Advice please

Hi All,

Here's my story; I quit thirteen years ago, I didn't use the Willpower Method, instead I opted for Allen Carr's Easy Way method. For some inexplicable reason I started smoking again about a year ago. I think it was the influence of other smokers at work that gave me the illusion that smoking IS enjoyable and in no time at all I was back to smoking ten a day.

Suffice to say I feel incredibly stupid and actually quite depressed. I have read the revised Easy Way To Stop Smoking book and watched the DVD. I always knew that I NEVER enjoyed smoking, the only 'enjoyment' was relieving the aggravation the previous cigarette created. So you see I have all the knowledge at my disposal but it's not working as I try to quit yet again.

Last night I smoked my first cigarette in seven days, I honestly believed I had done it but all day I suffered an intense craving to smoke. Withdrawal pangs are generally considered to last only a few minutes, I happen to disagree with that notion completely and whilst there is no physical pain I believe Allen Carr under estimates the power of withdrawal pangs and their duration.

I can't describe the feeling, it's as if the little monster was making its final attempt to get me to feed him and begin the filthy cycle all over again. Today I have only smoked two cigarettes but I am acutely aware that the monster inside my tummy has been resurrected. Can anybody give me some advice on how to deal with these types of cravings and perhaps shed some light on why I continue to smoke despite understanding completely the psychology behind nicotine addiction? I am at my wits end and feel utterly miserable and angry with myself.

The previous attempt to stop came from an usually tight chest and horrendous cough, also my hair started to thin and I looked and felt dreadful. With a two days of stopping I felt so much better, my hair started to thicken and the cough completely disappeared. However here I am again, a total and utter mug!

Many thanks in advance.

24 Replies

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  • Hi Macready

    The age old advice on here is to Read Read Read.

    You will see that several of the posters on here have useful links on their signatures. And reading the experiences of others on here will help you to get back into the right frame of mind.

    Good luck

  • Subconscious never goes away!!

    Hi Macready

    Sorry hear about your returning to smoking.

    I'm no expert but I'll give it a go. The subconscious only subsides - it doesn't "go away". The fact that the desires to smoke are coming to the surface again can mean the subconscious is demanding attention - this is what it does when it feels neglected. With you - it's doing it via the old tried & true method of wanting to smoke.

    What activates the subconscious to do this? Why would it feel neglected? Often the answer lies in the life we are having in the "now" world. It can often mean that something is not quite right in our lives. It could be that something that was going in your life years ago is occurring again & associations have been triggered.

    Personally, I think when the subconscious gets energy to reassert itself then its time to take a look at life and reflect somewhat on what's going on there.

    All the best - hope the nicodemon gets put in its place again:)

  • Omg I thought you would have been free of it after 13 years, it just goes to show that you can never let your guard down. I know how I felt after I started smoking once I had got to 6 months smoke free, I was devastated that I had relapsed. It took me 18 months to pluck up the courage to come back on here but they are a forgiving bunch:D, I am sure you can quit again, just believe in yourself

  • I was free of nicotine addiction, I never suffered a single withdrawal pang after a month of stopping, I kept a diary and have been reading it today. Like I said in my initial post, I think it was the influence of other smokers that somehow triggered my subconscious in to believing smoking is enjoyable and that I was missing out. Although Allen Carr's Easy Way method worked somewhere down the line something hasn't gelled so I need to re-read the book and get back to the state of mind I was in thirteen years ago.

  • Hi Macready

    Sorry hear about your returning to smoking.

    I'm no expert but I'll give it a go. The subconscious only subsides - it doesn't "go away". The fact that the desires to smoke are coming to the surface again can mean the subconscious is demanding attention - this is what it does when it feels neglected. With you - it's doing it via the old tried & true method of wanting to smoke.

    What activates the subconscious to do this? Why would it feel neglected? Often the answer lies in the life we are having in the "now" world. It can often mean that something is not quite right in our lives. It could be that something that was going in your life years ago is occurring again & associations have been triggered.

    Personally, I think when the subconscious gets energy to reassert itself then its time to take a look at life and reflect somewhat on what's going on there.

    All the best - hope the nicodemon gets put in its place again:)

    Thanks for your advice. I think you have a point re my subconscious, the last three years of my life have been traumatic to say the least. However I'm almost certain that it was the influence of other smokers where I work that has undone years of clear and positive thinking.

    The only reason anyone smokes is to relieve the withdrawal pangs the previous cigarette creates. The question I have in my mind is why did I take a puff after thirteen years knowing full well that they taste disgusting and do absolutely NOTHING for me?

  • Darn subconscious

    Hi Macready

    You said:

    "The question I have in my mind is why did I take a puff after thirteen years knowing full well that they taste disgusting and do absolutely NOTHING for me?"

    I would suggest it occurred because your subconscious was in the driving seat not your conscious mind. The subconscious does not act in terms of reason - it can almost have a life of its own. It could well have been watching your co workers smoke - the subconscious is triggered that way. It the trigger happens when your defences are down in the conscious mind due to life not being as good as it could be; then the subconscious wins.

    It was just incidental that it was the co workers that triggered the dormant subconscious back to life again - it was the timing that was the thing. Your subconscious was "on the prowl" looking for a release of tension. In the dim recess of your subconscious there is an irrational part that states smoking = enjoyment. Your conscious rational mind, can be powerless up against the subconscious mind if life has been emotionally exhausting.

    Hope you get that nicodemon ( destructive subconscious ) back in its place soon. :)

  • Hi Macready

    You said:

    "The question I have in my mind is why did I take a puff after thirteen years knowing full well that they taste disgusting and do absolutely NOTHING for me?"

    I would suggest it occurred because your subconscious was in the driving seat not your conscious mind. The subconscious does not act in terms of reason - it can almost have a life of its own. It could well have been watching your co workers smoke - the subconscious is triggered that way. It the trigger happens when your defences are down in the conscious mind due to life not being as good as it could be; then the subconscious wins.

    It was just incidental that it was the co workers that triggered the dormant subconscious back to life again - it was the timing that was the thing. Your subconscious was "on the prowl" looking for a release of tension. In the dim recess of your subconscious there is an irrational part that states smoking = enjoyment. Your conscious rational mind, can be powerless up against the subconscious mind if life has been emotionally exhausting.

    Hope you get that nicodemon ( destructive subconscious ) back in its place soon. :)

    And there's the rub; thirteen years ago I had exposed and destroyed all of the lies I had been telling my subconcious about smoking i.e. that I enjoyed smoking, it relaxed me, relieved stress, (stress and relaxation are complete opposites, that's some miracle drug that can do for you one minute the complete opposite an hour earlier).

    I am convinced that it IS the influence of other smokers and my failure to hang on to the knowledge I had gained thanks to Allen Carr, that is the reason I fell back in to the trap and after reading several chapters tonight I am starting to remember, things are beginning to gel once more :)

  • Hi there, I have read quite a few contributions from other members but none of which seem to grasp the reasons why people smoke and why they find it hard to stop. Allen Carr is the only person IMHO that understood the psychology of smoking and he is absolutely right when he says that the only reason we smoke is to relieve the withdrawal pangs the previous ciggy created. He is also right when he talks about the many illusions nicotine addiction conjures, take for example the old favourite; a ciggy after a meal, smokers often describe them as special cigarettes, there is nothing special about any cigarette, it is an association of ideas. Every cigarette tastes the same; foul and nauseating.

    Special cigarettes aren't special at all, it’s the situations you find yourself in that change your perception. When you relieve your withdrawal pangs you associate the cigarette and the particular situation you’re in which only intensifies the brainwashing - giving you the illusion that these cigarettes are special and you can’t enjoy social ocassions without them. That is the power nicotine addiction has over the smoker and it is these illusions that have to be understood and removed. I am in the process of doing just that, again!

  • There are plenty of pro, anti, worshipping, hating, poking, laughing Allen Carr threads on this site to have to go through them all again.

    If he works for you then follow his teachings and get yourself free.

    Once you start to question Carr you may have to find an alternate viewpoint to assess your quit from.

  • Allen Carr; good but not perfect.

    I've read Allen Carr & overall I think he's great. He as found a way for us to approach smoking psychologically & overall it works.

    What does not ring true to me with Allen Carr's book is that he doesn't acknowledge the neurochemistry of smoking.

    Yes, we smoke to prevent the withdrawal from the last cigarette. We're addicted to tobacco not nicotine. I agree with it all.

