Ego Depletion / Self Control Theory?

Hello peeps

Even though my quit feels like it is strengthening as time goes on.....tonight I have been bombarded with smoking desires and whims...and I am trying to make sense of them :confused: :(

I started reading about ego depletion, something I first heard about on the Nicorette Active Stop programme.

Most psychologists apparently agree that we only have a finite amount of willpower and that if we constantly use this resource eventually it fails and we suffer from ego depletion.

This can make us falter and stop denying ourselves whatever it may be..smoking, drinking, unhealthy (but tasty!) food, drugs etc

Although I know I am not denying myself anything by quitting...only gaining...why am I plagued with these thoughts tonight??

Am I beginning to suffer from ego depletion?

At the start of my quit I used conscious decisions.

As I continue these decisions are becoming easier...

I didn't actually think I was using willpower!!.....

but earlier tonight....sheesh...I needed whatever I could muster!!

It is easing off now, 4 hours or so later, but I didn't like what I felt and hope this is not a sign of things to come.

I know I won't smoke........I have no need or desire to (my mantra early on and by the looks of it still) but why these whims now..............the one thing I do know is...they're bloody annoying!!! :mad:

I got through it by plugging my guitar in, taking a leaf out of "Spinal Tap's" book, turned it up to 11!! and let rip!

Felt much better afterwards. :D

So did any of our longer term quitters feel that they were "running out of willpower .... perhaps without even knowing they were using it?

I really hope that made some form of sense peeps, it certainly helped to put it in writing.

Thanks for your time

Take care

Greg

8 Replies

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  • Nifty,

    I've not read about about ego depletion, but from what you describe it sounds like it's to do with getting to a point where willpower fails. However, it also sounds like you haven't had to exert a lot of willpower, but are still feeling a certain low-level "want" to smoke again.

    This may be more what I would call the "eff-it" factor. It could simply be that you've got to a point where you've proven that you can stop, and have completely forgotten the effort you put in to stop in the first place. Don't go there!

    You stopped for a reason and you should stay stopped for a reason.

    Don't let complacency get the better of you.

    Alex.

  • Hello peeps

    Even though my quit feels like it is strengthening as time goes on.....tonight I have been bombarded with smoking desires and whims...and I am trying to make sense of them :confused: :(

    I started reading about ego depletion, something I first heard about on the Nicorette Active Stop programme.

    Most psychologists apparently agree that we only have a finite amount of willpower and that if we constantly use this resource eventually it fails and we suffer from ego depletion.

    This can make us falter and stop denying ourselves whatever it may be..smoking, drinking, unhealthy (but tasty!) food, drugs etc

    Although I know I am not denying myself anything by quitting...only gaining...why am I plagued with these thoughts tonight??

    Am I beginning to suffer from ego depletion?

    At the start of my quit I used conscious decisions.

    As I continue these decisions are becoming easier...

    I didn't actually think I was using willpower!!.....

    but earlier tonight....sheesh...I needed whatever I could muster!!

    It is easing off now, 4 hours or so later, but I didn't like what I felt and hope this is not a sign of things to come.

    I know I won't smoke........I have no need or desire to (my mantra early on and by the looks of it still) but why these whims now..............the one thing I do know is...they're bloody annoying!!! :mad:

    I got through it by plugging my guitar in, taking a leaf out of "Spinal Tap's" book, turned it up to 11!! and let rip!

    Felt much better afterwards. :D

    So did any of our longer term quitters feel that they were "running out of willpower .... perhaps without even knowing they were using it?

    I really hope that made some form of sense peeps, it certainly helped to put it in writing.

    Thanks for your time

    Take care

    Greg

    Iv give up on reading stuff about smoking.. If I'm having a crave I'm having a crave.. It seems like a lot of us are having craves my self included at this time.. I just think its cuz it Xmas.. We always smoked at this time of year maybe more due to the stress.. Iv come to realise how much I do at this time of year and my OH just sits back and relaxes..

    Xmas day iv got make a dinner and make a Xmas cake with all the trimmings and cook up my jerk chicken for the party at my mums Boxing Day..

    Any other Xmas It Wud of bin a smoke inbetwwen all of this few day madness.. And now were is my reward?

