Reset to Zero Monky

Following on from my near miss a week ago, circumstances continued to cause my mood to deteriorate & yesterday I crashed & burned. Just like previous occasions where I relapsed, I was long past the nicotine addiction & I wasn't "craving" a cigarette. I only wanted something/anything that would calm the turbulence I was feeling. Even though my logic kept saying buying cigarettes won't help, I felt instinctively driven to ease the torment with a cigarette.

I think my answers will come from Emjays post "Understanding the feel good chemicals within the brain". I only wish I had read this earlier.

I may need to break this down to a series of posts because it may become quite lengthy. For those like me who are/were more than 2 months free of nicotine in any form yet continue to struggle, as I have, this may be of some assistance. You may also benefit from Emjay's post as well as the presentation & book from the author Loretta Breuning. Please understand that what I'm posting is from a layman's perspective & judge for yourself whether it may apply to you.

18 Replies

  • Aww Ron, I do feel for you buddy :) :)

    That sure was a great article that Emjay posted on understanding the feel good chemicals and very easy to make sense of it without all the philosophical garbage.

    You cant change what has happened, but you can move forward :) :)

    All the very best and sending comforting huggs your way

  • Thanks Glolin, I think I'm over the worst of the blahs but now I have to confront the whole nicotine withdrawal phase again.

  • I hope you can get through it without much difficulty. You can do this again. Honestly, I am in absolute awe of how you quit drinking and smoking at the same time😀

    You are a champion ☺️😉

  • Did you have one or a packet or a total relapse?

  • It was more than 1 packet but less than a full on relapse. I got back off them pretty quickly & I'm coping well at the moment. I went to a hypnotherapist to see if I could overcome the long term desire to smoke. Only time will tell whether that is effective. There are far too many ex smokers still craving a cigarette months & even years after quitting & none of the quit methods adequately address this issue. The general consensus, including the medical profession is "beat nicotine addiction & you can succeed in quitting." If that were the case, no-one using NRT or ecigs would EVER have even the slightest urge to smoke. Nicotine will surely keep a smoker smoking, but after the first couple of weeks, it plays no part in impelling an ex smoker to relapse.

  • What would you say is the biggest draw back to smoking is it the physiological side of it

  • Some may say that nicotine addiction is the physiological side & the psychological side is the emotional dependence or habit. I believe there are physiological reasons ( neural pathways) which cause us to desire a cigarette when we're bored, depressed, anxious, needing to concentrate, looking for reward, repressing hunger, and these persist long after nicotine addiction has been dealt with. We have "programmed" our brain by many years of daily reinforcement to react to those feelings of want or need by reaching for a cigarette. The fact that cigarettes don't ACTUALLY do anything is the psychological trickery, but our brain's chemical reaction is very real. I'm currently in the process of "re-wiring" my brain to find other ways to react when that little voice in my subconscious screams "do something"!

  • That makes so much sense .. I had to read it twice.... How do you plan on retraining your brain??! I think that's such a valid point I may start there. As I don't seem to have much of the physical addiction. Well not as much as I thought xx

  • Much of my thought process has been influenced by a book on neural pathways called "Meet your happy chemicals" written by Loretta Breuning. You can get an e version quite cheaply. I have recently been to a hpynotherapist & addressed some of the issues which may trigger excess cortisol & have me grasping for a cigarette. I am a huge fan of Allen Carr's Easyway to Quit Smoking but I feel he dismisses the role hypnotherapy had in his success. I'm also engaging in a little cognitive behavioural therapy by disciplining myself to note down 3 good things each day that I have achieved or have been done to me or I have observed or heard. It must be every day for 6 weeks. Miss one & start again. I'm generally a glass half empty, cynical personality, yet after a couple of weeks of this exercise I am already beginning to see positives in otherwise negative situations. The less negative or cynical MY view of the world around me, the less I feel the need to reach for relief from anxiety, depression etc. Building new neural pathways is not easy as we age but it's achievable. As "big brained" mammals the reaction to threat doesn't have to be either "fight or flight". We can pause to assess whether the "threat" or bad feeling is real before we react.

