Help needed to keep mother off the fags

Hi all,

First off, I am not the smoker, it is my mother. She has smoked for 45 years. In January she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. She spent three weeks in Intensive Care, mostly on a ventilator through a trachy. They were giving here nicotine patched to help her cravings and these were gradually phased out as the physical dependence wore off. She has suspected COPD (which still needs to be definitely diagnosed) and is taking Tiotropium, along with a couple of other inhalers. We don't know the severity of the COPD, but I am resigned to the fact that it will most likely be moderate to severe.

Thankfully, she recovered well from the pneumonia, and was out of hospital within a month. For a couple of months she seemed to be coping fine. Admittedly, she was very weak when coming out of hospital and needed a lot doing for her, which me and my father obliged with (and would not have done otherwise).

Then, having taken a trip on Easter Sunday, she bought some fags. I can't remember my exact reaction, but it was bad. A mixture of complete overwhelming anger and deep sadness. We took the fags off her and threw them away. Not sure whether that was morally the right thing to do, but I feel it would have been the greatest shame for her to have started smoking again. No doubt it would shorten her life more considerably than it already has done.

My question is: What can we do to help her keep off the fags? She says she can't go in to the kitchen without thinking about them (as this is where she used to smoke). She does not go in the kitchen now, but that is only a short term fix. She says she has asked the doctor for help, but he won't help her. I doubt this, but she will not let any of us go with her to the doctors.

As a result of seeing here in Intensive Care, my brother gave up smoking and has threatened that if she starts again she will not be able to see her grandchildren. She is so stubborn, though, I don't think would make any difference. She is determined to start smoking again and I don't know what we can do. She doesn't realise (even after having told her) that it would be a complete kick in the teeth for everybody who has helped her get better.

She doesn't seem to care anymore and that is the saddest thing. She says without the fags her life is empty.

19 Replies

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  • My 2 cents..

    Well, 45 years is quite a bit of time with the smokes. Big part of her life.

    I did not see you mention if you tried the patches or the lozenges or gum.

    Have you considered this? How much did she smoke a day? What is her age?

    Lots of things factor in... Also 1 needs to be willing and ready to QUIT.

    I understand what you meant about doing this 'n that to help her recovery...

    I think anybody would do the same for their Mom. I can say this: Smoking can

    be all consuming...it can take over..and it does. That pull for a smoke is

    REALLY strong... 1 way to approach this is to show her the positive things

    or rewards for stopping...offer her something really special..not to make her

    feel guilty..make to make her feel good...somtimes the charm works too!

    You know her best...what do you think will work? I am wishing the best.

    Today is 101 Days for me..it has not been easy...but its 1 day at a time.

    I will 1 day type in here its been a year...it all starts with 1 day. Take care!

  • Where are you from, Boyuki? That's quite a well-written and sad story you have to tell.

    Alex.

  • Hiya , i didnt want too just read and run , im sorry too read about your dillema , as in trying too keep ya mum off the fags, its hard tho yenno when you have been a smoker for so long, and if you have never smoked yeself , then its even harder for you too comprehend just what she will go through , even tho she probably knows herself deep down shes doing herself no favours , especially if she does have the copd disease :(

    I doubt if your mum has been too the docs and hes refused her help , no way would he do that hun, he wudda referd her too a no smoking nurse of some kind , thats just yer mum being fearful of the unknown, im 50 yrs old , i smoked from when i was 11 yrs old , i have been gave up for around 30 days i am doing it cold turkey, im gasping for a ciggie right now , but yenno what , im soo terrified of that COPD disease , thats what stops me , fear ! i cough till i cant catch my breath and eyes water too death , so i knew it was waiting too strike , thats why i packed in , anyway this is not about me its about your mum, try get her too the docs and get her help , and maybe get her too join on here and we could all spur her on and give her strenth too say no too ciggs ask het too come on here and just read up and see if it spurs her on tell her its just 2 weeks of being uncomfy , then its just her brain playing mind games and shes just gotta be brave and keep saying no !! hope things work out for you :) xx

  • I agree with everything scousemum has said, plus it's really hard to give up smoking when people tell you to give up - no matter how ill you are. You can only give up for yourself when you're ready to.

