New Pathways Part 7

So, we've established some irrefutable truths in this journey:

1.  90% to even 100% of smokers, from a cognitive perspective, at some stage don't want to be.  That includes those who don't want to quit but wish they had never started.

2. Nicotine has only a minor role to play in the overall battle.  If it were ALL about nicotine addiction, we would all have gotten by with no more need than 5-6 cigarettes a day to satisfy our dwindling nicotine reserves, so why 20+ per day.

3.  Our logical, conscious thoughts, from our cortex have no trouble accommodating the evidence that smoking is bad for our health, finances & general way of life, though our instincts & intuitive reactions can present an irresistible argument to counter that logic.  If you have any doubt, look at the high representation of medical professionals (both physical & mental health) who are slaves to the weed despite their knowledge & professional experiences.

4.  Our subconscious has been hard-wired through years of repetition to  regard smoking as a panacea for all ills.  I'm bored, smoke...I'm sad, smoke...I'm hungry, smoke....I'm depressed, smoke.... I'm anxious or nervous,smoke....etc,etc,etc. What an incredibly versatile cure for all that ails you. How on earth can "never have smoked" folk cope with life?

5. Those simplistic fools (I say that with both envy & admiration) whose strategy for quitting is 1. Stop! 2. Never start again, seem to have the highest rate of permanent abstention.

6. Psychological issues need to be managed but smoking is rather a symptom than cause of these problems.  We just need to rewire our brains to develop new pathways to cope with adversity. Pathways that are not destructive & delusional.

7.  Instinctive & learned neural pathways to deal with adverse circumstances have been established & reinforced for many, many years of repetition, so it would be naive to presume we can change them in a matter of months,...& it will NEVER happen whilst ever we continue to reinforce them.

8. Those of us who have depression or other psychological issues have a much bigger mountain to climb, but where's the glory in scaling some piddling little hill that everyone else has climbed.  The higher the mountain, the more kudos when we succeed. Winners are grinners & I hope every single person who reads this has a huge smile on their dial right now

20 Replies

  • :). I sure did roneo, I have really enjoyed reading each episode :) :)

  • 😃😃😃😃 yep lovin it are grinners and you my friend are most definitely a winner 👍💋

  • Thanks Briarwood & Glolin. A big dose of oxycotin back at you both. Xxxx

  • I meant oxytocin

  • I have never so much wanted to be a simplistic fool. Day 3 now of no nicotine and its not too bad , but having not put a cigarette ( or ecig) to my lips for 3 months, I find myself thinking about them more and more.

  • Hey Jim, did you ever see Rocky 3? After avoiding Clubber Lang's big hits for a few rounds ole Rocky took some of his best shots & kept taunting him with "you ain't so bad, you ain't so bad". Rather than trying to suppress the thoughts, meet them head on. Feel the discomfort (that's all it is) & tell yourself, "you ain't so bad". I assure you that what you're experiencing will be over in 1-2 weeks tops & the frequency will be further & further apart. 3 months is great & you'll handle a couple more weeks standing on your head. Just embrace that persistent little voice, smile to yourself & say "is that the best you can do".

  • Thanks Roneo well I have struggled all day. May have been easier to cease on Sunday as work keeps me busy. Call it fate but I went to chemist to see what NRT I could get for standby and they had reduced their stripts to £1. Just had half of one and am now monitoring my reaction / feelings.

    Urge to actually smoke is almost negligible

  • Ok about half an hour later, the empty feeling has gone. I seem to need that little top up. Don't know if my anxious nature is part of the trigger. I still feel anxious but in a different slightly better way, sorry very vague I know. Think I'll keep going for a few days again and then try ceasing again. Can't believe I thought id cracked it, almost 3 days with no nicotine.

    But I have not smoked NOPE and the desire is not there. All I have to do is , as you so put it so well, address those pathways 😊

  • As you're aware Jim,I'm a "cold turkey" advocate & prefer to purge myself of all nicotine from the outset. That having been said, it comes down to WHATEVER IT TAKES. You're streets ahead of me at present, even if you were to feel the need to continue with the NRTs for the rest of your life.