  • I'm impressed as a cynic myself I get were your coming from ... Big brained mammal WERE MEANT TO BE we don't fight or flight we stand and smoke lol evolved .are we lol xxx

  • Its so infuriating, I have been where you are before. A real successful quit, everything going really well and the urge comes out of no where. All your reasoning and what you went through to give up , gets pushed to the back of your mind , locked in a cupboard. I recall giving up for about a year and feeling so good and healthy that being offered one cigarette seemed like nothing at all.

    The patches and gum have helped me this time and when that surge of " I really need one happens" I will kill the craving by taking extra. Most important thing is that I have stopped smoking.

    Keep going, look how well you did and don't think of the glitches.

    I have found this site so helpful being able to write openly and get feedback.


  • Hey Jim, most quit material suggests the greatest battle is in overcoming the nicotine addiction, but with nicotine out of your system in 3 days & withdrawal symptoms finished inside 3 weeks, it's difficult to to accept that the risk of relapsing can rear its ugly head months or years after stopping. What's more, I believe it isn't only about satisfying nicotine addiction, it's more about the physical act of smoking. Otherwise it would simply be a matter of changing how you absorb nicotine & do it for the rest of your life. No doubt nicotine has its role to play, but I suspect that years & years of reacting to certain situations by smoking & reinforcing that reaction 20 times every day makes it a deeply instinctive act.

  • Hi Roneo,

    if you are strugglng with the psychological aspects of smoking, perhaps hypnotherapy is a good route to take? Your conscious mind is the logical part of your mind, but it is the innerpart of the mind that drives the habit and is far more powerful that conscious thoughts.

    So, logically, you want to remain a non smoker; but you still have the habit up and running. So, as this part is trying to maintain your habit this results in a battle! Hypnotherapy works WITH that part - your subconscious mind, so ends any conflict.

    This may help explain-

    You are welcome to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Either way, good luck,

    warm wishes Linda

  • You are right Roneo, I have been there many times before i.e. no nicotine for months and then an urge, may be stress or may be that I'm with a group of smokers and think what the hell!! I'm sure that in a few years I will be with a smoker and having had a few beers will be offered one. My mantra is that I do not want this to control my life, I do not want health problems all for the sake of a 2 minutes burn and I do not want to go through the whole giving up routine over and over.

    I think it crossing each bridge as it comes, and having that mental file of why you are not a smoker.

    I'm so fed up of giving up and of worrying about my health for something that the vast majority of people never even think about or need. We got hooked! The Tabaco companies favourite type of customer.

    Imp determined that as each situation that may tempt me arises I will take a minute to stop and remember what I'm committing to, for a lungful of smoke and a 2 minute buzz and distraction from the situation that will still be there when I stub it out!


  • Absolutely. Don't forget to throw governments in with big tobacco. Regardless of the noise they make about health blah, blah, they have a vested interest in people smoking. In Australia, est. $10-12 billion pa in tobacco tax. Just like speed cameras are "supposed" to be about reducing road deaths but are clearly revenue raising. All the propaganda the govt feed us angers me & guess what, reignite the desire to smoke.

  • All the more reason for me to stop putting £8-£10 over the counter everyday!

    Nearly all of my friends and family are non smokers, how can they go day to day without smoking? I need to be where they are. Just got to break that thought process when you need one. That's all it is , a thought process.



  • Hi Jim,

    Your friends are non smokers, as it`s normal to not smoke. Remember ,like them, you weren`t born a smoker. It is something that you learnt to do. Then you smoked so often, that you taught yourself that it seemed normal.

    Keep reminding yourself of the benefits. Smoking is hard work and costly to maintain.

  • Deep breathing

    Taking a walk

    Try ecig with zero nicotine but by doing that you aren't serious about quiting but at least you don't consume nicotine.

    Don't consume any nicotine if any form of you quit for that long again.

    Instant monkey on your back with even a puff or chew of nicotine.

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