    What makes Allen Carr's method hard for is that no positive effects of smoking are acknowledged at all. Smoking does make us feel good in that sense that dopamine is released. We smoke to get dopamine.

    If I were to quit smoking & didn't acknowledge the role of dopamine & its positive effects I think I'd have problems. Because I know this I find other dopamine releasing activities - exercise & meditation.

    If I had stopped smoking & I had been under sustained stress & my body needed dopamine it would start to trigger me to get some. If I didn't have other ways to obtain dopamine, like exercise, then the urge to smoke would become very strong.

    The cravings for smoking could actually be cravings for dopamine. Allen Carr doesn't seem to acknowledge this. I don't even know if the research on dopamine existed when Allen Carr wrote his book.

    If, as a non smoker, I started to get cravings to smoke I would ( & I do ) engage in dopamine producing activities i.e. exercise & meditation.

  • At some point I suppose I ought to read Allen Carr to see what I'm missing.

  • Ramblings

    You have to change your whole mindset, the realisation that your an addict, that you will always be an addict that this is your particular demon and mine and millions of others both dead ( the ones who didnt make it) and alive ( the ones who still might).

    An alcoholic is always an alcoholic a smoker is always a smoker sometimes however your not smoking, for me I'm a recovering smoker and always will be I'm just not smoking at the moment, and hoping never to smoke again.

    Maybe twisted thinking but seems to be working for me :confused:

  • If it gets you through the night .....

    If it gets you through the night - then it's alright:)

    I think looking upon yourself as a smoker who is not smoking would do the trick in that you're always on your guard.

    Knowing why we smoke too is a good way to stop. However, if we think that we know completely why we smoke & how the body reacts to smoking then we could run into problems. The subconscious does not like to be put in its place - it tends to find a way.:(

    Forever vigilant:cool:

  • The cravings for smoking could actually be cravings for dopamine. Allen Carr doesn't seem to acknowledge this. I don't even know if the research on dopamine existed when Allen Carr wrote his book.

    If, as a non smoker, I started to get cravings to smoke I would ( & I do ) engage in dopamine producing activities i.e. exercise & meditation.

    Someone here once said a similar thing.. ;)

    forum.nosmokingday.org.uk/s...

  • Hi Macready.

    I didn't quit for 13 years, but for 5 before I started again for another 11 years. It took me having a deep-vein thrombosis combined with a pulmonary embolism and 10 days in hospital to make me realize that I was sailing close to the wind. I had known as soon as I started smoking again that it is an unhealthy habit, and often thought about quitting again... tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, after the summer holidays, when I get the courage etc.

    While in hospital I didn't dare to ask if I could go and have a cigarette, considering my condition :eek: But, once I was out I "reluctantly" smoked again for about a week, at the same wondering just how stupid I could be :D Finally, I came to my senses and said "right, that's enough!" and I have not smoked once since then (just over a year now).

    This story doesn't only relate to you, but to everyone who smokes. You can either stop, or wait until smoking stops you. And, yes, it can happen to you (it was never going to happen to me either :rolleyes:).

    Alex.

  • Long term smokers

    Yes I agree, once a smoker always a smoker.

    I started smoking at a young age but managed to stop in my early twenties. At that point it's for ever or so you think. Had about 7 clean years before the odd one syndrome crept in. Stopped again in my mid thirties, surely this time for ever. Everything was great, I got quite fit, ran respectable marathon times for my age, did triathlons and fell running, swimming, gym etc.....then after 12 years of no cigs it all fell apart after a stressfull time in my life and I am back on 20 a day.

    It is now 5 weeks today without a smoke after 14years of half heartedly trying to stop.

    This time its for good, but I have said that before. No it really is this time.

    Let this be a warning to you all, it's so so easy to fall back into old habits. You must be on your guard at all times, not just now while your in the early part of your quit but for ever.

    I don't want to smoke again and I don't want any of you to either so just be aware, keep focused and keep quit.

    Stay clean and you will never regret it

    I will always be a smoker but I will not always smoke.

  • I've read Allen Carr & overall I think he's great. He as found a way for us to approach smoking psychologically & overall it works.

    What does not ring true to me with Allen Carr's book is that he doesn't acknowledge the neurochemistry of smoking.

