New Pathways Part 6 (I'm beginning to lose count)

I read recently that menthol cigarettes (which I smoked) are more addictive. I'm also left handed, & we lefties are right brain dominant which mean we respond more readily to intuition than logical thought. I calculate that gives me about a -10% chance of successfully quitting.  (I hope that put a smile on a few of your faces.)

I read an article last night by clinical psychologist, Dr Oliver James (who is also struggling to manage the desire to smoke) concerning CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

He was somewhat dismissive of its effectiveness as stand alone treatment.  As Shantimar has told us in her experience with institutionalised people, when under pressure they will revert to instinctive actions in lieu of learned behavioural changes from therapy.

I had 4 sessions of CBT earlier this year for my depression.  I could summarise it in a song "Don't worry, be happy". There are a million & one similar themes in songs over the ages. I'm sure if you all took 5 minutes you would come up with at least a dozen PMA (positive mental attitude) type songs.  And they really DO have a therapeutic benefit to your conscious thoughts.  Most of the time I find it easy to respond to the logical, cognitive cortex of my brain.  It's only during periods of pressure or depression that the instinctive side takes over & reaches for those well worn pathways for relief.

Orrrright! It is becoming apparent that a permanent solution won't be found in a box/packet, nor in quirky feel good sayings nor any such quick fix.  Changing those hard wired pathways is a loooong term project & won't happen overnight.  The best I can do is "moment by moment, hour by hour, one day at a time". Gee, isn't that our quit smoking mantra?  I have learnt that shutting the door on smoking & remaining steadfast & resolute works for a time, but managing levels of brain chemistry & developing alternative neural pathways for dealing with adversity are vital for permanent success in quitting

16 Replies

  • Good morning,

    With regards to the personality (left/right brain) Have you looked into MBTI? There is division on it but I have found it an interesting basis for discussing/understanding the mixes of personality traits which make us individual and as an extension understanding how to work with ourselves and others better. Others think it's mostly hogwash. Either way, worth some reading:

    The pathways built by smoking have been built up and reinforced over many years. Hence what makes them so powerful. However new ones can be built over a few weeks, then strengthened over time. One of the best ways to build new pathways is by physical activity, learning to move your body in a new/different way causes a lot of brain activity and encourages many new pathways to be built. I recently learned to ski and I believe it's done me a lot of good.

  • Hi David,

    Yes, I'm familiar with Myer Briggs & sadly, the misapplication of MBTI by employers assessing or training staff with their own "Readers Digest" version of the full assessment. (like guns in the hands of children). Too often left/right dominant , MBTI, the 4 temperaments, de Bono's 6 hats are all too frequently misused, misinterpreted & tend to "typecast" people in one distinct category or another rather than broadening people's understanding of what factors "may" influence their behaviour. I have seen determinations made of employees suitability to advance to middle management by a 2 hour abridged Myers Briggs assessment. I guess my lack of enthusiasm may be evident.

    I agree wholeheartedly with you comments about neural pathways, though I suspect it may be some years before new pathways become so ingrained that they dominate the old pathways.

  • The MBTI like everything else should be used in balance with all other information. There are a huge number of theory's on personality types and ways people work. Another I did an abbreviated test on was Belbin:

    I think that the MBTI is useful for definition of traits and a basis of thinking about "these people will work well together because of X in common, those people will compliment each other because of having X in common but Y differs". I have found it a useful method for aiding communication about how to work/communicate with people. It's easy to forget that some people at a personality level are best left to work in quiet where as others like hustle and bustle about them and thrive on it.

  • Quiting is like a breakup with a G or B friend. Or like a death of a friend or family.

    It's gonna take time for thee motors to fade away and they will eventually.

    Give it a few years!!!!!

  • Steve again

    You a lawyer representing the monster's right to exist in your life? Just a rib from the Yankee!

    Hang in there and try out this read:

    Here is my favorite site and this discusses your lungs healing:

    Joel has free videos and free PDF books.

    I read and watched everything he had on his site and then quit cold turkey like you did and I go back to his mantra when I need to.


  • G'day Steve,

    Yes Joel has some great stuff. I downloaded his book a couple of years ago. It's time I went back & re-read it. I'm not an advocate for smoking, nor an apologist. Just looking for solutions to get over that 4-5 month mark.

  • Me too! Four month mark and still think I miss it but truth is we are missing nothing.

    Hang in there!



  • I know the feeling Steve. You DO miss it, you just don't NEED it. Even after 20 years, I still miss being married, but then reality kicks in when I imagine what life would be like if I was still with that same person. We miss the illusion not the reality. Having relapsed, I can absolutely assure you that I felt no better for it.

  • If you are going to relapse then maybe try the cigs with no tobbaco or nicotine. You can get them on Amazon and here they are: Honeyrose Products Ltd.

    If I ever absolutely want to backslide then this is the only choice for me.

    Remember we need to never consume nicotine again, ever.

    Hang in there!

  • Hi Roneo,

    I am just wondering if you made it over the 4-5 month mark in past quits??? I have been struggling a lot since hitting the 4 month and was just wondering is this a common "mark" .

    I am obsessing as much now as the beginning of my quit.

    Good luck to you all 😃

  • I don't think 4 months is necessarily a benchmark, though many programs involving NRT & medications like Champix & Zyban finish at this point which may contribute to the number of relapses around this time. I quit from July/August 2013 to Feb 2014 (around 7 months) and it has been the circumstances around my relapse rather than timing. There is no doubt our resolve is stronger at the beginning & when that wanes we are more susceptible to caving in when times get tough, but hopefully, by that time, we have developed resources other than smoking to cope with life's trials & tribulations. That's my quest at the moment.

  • I intentionally quit during a difficult time in my life in hope that the curve balls that life throws might not trigger me and I would be able to cope and deal without smoking.

    I finished my 12 weeks of champix back in January. I just need to really change my life style and discover a new way of living 😃

  • I'm glad Champix isn't part of the equation. I admire your courage in quitting with so much going on around you. Not just your courage but the tremendous inroads you've made. Most quitters, myself included wait for the ideal circumstances before quitting. Then when things decline we're not adequately prepared to meet the challenge. I take my hat off to you. My latest resource in dealing with the change is Loretta Breuning's book, Meet Your Happy Chemicals which can be bought online & is quite inexpensive. It won't change your circumstances, but I believe it will give you the resources to rise above them.

  • Thank you 😊

  • Changing a lifestyle is very difficult, although it has happened for me (I met someone who had the sort of lifestyle I wanted and she said yes to letting me into it). I don't know where you are in your life and lifestyle. But sometimes a big shift in social activity can have a big impact on lifestyle.

    If you find the challenge is going to the pub, invite friends over for a meal instead. If you have the incentive to cook/try new things that's incentive to get fresh fruit and veg and make something healthier (I had a problem with eating to much meat and carbs previously), the new diet has done wonders for me (this is outside of smoking)

    I'm all for taking up new sports/activities which get you outside. As ever we are bound by time and that we never have enough. Don't make it too difficult but do think what can I swap out in exchange for going for a walk in that woodland that's 10 mins drive from me.

  • Thank You :)

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