What makes long time quitters (2+ years) smoke again?

Hi all.

i have just entered the penthouse without so much as a blip, and am well pleased with myself!

However, now is not the time to be complacent (sp?) so am trying to arm myself with as much info as possible (this has been my way since the first day of my quit and its helped so far).

So, for those of you who have been quit for 2 years (or more) and have started smoking again, or if you know of peopl who have done this...what makes you choose to start smoking again?

11 Replies

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  • Well, as someone who has been there; I quit. Just short of three years had past and I gave into the lie.

    The lie being: 1. I can have the one, no problem now

    2. I can quit again right after this pack, no problem.

    Basically what I am trying to say is never give into the urge! There is no such thing as a smoker who can "control it".... period.

    Just keep telling yourself you are not different, the rules apply to you like anyone else and there is no way you can give into your "urge" and take even a puff... unless you are ready to go right back to being a smoker again.

    Sounds harsh, I know, but sometimes the truth can seem that way.

    Keep up the good fight, Claire... you're doing great :)

    CC

  • Congratulations on your Year Claire30

    Congrats Claire and well done.:D:D:D

    Haven't lost this quit. Even though I'm now two years plus, for me though it is about eternal vigilance - especially around the booze for me.

    Don't really have craves any more - have the odd pang but with alcohol involved; common sense tends to leave.

    Luckily for me hardly anyone I know is a smoker any more. The few that are I see less of (unsurprisingly) now that I've quit.

    M

  • Hi Claire, congrats on making it to the penthouse. A great achievement and one you should rightly pat yourself on the back for.

    I've been knocking around these forums for quite a while now and had numerous quit attempts over that time. I'm currently at day 60 of my latest (and last) quit, but in the past I have been quit for over 3 years and then started again.

    There are probably many different reasons why someone would start again after such a long quit. Whether it be a drunken mistake, falling into the 'i can be a casual smoker now' trap, or just forgetting the reasons why one gave up in the first place.

    For me, it has usually been around v traumatic or v stressful situations. And I don't mean a bad day at the office, but more serious life changing events like the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. I think extreme situations like that can act as very strong smoking triggers, and because they are (thankfully) quite rare occurances we can often be caught off guard by them. When you've been quit for 3 years you aren't really prepared to have to deal with v strong cravings anymore - you've almost forgotten what such a thing is like. And that can make you vulnerable to a relapse if such a thing does occur.

    I guess it's almost like, if you imagine when you first quit, every time you did something you used to associate with smoking it was difficult. The first time you ate a meal after you quit, the first time you walked to work after you quit, the first time you got angry or felt alone. In those early days every time you encounter these situations (and in the early days it's just about every situation!) for the first time as a new 'non smoker', it takes some extra effort and willpower to get through them. But once you do, it becomes easier. This type of craving starts to occur less and less. You break down the associations and the every day things you do aren't linked to smoking anymore.

    However, I'm sure a lot of us have been caught out maybe 2 months into a quit. A slightly less regular thing happens in your life, such as going on holiday, and suddenly those cravings are back with a vengeance. But it's the same process - steel yourself for it and get through that first holiday as a non smoker and then in future that association is broken. But it's important to know that even several months down the line when you rarely crave, every now and again an unexpected trigger will occur that you have to deal with.

    Now for a long term (1 year +) quitter, these triggers are v v rare. To the point where you might forget that they will ever happen. After that length of time, pretty much every smoking association will have been broken. But as someone like myself can testify, although they are very rare and occur only in quite extreme circumstances, there are still potential triggers out there that you need to be on your guard about. Otherwise, like me, you end up throwing away 3 years of effort.

    I'm not trying to put a downer on a long term quit. It's an amazing achievement and one of the best things you can ever do. And for the most part, you can live a life where smoking is simply no longer an issue for you. All I'm saying is, never let your guard down. Live your life free from smoking, but if you ever have a craving out of the blue like that due to some major upheaval in your life, be prepared and deal with it the way you dealt with all the previous ones. Then you can get on with enjoying the rest of your life.