    I'm on my 4th time giving up but this one feels right & I really don't want to smoke again even though my brain tells me I do sometimes!!

    I really hope your mum will give it a try, maybe if you talk to her about all the people on here & encourage her rather than telling her what to do - I think taking her cigs away will just make her feel worse. I know if anyone had took mine off me it wouldn't have stopped me, i'm too stubborn & probably would have smoked more!

    I also have early lung damage, wish i'd given up years ago but it's never too late & i'm already feeling better after 5 weeks.

    Keep us updated,

    Denise :)

  • Hi Boyuki

    I'm sorry to say this but I think you have a major battle on your hands here. It does not matter how much you or your family want her to stop it will not be enough to get her to stop unless she wants to stop herself. I have been in the situation where I have tried to stop smoking for the sake of someone else and it was doomed to failure as at that time I did not want to stop for myself. It sounds as if your mother does not want to stop or is frightened to try after so many years of smoking.

    I think all you can do is show her your love and understanding, try and get her to see you want the best for her. Under no circumstances do not try to threaten, bully or blackmail her into quitting. I does not work, gentle persuation is your only chance.

    If at the end of the day she starts smoking again, and it sounds like she will I would suggest that you ignore it and just give her your love and support and enjoy having her around.

    Sorry this is not more positive and is not what you want to hear. I do wish you and your mother all the best and hope that I am proved wrong.

    H

  • I agree with what Aitch has said - an addict has to want to get better, and no amount of threatening or pleading is going to persuade them, if they don't, want in their heart to do it.

    However, from what I could gather your mum actually hasn't smoked for a few days, am I right? If she is nicotene free now, then it is all about the psychological habit (which is 99% of a quit anyway, as anybody here will tell you). Familiar places - like the kitchen - and situations trigger the subconscious, and creates a 'craving' which is not physical, but nonetheless is enormously powerful. However, if a person WANTS to quit, and they manage to get through these situations, or be in those places a few times without smoking, the triggers can be broken, and gradually the process of quitting becomes easier.

    You can't bully your mum into not smoking, however concerned you are. Perhaps you could try getting her to read the Alan Carr book, or visit websites like whyquit.com or talesfromthequit.com -or this forum- to see if she can find some inspiration there.

    I hope she finds her way to freedom soon.

    Helen

  • Show her this video....harsh but true. If people want me to remove this post I will, but this video made me think of my kids and what I'd put them through by my own selfishness, stubborness and addiction. I'm only 38 but the end is the same for all smokers and that would have been me in 20 years if not sooner.

  • Just a word of caution.

    Be aware the video is not nice viewing, but of course lung cancer isn't nice

    I watched a short extract but turned it off. Brought back unhappy memories for me. Found it quite upsetting

  • Show her this video....harsh but true. If people want me to remove this post I will, but this video made me think of my kids and what I'd put them through by my own selfishness, stubborness and addiction. I'm only 38 but the end is the same for all smokers and that would have been me in 20 years if not sooner.

    agreed this video had a big impact on me watched it very very early in my quit i remember the bit where she said i feel fine i dont think it will get me [or however she worded it] and it reminded me of myself when i smoked i felt like it wouldnt get me and the impact it had on her son was sooo sad and i would have done that to my family and then her sheer determination to keep smoking was the bit that kept me strong cause i saw how strong the addiction was and i was beating it i am glad i watched it and would recommend it to anyone to watch as it was a big contribution to my quit and maybe it will help others

    boo

  • Oh that video is too scary. I am gonna have another go at quitting.

  • Hey Boyuki ,My mother is just the same . but will she quit... Dont think so she beleives its her only pleasure. done it all her life... what can she do if she doesnt smoke...... we know this thinking is crazy and not right but thank god we all got it ... the penny has dropped for us... u either get it or u dont. some dont some do..I hope she does and yours too... Im supporting mine whatever she decides. iv bought her the alan carr book and nag her as often as i can she hates it but i love her and will nag her anyway . im sure yours and mine both would if it was the other way around... mothers eh! stubborn as mules. but we love em.