    And as I type this my OH goes outside for his well ernt smoke

  • Oh I'm sorry you're having a bad time too Greg!

    I think Shelly's right, lots of us are having a tougher time now 'cos of Christmas and all that goes with it, especially when its our first smoke free one for a long time!

    It makes sense to me, even though I'm a much more recent quitter than you - have been having a bad time as well.

    Keep strong! :)

  • hope you wake up feeling in a better mindset this morning Greg

    im always wary when so called experts come up with yet another phrase to describe willpower or self control :rolleyes:

    You have to remember that no matter what

    your subconcious doesnt know about willpower or self control which ever word you want to use all it knows is the fact that it wants and needs whatever your trying to deny ie be it a ciggy or chocolate or yummy cake

    so will constantly drive you mad with reminding you that it wants whatever you are trying to stop by bombarding you with thoughts that can just make you think wtf

    some days are going to be worse then others but trying to keep a positive mindset will help and each morning wake up and say i choose not to smoke today helps to re affirm your resolve

    the longer you stay quit the quieter those voices inside become and get weaker till you only get the odd one rear its head some can take you by surprise with how strong they are

    and at this time of the year when there is more stress and worry that go hand in hand with christmas things can seem to be even worse

    just remember you have come so far already and by remembering the positives of why you quit rereading your earlier posts and reasons will help to reinforce this

    onwards and upwards is the only way too go

    hope you have a lovely smoke free christmas

    :)

    hugs

    Carol

  • Greg I don't know anything about Ego depletion but I have been exactly where you are.

    You have associated smoking with all sorts of things over the years, pleasure, pains, boredom etc. and you became accustomed to accompanying situations with a smoke. Now it would be unrealistic to think those associations just go away in just a few months given the years and years we took building them up.

    When you start off its a challenge to deal with the cravings and wants and beat them but over time you have proven to yourself that you can do it, so you've lost a lot of that incentive and novelty.

    Whatever's triggered this might be impossible to pinpoint; I know there were points when I was struggling and I couldn't say why. I knew I wouldn't give in but I had exhausted my techniques. In the end I found that sometimes you have to just tough it out. Its a bit like having a cold, you cant do a lot about, its a pain in the arse but you know that it will be better soon. On the plus side you will probably be back to your positive self by the time you read this and as time progresses situations like this reduce both in frequency and intensity.

    However there will be more, be aware of that, but I hope today sees you in better spirits.

    Cheers

    Nic

  • Now, if I could just remember who I am, I would answer your question...........

    The term "ego depletion" seems to reflect how I feel if I am about to cave. I say to myself "I don't care" - which means I don't care about the consequences to me. Also i can't remember any of the reasons for staying quit. It is as if the "I" (ego) has disappeared, or at least is considerably diminished.

    Well done Nifty for resisting the strong urges. Some other people - who are further on in their quit than we are - have been having similar experiences recently. It looks like we can get caught by a nasty craving at any time. I expect these random cravings will be particularly trying when they happen at times that "don't make sense". Almost as if they are out to get us?

  • Thank you folks

    Feeling much better about my quit today.

    Although I do find the theory of ego depletion an interesting one I also think you are correct in that I maybe do have a tendency to over think things.

    I wouldn't say I am craving any more, just psychological whims that I am not doing something I should be......hopefully over time, as I hang on H's words, my subconscious will catch up......

    .....think I'll buy it some running shoes for Christmas! :D

    You are correct, I have read it and said it to others before...

    Keep your memory green.........never forget your reasons and how it felt when first quitting.

    Thank you peeps for, as always here, reminding me brilliantly. :D

    Take care

    Greg

    :)

  • Nifty,

    I've not read about about ego depletion, but from what you describe it sounds like it's to do with getting to a point where willpower fails. However, it also sounds like you haven't had to exert a lot of willpower, but are still feeling a certain low-level "want" to smoke again.

    This may be more what I would call the "eff-it" factor. It could simply be that you've got to a point where you've proven that you can stop, and have completely forgotten the effort you put in to stop in the first place. Don't go there!

    You stopped for a reason and you should stay stopped for a reason.

    Don't let complacency get the better of you.

    Alex.

    To read that 2 years after you stopped, it suddenly reminded me what I am really doing here! :)

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