  • CONGRATUMATIONS!

    Reading this one with interest as I've just started my most recent quit. My plan so far is to drink as much water as possible as I then spend so much time in the bathroom, there's no time for anything else.

    Also leaving 'til the last minute really concentrates the mind :D

    Me

  • Thanks to everyone who has answered.

    So many things you have all said ring true- i will probably always have to constantly stay vigilant and remind myself what the first few months were like. To be honest, its hard remembering what i full on proper crave was like now.

    The last one i had was when i was just entering my 9th month quit, but it was quite easy by then.

    Thanks again to you all.

  • Good for you Claire. Like you I haven't dipped my toe in the water again. Just try and remember what it was like in the early days, you don't want to go through all that again do you. A lot of people on here have tried the old, just one wont hurt (as mentioned above) then come back on and said "I've had a "blip" but I'm carrying on", then another one (another blip) and so on, what I'd like to know is, how many "blips" make a relapse? You keep on doing what you have been doing and you wont even think about smoking again when something happens, and well done on your first year. David

  • Claire,

    I smoked again after 4 1/2 years, mainly because my original quit was more to satifsy my spouse's wishes than truly of my own accord. Even though I quit successfully for all that time, something in the back of my mind kept telling me it wan't really my quit. That is one of the reasons I firmly believe that people need to 'own their quit'.

    Alex.

  • I think that part of it is forgetfulness, people forget how strong the addiction was and how it controls your life.

    The strongly ingrained notions that smoking is a reward or somehow helps when times are hard is also difficult to get rid of and there tend to be memories of when you started and smoking gave you a buzz as you used it as a stimulant.

    Anyone of those can give you a moment of weakness, which leads to one, then another and another.....

    The problem is we are all former smokers so there will always be the occasional temptation to crop up. You never totally forget something which was once a big part of your life but when those occasional nostalgic fancies do arrive its time to remember the slavery of addiction and ask if you really want to risk going back to that.

    Well that's how I do it!

  • I learned enough from seeing a 8 month and a 6 month quit go up in flames due to 'just one' scenarios to make me think hard about losing a quit now.

    I've had recent trouble with possible redundancy where i was in a short list of 6 people who's jobs were at risk, and i fretted, and stressed, but didn't smoke... it didn't even cross my mind to be honest.

    I think its all about mental conditioning, and putting smoking out of the list of 'options' for dealing with stress. For me I just don't think of smoking as something that helps me any more, i see it as a route to enslavement, and when i weighed up how much i smoked over 15 years.

    20 * 365 = 7300...

    7300 * 15 = 109,500 cigarettes over 15 years.

    I just think to myself, for the price of ONE cigarette, would I truly be prepared to be enslaved again? for a similar amount of time? Could I even afford it?

    Truth is.. no.. i can't afford that any more.. and managing stress is a life skill.

    Who knows what the future will bring.. family deaths, loss of job.. illness.. these are all unknowns, but I do make a choice not to smoke, thats the one thing i've achieved now and held for 2 years so far, i don't want to lose that for 2 minutes of ahh.. followed by regret.

  • Thanks Everyone for your replies.

    I guess the motto is 'stay vigilant'! Actually, i am going to put that in my signature i think!!

  • I guess the motto is 'stay vigilant'! Actually, i am going to put that in my signature i think!!

    Seems very glib to say what SV states well below, and I must say that quite a few of us from previous times have grasped. Nonetheless in understanding it then staying vigilant becomes superfluous IMHO :cool:

    ....there is zero addiction, that completely died four years ago, anyone here who remembers many of us banging on about 'read read read' and 'knowledge' quitting for want of a better word, knows what I mean.

    Of course some may disagree....but then that's possibly when the 'hamster wheel' of staying ever vigilant becomes useful :-|

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