    Yes, we smoke to prevent the withdrawal from the last cigarette. We're addicted to tobacco not nicotine. I agree with it all.

    What makes Allen Carr's method hard for is that no positive effects of smoking are acknowledged at all. Smoking does make us feel good in that sense that dopamine is released. We smoke to get dopamine.

    I agree with you, infact it's one of the reasons why I have found Allen Carr's method so frustrating second time around, he TELLS the smoker that they don't enjoy it and that we only smoke to relieve the withdrawal pangs, that much is true but as you say smokers DO receive a chemical buzz as Nicotine stimulates/manipulates the neuro pathways, although the buzz lasts a matter of a few seconds in my experience and the tendency is to smoke more and more because our brains become resistant to the pleasurable and rewarding effects of Nicotine.

    I read a fantastic article today in a science journal I googled 'smoking relapse' it's a brilliant article they talk about the confidence a smoker experiences when he is not craving cigarettes giving the illusion that quitting nicotine is easy, however the problem with that is we under estimate and fail to acknowledge the poweful cravings that ALL smokers experience when they quit, it is these cravings that result in so many failed attempts because the smoker doesn't forsee future cravings and their power, this is exactly why I failed last week, I was full of confidence that I had done it, several days later I had a pang that lasted all day and in to the evening.

    I guess we learn as we go, and whilst we have many failed attempts behind us those experiences prepare us for the final journey.

  • Snap!

    Hi Austinlegro

    Just read your link & I think it's very good - entirely agree. I don't think we're stretching it with dopamine though - the body will go to great lengths to get it.

    Parkinson's disease sufferers have low dopamine & a number of them become gambling addicts. Gambling also gives dopamine highs along with drinking alcohol. Smokers generally don't get Parkinson's disease. It all makes you wonder.

    One great thing I think is that there are so many healthy & practical ways of getting a dose of dopamine into the body - exercise, deep breathing, meditation, praying ....

    If people are having trouble quitting smoking maybe an exercise programme is a good place to start.

  • Frankly, you can philosophise why we smoke to death but in the end you either quit or you don't. Toying with intellectual arguments is just another way of prolonging the agony... Needlessly, I might add.

    Alex.

  • Hi Alex76

    Hi Alex76

    This thread is in response to a question “ why have I started smoking after 13 years”.

    An attempt is being made to try to answer that question. The presentation of empirical evidence is being made to try to answer what I consider a valid query.

    This forum is about supporting people – in my mind that’s what I’m trying to do – I’m trying to find an answer to “why do we smoke”.

    I don’t believe that it is useless to try & I don’t appreciate being told that my postings are “needless”.

    We are all different - many have to have the correct intellectual framework in place before they can proceed.

  • Hi Alex76

    This thread is in response to a question “ why have I started smoking after 13 years”.

    An attempt is being made to try to answer that question. The presentation of empirical evidence is being made to try to answer what I consider a valid query.

    This forum is about supporting people – in my mind that’s what I’m trying to do – I’m trying to find an answer to “why do we smoke”.

    I don’t believe that it is useless to try & I don’t appreciate being told that my postings are “needless”.

    We are all different - many have to have the correct intellectual framework in place before they can proceed.

    Hi Nonico,

    I didn't make any reference to your post, so I don't understand why you're taking it personally. I was giving my opinion, in the same way that others have given their opinion. If you don't what is written then ignore it, or debate it politely, but please don't start accusing people of having a different opinion.

    Thanks,

    Alex.

  • Hi Alex76

    It is not a matter of taking it personally. I found your tone extremely judgemental. Many people have to find the reason they smoke before they can stop. That is what is happening on this thread.

    To say we are "Toying with intellectual arguments, needlessly" is judgemental.

  • No problem. I found your tone needlessly defensive, with references to things that I didn't even say.

    Alex.

  • Hey Macready... did you reward yourself after u quit smoking on a regular basis?

    @karri i think what u said about needing to be in with the in crowd makes senseto me on a gut level.

    I hope u get back on your quit soon though . one thing that i swear by is

    H..ungry....A...ngry....Lonely.....tired...... if im any of thos things then i need to address them or i will smoke.. most probably....So next time u want to smoke. Halt and think

    All the best .

    Mash x