There are times when a person relapses that other well meaning members jump in saying they understand the causes of the relapse. Sometimes they feel the person needs to be consoled and nurtured for the bad choice they had made. I even see times where we are criticized for not offering such unconditional love and support of the relapsed person, as if we don't understand or fully sympathize with the plight of the person who has relapsed.
Well the fact is we all understand how people relapse, all too well in fact. Many people before joining Freedom lived through such experiences countless times. Should the person who just relapsed feel better that now it is understood why they relapsed? That depends I guess. If the person is here to feel better about smoking, sure they should be quite relieved. If the person is here because they are trying to save their lives I don't think they should be getting much comfort in these well wishes.
I guess it is like someone standing on a ledge of a building. Do you want people standing on the ground giving them reasons not to jump or people hearing all the woes in the individual's life and saying, "Gosh, I understand what you are saying. I feel that way too. I guess if I were in your shoes I would jump too. Don't feel guilty though, we understand."
I don't want this statement to be read as a mockery of the people trying to help. I am trying to make an illustration here. It is obvious that the difference is if they jump they will die. But please understand, that if a person relapses and doesn't quit, they are likely to face the same fate, just time delayed. Yes if you saw a person on a ledge, you would try to use empathy. But the empathy would be in for form of explaining that you understand their plight but you disapprove of their current tactic to deal with it. There are better ways to resolve their problems than killing themselves. The same concepts hold true for taking a puff. You may understand the feelings the person had, you may have even felt them at some point. But you don't give into the feeling because the implication is smoking and that can lead to death.
I sometimes see responses here that there are other boards that are more accepting of relapse, in fact they see it as a normal and acceptable process. This is a very accurate statement and I do think that if anyone here feels we are too tough they should look at the other sites. I do believe the majority people who are here came to us because they are looking for a niche group, a kind of understanding and support that is not available elsewhere. If you are dead serious about quitting smoking I think you have found the right place to be and I hope you stay. But if our philosophy is too restricting, why try to change us. Trying to alter our premise is as unfair as our members going to other sites and trying to change them. We don't do it, we are very tolerant of the other sites and understand that some people will be happier there. But deep down we are not very hopeful that they will be more successful there.
As always, everyone should be focused on making it through today. Whether this is your first day or thousandth day, it will be a much better day if you walk away with the understanding that no matter what happens in your life, either issues of great happiness or sadness, importance or mediocrity, exhilaration of shear dullness, no matter what the circumstances the only way to sustain your quit is to never take another puff!
Edited 05-18-2013 to include following videos: