The Law of Addiction
Administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance at the old level of use or greater.
Freedom's Relapse Policy
Freedom's Old Relapse Policy
Freedom's relapse policy is very simple. Our message boards are a home and haven for serious quitters, not active addicts. Freedom is a 100% nicotine clean education and support forum and we ask all members to respect Freedom's freedom from nicotine by pledging to NEVER post to our message boards with nicotine in your blood (72 hours). In the entire world there must be at least one place where former nicotine addicts can find sanctuary from the drug that would destroy them. We are not here to listen to justifications for relapse because there are none!
Freedom's Original Relapse &
Tough Love Policy
We don't call it a "slip" at Freedom, we call it "relapse!"
"Slip" is a word that losers use to candy coat defeat.
When one of our members relapses we truly do hope that they can get back up, bite their lips if necessary and get on with the rest of their lives. We caution all of our new members who continue to give 100% to be very careful in just how much comfort you give to those who have relapsed. Tough love is extremely tough to do as it requires each of us think hard about what we're about to say, and how we'll encourage that member to regather their "desire" and fight on. What you'll often see happen is a well meaning newbie giving a relapsed member so many hugs, flowers and pats on the back that it makes other struggling members crave similar attention. Does it make any sense to pat someone on the back while they're in the process of jumping off a cliff, or to hand them a flower? What would make sense?
We are nicotine addicts - real live honest to goodness nicotine addicts! If we were all heroin addicts sticking needles into our arms, when one of our members relapsed and started again injecting heroin into their veins, would we pat them on the back and tell them that "it's ok", "don't worry about it," "it's just a little slip, nothing big," "you just keep slippin and we'll just keep huggin ya each time you come back," "hey, we all slip every once in a while, it's just part of life," "it's NO BIG DEAL! "
We're here to tell you that it is a BIG, BIG DEAL! Our addiction will end up killing some of us! Yes, statistically, half of all long term smokers will be killed by tobacco. HALF of us!! If the person who relapsed didn't learn ANYTHING from their relapse except that it brings a massive amount of comfort and hugs, THEN THAT PERSON IS DESTINED TO RELAPSE AGAIN, AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until they get tired of trying and throw in the towel. If we fail to learn from our mistakes, we are destined to repeat them.
"Tough Quit Love" seeks to get the member who relapsed to learn from their relapse. Is a two day quit even a serious quit attempt? Isn't something wrong with this picture? Does the two day quitter really want it badly enough? What was their motivation? How strong or weak was it? What will it take to keep them going? How can we help motivate them or fuel their desire? What's it going to take to get them to quit? Difficulty breathing? A heart attack? Death? Are we asking the right questions? Is our concern genuine if all we do his comfort them to the point that we make them and others feel that it's no big deal to relapse? How many more quit attempts to they have left in them before they give up and simply wait on bad news to someday arrive? Do we want to be part of the solution for their success or part of the reason for their eventual demise?
Imagine a few hundred quitters seated in a circle in a very large room when all of the sudden one of them quickly pulls out a full pack, lights-up, and begins ingesting nicotine into her lungs. The room slowly begins filling with the smell of smoke. How will the others react? Most are strong but a few are really struggling. What should be said? Do hugs really seem appropriate? For those who've long been a part of online support, they've witnessed this exact scenario unfold many times. Unless we are very careful we can send a terrible message to those teetering on the verge of relapse themselves. They are called "relapse parties" and they are very very real. The two most important posts that we'll ever make are to the member crying out for HELP and to the member who has just relapsed. Please take a moment now to reflect on how you'll respond. Brotherly and sisterly love can make a difference here but only if wrapped in truth.
Be bold, brave and caring enough to come to the board, post a quick HELP, and reach for your online support family BEFORE reaching for nicotine! When a family member reaches for nicotine before giving us a brief chance to help ease their troubled mind, it can feel like a hard slap in the face. They enjoyed our support but they failed to understand what the word SUPPORT means. To be too proud to post for HELP but courageous enough to post a relapse is the product of a JUNKIE thinking mind! If you want for us to hug you, support you, and make you feel good about what you've just done, then be honest and do the right thing! Promise yourself NOW that instead of running to the store, bumming from a smoker, or digging through an ashtray that you'll come here and give us a few minutes first. If you don't, we have a right to be upset! We don't need to hear how there was no computer around. You can find us when you want to - just bite your lip and head in the right direction!
One other important point that causes great distress. You need to know in advance that there is NEVER ever any justification for putting nicotine back into your blood. We all will have loved ones who will die, so if the death of a loved one is an acceptable reason for relapse, we all will start smoking again some day - all of us! Some members will return after relapse and do their very best to sell us on the belief that their relapse was justified. Their mind's excuses for ingesting nicotine will sound extremely stressful, horrible or even painful. Some will almost dare you to think that you could have gone without relapsing under the same circumstances. The sad part is, we can't let them leave our newbies with the false belief that there are times when relapse is justified. This can be cause for turmoil in a relapse thread as both other newbies and the relapsor must either be told the truth or the post must be erased. You will see it happen. Instead of admitting that their reasons were not justification for ingesting nicotine, they'll post and then fight to the death to defend their use of nicotine.
It's important to remember that something MUST change in the mind and thinking of the relapsed member if their next quit is to be successful. Tremendous energy can be expended in the first few days of a quit. Early withdrawal can be draining. Although we'd love to see a relapsed member immediately start a new quit, under some circumstances it may be of greater benefit for them to take a moment to reflect and regroup. A rapid cycle of defeats can be extremely demoralizing. If their resolve is no stronger tomorrow than it was yesterday then the result will be the same.
Tough love is blunt and honest but it doesn't mean that we're rude, cruel or that we intentionally hurt someone's feelings. Tough love means that we make these folks think, learn and become motivated to go the distance, not to give up. Yes, at times you'll see some of our oldbies challenge them or challenge their determination, but they do it with caring hearts that seek to make the relapsed member dig deep inside themselves to find what it takes to make freedom ring!
Last Updated 03/06
Copyright 1999 -2006 Freedom from Tobacco