getting off nicotine is what makes breaking the addiction valid. People suffocating with emphysema are suffering plenty from cigarettes but if they are still smoking I don't think you would say that the suffering is a good thing or some kind of great accomplishment.
The money saved issue is pretty much a moot point too-you likely spent more on the patches than cigarettes would have cost you-especially considering you probably spent close to $50 for the box of patches and only used a few. So to say you saved money by that purchase is really misleading too.
As far as cigarettes not smoked in the meters, I think our group mindset is not really cigarettes not smoked as much as it is nicotine not used. Cigarettes are just the unit of measure for nicotine. To most of our members counting the time that a patch was used would be like an alcoholic who used to drink whisky exclusively now saying they successfully gave up drinking because all they have daily now is scotch. Alcohol is alcohol and nicotine is nicotine.
Our board is unique. Almost no other site on the Internet would agree with this stand and will gladly welcome you in and allow you to use whatever numbers you want. But people are here because they are done playing games like trying to make themselves feel better about their past ways of maintaining nicotine addiction and are now trying to make themselves actually get healthier by actually taking control of their addiction. I hope you do the same.
If you can come to grip with the concept of measuring from the day you stopped the patch you will likely be happy and successful here, but if this concept is too much of a stumbling block you will likely find yourself happier elsewhere. While you may be happier elsewhere, I am not so sure you are going to be as successful elsewhere-but the choice of what groups fits you best has got to be yours.
One last point, the 120 cigarettes difference is not going to seem important when the number of cigarettes not smoked read 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000, and maybe more. Those numbers will be real one day if you always remember from now on that to stay smoke free simply requires always staying committed to never take another puff!