A conflict between brain and heart

It's been 14 days now since I've touched a cigarette. I've got a warning from my

dentist about my gums, I panicked and decided to stop immediately. So after

nearly 30 years of smoking 20 cigs a day I took the cold turkey road.

The actual non-smoking part right now is doable, although there are sometime cravings

but I still don't give in to them. The difficult part however is the idea that I'm

giving this up for the rest of my life. To make it doable I'm often thinking: ok just

hang in there for a couple of more weeks and then you can start smoking again...

Does someone know of a way of changing this kind of reasoning, or is it normal and

will it fade away in time? Because I have the feeling my brain is telling me to stop

smoking but my heart is telling me the opposite...

6 Replies

  • Domien Welcome to the forum and like all of us you are in the reasoning stage where you wonder if you are doing the right thing to quit...

    Yes...yes...yes..it is the right thing !

    Firstly I would suggest that you think the other way around ......It is your Heart telling you to stop but your brain is telling you the opposite.

    After 30 years your brain adapted itself to nicotine as the only thing that make you happy, relaxed or able to cope .....

    You are now worried that you are loosing a 30 year long friend and wonder how you will cope without him....

    Be prepared for the chemical warfare in your brain and might pull some nasty tricks on you even after 14 days which is exceptional well done already !!

    (The Nicodemon gave me a curve ball 11 weeks in my quit)

    There is no magic way to change that feeling but you only can decide to take control of your life and once you have tasted the sweet smoke free life you will never want to go that route again.

    Stay strong in your quit ....it is the right thing to do !

  • I can identify exactly with what you are saying Domien but I think Hercu is right when he says that it's really the other way round and that the problem is in the mind.

    It's convincing ourselves that we can manage perfectly well without smoking after relying on it for so many years that's the hardest thing to accept but deep down we know that it's doing absolutely nothing beneficial for us - in fact just the opposite.

    Well done for making it to 2 weeks. I've only managed 1 and I can't really say I've enjoyed it or that it's been easy but I know in my heart that I have to be free of this habit that's had me in its grips for so long. That said there are so many times when I feel I need just one more cigarette to make me feel 'normal' but I know I'm only kidding myself.

    The best thing any smoker can do for themselves is to give up - that's what I keep telling myself when I'm having doubts.

    Stay strong and keep going. Good luck.

  • Hercu, Linda, thanks a lot for listening to my troubles and giving some answers...

    Before trying to quit I've always assumed that once you've become a smoker you will always remain

    a smoker. Today I still feel this to be true: I will always be a smoker but I'll have to fight to be a smoker

    who doesn't smoke anymore. Probably this battle will become less fierce with the weeks, months, years...

    But I'll always will have to be on my guard what smoking's concerned.

  • Domien ....Yes you nailed it in a certain sense but....We will always be smokers who choose not to smoke anymore.

    (Certainly for us 20 to 40 year pack or 2 a day addicts)

    I believe the fight never ends because we will soon forget all the bad things about smoking but will always remember that last nice one we had......

    We must escape the enslavement and take control of our life's and make our own happiness ....

  • Hi Domien. Yes, that feeling is quite normal. Around the 2-3 week mark some people stop and think: Right, I've done ok up to this point, but now forever stretches before me. Is this really for good? They can then panic.

    It is best to continue taking it one day at a time. Keep on ticking off those milestones. After a few weeks you'll find you won't be thinking about smoking as much and may start counting it in weeks rather than days. It is important to remember to keep vigilant even at this stage, because we are effectively recovering 'nicoholics', and can't afford to take any chances, such as 'just one won't hurt'.

    When I started this quit I reserved the right to smoke so as to not make it too scary and to limit the feeling of prohibition. This might not be the right position for everyone, but maybe I don't like being told what to do, but prefer to feel it is my own decision, so I adopted this position. I did have one or two puffs a few weeks in, and it tasted like someone had emptied an ashtray into my mouth. I resisted further puffs.

    Your mind will try and find ways of tricking you into smoking again: One won't hurt; this is a cigar not a cigarette, so it doesn't count, even if I inhale; I'll just buy a pack of 10 - they will last for ages (no they won't). The primitive part of the mind that enjoys smoking tends to judge something safe if there are no immediate negative consequences - it can't foresee future problems, such as illness, if it doesn't immediately experience them. I suppose this is the pleasure/pain response. It is up to the rational part to make this valued judgement, but since this involves logic and restraint rather than sating a desire, its message doesn't always seem so powerful. The 'pleasure' of smoking is the relief in satisfying an unnatural addiction. You tend to remember the pleasure part of this process (the feeding of the addiction) rather than the unpleasant part (the withdrawal that led to it).

    After 30 years it will take a while for this to be the new normal, but it will before too long. You have done very well to reach this far. A few weeks /months in a dental hygenists appointment for a clean is almost a rite of passage!

    Hope this helps.

  • Your doing very well Domien !!! Just stay with it!! Looking for the finish line or 'forever' can be quite daunting – so don't!! Just stop that thinking and take it in small palatable bites , day by day, hour by hour - what ever it takes to make it seem more doable:) Then you'll be able to manage it!!!

    Hercu is right, the heart tells us want we want to do and that is to quit! The problem comes from the brain, it wants things back to the way they were and demands nicotine to maintain our norm we were used to get from smoking. But this will fade.....really it will :) This is one time you just have to ignore your brain and work from your heart – things will turn, just give it a chance, by taking one step at a time and you will succeed!!!

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