Where is the finish line??

It is a fact for us to reach the finish line we must take the first step. So I took the first step almost 8 months ago to quit smoking and passed so many landmarks and milestones but did not reach the finish line.... or will a smoker that chooses not to smoke ever reach that mark where he/she can say I have completed the race and passed the finish line ??

I don’t know but what I know is that quitting is a very unsettling experience. I may feels like someone dropped a bomb on your life. With that you go through phases:

Pre-contemplation (Big word for me >>> Looked it up)

It is where a person like me is likely to be unaware or under-aware that he is addicted to nicotine and that it is a problem. We can describe this stage as being "in denial."

Contemplation

The second stage, is when a person becomes aware that a problem exists and begins to think seriously about overcoming the habit

Preparation

Preparation is the stage when a smoker prepares to make changes. Start to look at the advantages of patches, E-cigs, Champix or cold turkey.

Action

The fourth stage is the action stage; this stage involves the most apparent changes in behavior, and a strong commitment is required. A smoker who reaches the action stage believes he has the ability to change. He is likely to be open to offers of help and also to seek support from others.

Maintenance

This is the stage where I am now and need to work at preventing relapse and avoid situations that may entice me to start smoking again.

I have learned to successfully navigate the maintenance stage I must remain aware of my goals and that it will take time to let go of my old habitsand will resist temptation if the thought of smoking arises.

I have learned to know my enemy..... Nicotine is very powerful stuff. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and messes with your dopamine pathways. After years of smoking, those pathways get altered. In other words, smoking physically changes your brain.

I believe that one drag will reopen the still very raw pathways of nicotine and dopamine and send me right back into addiction and that believe helps me on my mission to remain smoke free.

19 Replies

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  • Interesting post Hercu and definitely got me thinking - in my opinion I don't think I will ever believe that I have reached the finish line, unfortunately I know of people that relapsed after 15 years smoke free which is frightening how powerful nicotine addiction is so I will always have my guard up and hope that I can resist it with whatever life throws at me and continue to adapt and learn from triggers and circumstances.

    I believe that as the years pass by it will become easier...thanks for sharing....:)

  • Rowens...Yes.. That is the only promise I am clinging on..."in the years coming it will become easier"... Looking forward to those days where smoking is just a distant memory although even already now there is weeks passing without remembering that I ever smoked and then there is that one moment you smell that freshly light tobacco and think ..."damn that smells good" !!! Luckily I never want to smoke again...!!

  • Couldn't agree more Hercu!

  • I like your post Hercu, also just in my own humble opinion, the big issue with the stop smoking process is actually the habit.

    The fact the all of us have hidden behind 3 mins of smoke and camouflaged all feelings with it.

    Stop smoking is about learn how to behave. How to be again without hiding behind the courtin of smoke.

    I know I don't want to smoke and most likely I won't actually because I do not romantise or fantasise how great it would be to have one.

    I'm just really glad that I finally got rid of the disgusting habit.

    I am still learning how to deal with a lot of situations where immediately I would think a cigarette would make it easier, but that is the recovering process.

    I will not give in, I did in the past...I will not now!

  • Thank you Mmaya...Agreed 100% ..the habit is the worst to get rid of....I was fairly lucky with less intense cravings but the reaching for that packet of cigarettes took a long time to stop...You nailed it this time Mmaya because you want it so much... !!

  • Your post describes the whole quit procedure so well Hercu.

    I too have reached what you call the maintenance stage and trained and programmed myself not to smoke. It hasn't been easy and I wouldn't like to have to do it again but there are still the occasional times when I feel I have to put quite a bit of effort into it so nicotine definitely does leave its mark on your brain - or it certainly has in my case.

    I know I never want to be a smoker again but I still don't trust myself to actually say that I know I'll never smoke again. Quitting is still a job in progress for me and having smoked for so many years it probably always will be - I do know that.

    Old habits do die hard so it's a case of being on our guard for as long as it takes.

  • Thank you Linda...Yup old habits is very difficult to get rid of...and the mark left on my brain is indisputable.. The rediscovery of new things is less now and the excitement is gone but not to smoke is such a wonderful life and I want this so much and that is why, in your words I will "be on guard as long as it takes"...Thank you

  • Excellent post Linda and couldn't have put it better,thank you!

  • ....all true but you know and I know one more relapse would be one too many, therefore we own this quit, we're done here!

    I agree with work in progress, I don't think I will ever be able to call myself an ex smoker.