    Mashx

  • While I sympathise with you, I think that the other posters are right - you cannot force your mum to quit against her will.

    There are quite a few of us on here who can testify that suffering from smoking related illnesses is not always enough to quit or to stay quit. That must sound mad to non-smokers, but it is true. There has to be some other spark that comes from within to give you that commitment to see it through.

    I hope that your mum finds this spark, but in the meantime, please try to support her rather than make her feel bad. :o

  • While I sympathise with you, I think that the other posters are right - you cannot force your mum to quit against her will.

    There are quite a few of us on here who can testify that suffering from smoking related illnesses is not always enough to quit or to stay quit. That must sound mad to non-smokers, but it is true. There has to be some other spark that comes from within to give you that commitment to see it through.

    I hope that your mum finds this spark, but in the meantime, please try to support her rather than make her feel bad. :o

    thats so true billyo that there is some other spark but what is it so hard to put your finger on even though i always feared illness it wasnt what stopped me it was that 'something else' i cant quite put my finger on

    boo

  • Oh that video is too scary. I am gonna have another go at quitting.

    It's horrible to watch but now all I think of is that poor woman everytime I get an urge... You can do it Zoe :)

    Denise.

  • Let's hope Boyuki comes back to thank everyone for having spent a part of their lives thinking about the plight of his/her grandmother, taking the time to carefully consider the OP, writing an appropriate response, not to mention subsequently re-reading the OP's post, re-reading their own response, and watching what everyone else had to say about the OP's heart-wrenching story.

    (Removed) advertisement for e-cigs aside (calculated, opportunistic, random) or otherwise, I'd be curious as to Boyuki's response toward the overwhelming support given by the folks on WeQuit. :D:D

    Alex.

    P.S. Nah, I'm not cynical... I just have good ears and eyes.

  • Thank You

    Thank you all for your kind and considered replies. They have been very helpful.

    Just to clarify a couple of things: she is 61, has been smoking since she was about 15 and has not smoked anything since the beginning of January (which was when she was admitted to hospital).

    I doubt the above video will be much help to her, but at least I know it is there.

    As she has not smoked for nearly 4 months, it has got to be the psychological addiction that is still kicking in. It is so painful to watch how she is struggling with it.

    Further to what some of the replies have suggested, I have been mentioning the positives about her not smoking (having more spare cash, being more active, etc) and this does seem to be working, although I know it will be a long slog.

    Again, thank you all. It is good to know that there is support out there for all of us struggling (both directly and indirectly) with smoking.

  • I know this may sound daft but would she benefit from being a member of this forum or would it just remind her of smoking? Glad she's still quit and slowly seeing the benefits...maybe she'll slowly realise that smoking is for chumps :) Thanks for posting and telling us how she's getting on. I truly hope she stays off the fags as she has a lovely child who clearly dotes on her.

    All the best Lisa x

  • I would love her to come on here and try to tap in to the support you could all give her... but she shows no interest in the computer, even with my help. And I don't think she's in any fit state for me to try pushing it.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though!

  • Hi Boyuki,

    Came across this thread quite late I suspect but hopefully you'll read in again.

    You mention in your first post about your mother wanting help from her doctor but that he/she isn't willing to be involved. Obviously that's not normal and you're right to be concerned that you're not getting the full picture from your mother.

    If you and your mother live in the UK it is possible for you and/or other concerned family members to seek an appointment with your mother's doctor. Although the doctor is bound by patient confidentiality they should listen and take your concerns seriously.

    Your mother seems to show some signs of depression although that possibly is just the way you've interpreted things in writing your post. If it is indeed the case that she shows signs of depression then that issue could also be mentioned to her doctor.

    It does seem that 61 is quite young to be letting go of this mortal coil and you should be commended for trying to seek answers to help with your mother's situation.

    Regards,

    Cav

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