    Just be aware though, that when removing nicotine altogether, your body is deplete of nicotine by day 3 & that's when the discomfort really sets in. It can continue for 1-2 weeks (it varies not only from person to person, it has been different for me each time I have stopped)

    I wouldn't encourage you to adopt the on again/off again approach because each time you put a patch on, you go back to square one in purging it from your system. Even small infrequent doses of nicotine will maintain nicotine addiction. You're not smoking & that's the main thing, but if you want to beat the nicotine you just have to decide you'll ride it out for a couple of weeks & do "a Rocky".

  • Hi again Jim,

    After responding to your post I was reminded of this unforgettable scene from Monty Python.

    ▶ 4:35

    When you feel you're ready to tackle the nicotine again BE the black knight. When ole nic strikes a blow, it's just a scratch, a flesh wound. Like Arthur, nicotine will soon rack off.

  • Haha brilliant, I've been out with my chainsaw today as well! You like your film references. Sometimes I feel like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

    I'm going to try again in a few days, if I fail I may see the doctor about going back onto citalopram. I noticed the empty feeling is very similar to a general anxiety I suffer from. Will be interesting to see if it stops that feeling.

    Roneo, for me there is a definite nicotine addiction that is way above the desire to smoke, or need for the other chemicals.

  • I have nothing to contribute but a recognition of some fine work, understanding and sharing of it.

    @Roneo, what have you found to "build new pathways"?

  • G'day David,

    One thing I have concluded is that I already have health pathways & practices to stimulate dopamine, serotonin & endorphins. I've added a couple of new strategies that I can employ several times a day as required to open some fresh pathways. The plan is to reinforce them daily over the next 6 weeks to embed them.

    I have come to recognise that the primary source of my depression is mistrust. I think I recently said on here that my mantra is "trust no-one & 90% of the time you'll be right". As uncannily reliable I have found that to be, it does little to manage depression & reduce cortisol levels. I finished on the wrong end of 2 long term relationships & haven't been too enthused about jumping into another. In the absence of pathways to stimulate oxytocin, this remains a potential stumbling block. I'm wondering if the issue is more about control. I know I tend to be somewhat of a "glass half empty" type person, & feeling ripped off by whoever & being powerless to do anything about it is demoralising, depressing & this raises cortisol levels. Unfortunately, there will always be untrustworthy people in our lives. It might be health insurance or car insurance companies, governments, petrol companies, utility companies, even supermarkets who will screw you whenever they can get away with it. Expecting the worst from them & being vindicated may give a small measure of satisfaction, but does little to keep the black dog at bay. The key may be how I consciously process these "betrayals" rather than intuitive learned behaviours in the subconscious. Stimulating more oxytocin would improve things but I'm not sure how to go about it. Right now I'm dealing with the early stage of a new quit attempt & my head isn't all that clear. I'll continue searching, analysing & planning & see how things go.

  • Hoping your quit Is going well! 😃

  • Going well thanks Butt out. Having successfully negotiated the early stages of quitting on several occasions, I'm well prepared for the adverse side effects & symptoms. The challenge is, as you have also found, BEING a non smoker rather than an ex smoker. Ex smokers are one step away from relapsing whereas non smokers have filled the void that was once the space in life occupied by smoking. I certainly don't want to have to apply stubborn resistance & self discipline to combat the urge to smoke for the remainder of my life.

  • Glad to hear! I didn't notice you replied and I was a little worried that you got lost as I didn't see any recent posts by you....Happy you are keeping the quit ;) These sites can be hard to navigate on a phone and when you are still unfamiliar with it.

  • Yeah, Jillygirl's post rocked me back onto my heels a bit so I needed to take a break from the daily postings. I'm having to deal with the usual early symptoms of a newly attempted quit. Isn't it amazing how much we don't want to be smokers when we're smoking & how much we want to smoke when we quit.

  • That is so true, very true!!!

    Happy to hear you are still around KTQ

  • Thanks for this post.This but a symptom has been with me all afternoon.Changing pathways,responses will never happen whilst we continue to reinforce them!Great msg.Persistance & patience with a dash of humility. Go well,iris

  • Thanks Roneo😊

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