    May I also congratulate you Linda!!! You are doing fantastic xxx

  • I've been quit for over 7½ years, smoking is now a distant memory and it has been for a long time. I'm not sure that there is a finish line I think you evolve into someone for whom smoking is just something you used to do

  • Thank you Nic.. It is what I thought...After smoking for 38 years it became a way of life and maybe there is no finish line and we as ex smokers will always need to be on guard...although as you said smoking might become a distant memory and I hope to evolve in that someone for whom smoking was just something I used to do.... Thank you for encouraging words Nic !!!

  • ...I would tend to agree to your comment and I sure hope that's the case.

    I'm kind of feeling like that already, I used to smoke, I don't anymore.

    My finish line is to be able to actually forget about it. I am tired of the constant thought on my head.

  • Thanks for comment NicFirth and very well put....thats exactly the way I feel and hope to feel for the rest of my life....

  • Hi Hercu, I agree with your stages. Are you using e-cigarettes / vaping or completely nicotine free? I thought the main reason people quit is because of the negative health affects of smoking not because of the nicotine addition?

    It is not strange how we seem to so passionately hate smoking before we quit however as soon as we actually stop cant seem to stop thinking about how much we loved it, even long after the nicotine has left our systems.

  • Libertine.. I stopped completely after 12 days on Champix and never took a draw ore wanted to smoke after that,

    Some way yes... I was warned to have COPD but the main reason for my quit was that I could feel how much smoking is hampering my active life.

    Yes, and that was my question if there is ever a time or point where we will be able to completely forget that we smoked. ????

  • ...I thought the main reason people quit is because of the negative health affects of smoking not because of the nicotine addition?...

    This is an interesting point Libertine, because in my case I can say very clearly this was not true. My main motivation for wanting to quit was because I was sick and tired of the slavery of nicotine addiction - in my smoking days, like many smokers, I believe I was in constant denial about the health impact of smoking; it was only after I quit and started to experience the physical benefits that I truly appreciated just how far smoking had dragged me down physically.

    This is why NRT - be it inhalers, patches, sprays, lozenges, or [nicotine containing] e-cigs, just never seemed to make any sense for me. It always seemed to me to be curing the symptom rather than the cause, like curing an alcoholic on a bottle of gin a day by giving them a bottle of vodka a day instead - great, gin problem solved :eek::eek:

    Of course it's tobacco which does the physical damage, but as long as you keep pumping nicotine into your body you are maintaining your addiction. and are at a very real risk of returning to smoking.

    It's well over three years since I last smoked or took nicotine in any form. I can still remember the 'bliss' of smoking - the pure pleasure of a deep drag on the first cigarette of the day - I can remember it as though it were yesterday. But it gets very easy to live with that memory, once you see that bliss for illusion that it is. The pleasure to be gained from a shot of nicotine, be it from tobacco or any of the other forms now on offer, is nothing more than the pleasure of relief from withdrawal - withdrawal caused by the last shot you gave yourself. Once you really 'get it' and understand that nicotine is the cause of the problem rather than the solution, then you really are on the way to winning the battle.

  • AnEgg.....Bull's-eye.....Hole in one....1000% correct.. Nicotine is the problem..The euphoria we experienced after that shot of nicotine was false and only damaged our bodies and dragged us down physically....

    "This is why NRT - be it inhalers, patches, sprays, lozenges, or [nicotine containing] e-cigs, just never seemed to make any sense for me. It always seemed to me to be curing the symptom rather than the cause, like curing an alcoholic on a bottle of gin a day by giving them a bottle of vodka a day instead - great, gin problem solved "

    Excellent said I loved it LOL

  • Excellent post and took the words right out of mouth (mind!) but just couldn't word as well as you An Egg and like Hercu 100% agree with:

    'This is why NRT - be it inhalers, patches, sprays, lozenges, or [nicotine containing] e-cigs, just never seemed to make any sense for me. It always seemed to me to be curing the symptom rather than the cause, like curing an alcoholic on a bottle of gin a day by giving them a bottle of vodka a day instead - great, gin problem solved'

  • 100% in agreement in here too.

    I think it's the nature of the addiction and part of the denial phase too. I did it before, I've used all those methods and I think I wasn't really addressing the seriousness of my addiction.

    If possible CT would be ideal, I wasn't able to do it, not strong enough, champix was just perfect.

    I believe the biggest problem isn't the nicotine, it's the habit.... Nicotine patches won't fix that.

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