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Old 07-06-2009, 08:07 PM   #21
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There really is on ly one successful way of quitting smoking. Stop smoking.

OK now that the cheeky part is out of the way, I can assure you that quitting smoking is easy I did it many times. Though the last time it was successful.

The situation that last time was: I was going to work, already about 15 minutes late out the door. The drive typically was 30 minutes. About 10 minute into the drive, I realized that I had forgotten my cigs. So I make a U turn, head back home. Once home get my partial pack plus a full one. Start driving to work again. No idea how late I am at this point and did not really care.

Had a few cigs along the way, then finished the partial pack by noon. At the end of the day, without making up for being late headed home. Had a few more.

The last mile before my house I came to the full realization of the absurdity of it all. After parking the car, walked over to the trash can, threw in tha partial pack, went inside, got the remaining 4 or 5 packs took them to the trash bin and added them to the previously dumped partial pack.

That was about 15 years ago. Never had a craving or another cigarette since. That was cold turkey, without any pain.

I guess the moral of the story is that when you are ready, the switch, wherever is located in your brain is thrown, and you are done..

I also am not and never was judgmental of others smoking, nor do I care if the do. As long as they don't blow smoke in my face, I have no need to adjust their attitude.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:04 PM   #22
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Is99, I think you are unusual in not having a craving after quitting. But even for us that have painful cravings, and even if we were not "ready," we can quit. That's the moral of my story.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:26 PM   #23
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A little off the topic, but I wonder about the concept of being "ready" or "not ready" to quit something. I question its validity. I suppose one could say you are ready if you are successful, but that is a bit too after the fact. Ready or not, quit. Use what you need to use to help. Cutting down if it works for you. Nicotine substitutes. Wellbutrin. Whatever.
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Is99, I think you are unusual in not having a craving after quitting. But even for us that have painful cravings, and even if we were not "ready," we can quit. That's the moral of my story.
By the way, IIRC Wellbutrin is used in the submarine force as an anti-depressant. Is that the same Wellbutrin we're talking about here? How does that work-- your body's going through addiction withdrawal and you just don't care, or you're happy about it?

I think the "ready" or "not ready" issue isn't so much about quitting as it is about staying quitted.

As AA & NA have shown time & again, recidivism is darn near 100% if the subject hasn't hit rock bottom, burned out, and become ready to quit. Hopefully they're still alive & able enough to do something about it.

Oprah has lost her dozens of pounds dozens of times. Today she admits that she's given up because she's admitted that she's not ready to give it up. If a b-b-b-BILLIONAIRE can't figure out how to keep off the weight then there's probably some other factor that's independent of "cold turkey" and "weaning off" and "just do it". We could call it... "self discipline". Yeah, that's it.

My parents quit smoking dozens of times for various reasons but they weren't ready. In fact when my mother's breast cancer metastasized and she got "the diagnosis", she started smoking again. Yet it was that same event in her life that caused my father to quit and to stay quit.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:27 AM   #24
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Is99, I think you are unusual in not having a craving after quitting. But even for us that have painful cravings, and even if we were not "ready," we can quit. That's the moral of my story.
Perhaps I should have added a few smilies after the part where I wrote ........I did it many times (quit that is).at least a half dozen times, I never counted.

That last time it was not a conscious decision to quit.

It was more along the marvel of the sublime absurdity of turning around to go home to get cigs, already being late for w*rk, along the way having passed at least three places selling the stuff. Maybe not buying them along the way was just a manifestation of a genuine cheapskate.

I also am not telling anyone to do it my my way. YMMV. Maybe need a new acronym YMWV (your mileage will vary)? It was to show what happened in my case that resulted in finally quitting. Moral of the story aside. Maybe that one needed a cartoon character as well.

Hoping that the various stories will help the OP find a way/reason to quit.

DW quit a week before this past Christmas, after having part of her lung removed, along with a cancerous nodule. Fortunately it was stage 1A. Not many have that luck.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:33 AM   #25
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. . . By the way, IIRC Wellbutrin is used in the submarine force as an anti-depressant. Is that the same Wellbutrin we're talking about here? How does that work-- your body's going through addiction withdrawal and you just don't care, or you're happy about i?

I think the "ready" or "not ready" issue isn't so much about quitting as it is about staying quitted.

As AA & NA have shown time & again, recidivism is darn near 100% if the subject hasn't hit rock bottom, burned out, and become ready to quit. Hopefully they're still alive & able enough to do something about it.
I don't know. I just have a bit of a hard time with a concept like "ready" that is only known after the fact and maybe a little too mystical for me. Actually, I started thinking about this when thinking about AA and the concept of hitting "rock bottom." I question that concept too. So long time alcoholics on the street never hit bottom? They are past bottom. Other people realize they are so good at drinking and successfully stop on their own. Is that their bottom? Oops, they started drinking 5 years later, did they not hit bottom the first time? I would rather think about motivation and what motivates different people and see if there is a way to manufacture motivation in yourself when you are not really "feeling it." I think that we have a long way to go on figuring out impulse control, addiction, and motivation and I think that there are huge individual differences. Due to illness I had a motivation to quit smoking, but I wasn't really "ready," I didn't want to quit but I did anyway. I tried to approach it scientifically. When do I smoke? After I eat? Then I better get up and do something else quickly. Etc. The success after a few weeks was motivating for me, it was hard enough that I did not want to go through it again. Your father saw death and was motivated. Others see death and give up. Why the difference?

I guess all I am saying is that we should look to see if we can manufacture "ready" rather than waiting for a magical moment called "ready."
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:38 AM   #26
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Perhaps I should have added a few smilies after the part where I wrote ........I did it many times (quit that is).at least a half dozen times, I never counted.

That last time it was not a conscious decision to quit.

It was more along the marvel of the sublime absurdity of turning around to go home to get cigs, already being late for w*rk, along the way having passed at least three places selling the stuff. Maybe not buying them along the way was just a manifestation of a genuine cheapskate.

I also am not telling anyone to do it my my way. YMMV. Maybe need a new acronym YMWV (your mileage will vary)? It was to show what happened in my case that resulted in finally quitting. Moral of the story aside. Maybe that one needed a cartoon character as well.

Hoping that the various stories will help the OP find a way/reason to quit.

DW quit a week before this past Christmas, after having part of her lung removed, along with a cancerous nodule. Fortunately it was stage 1A. Not many have that luck.
Hope you wife is doing fine!

I wish we could bottle "ah ha" moments.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:39 AM   #27
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Yes, Nords - same drug, bupropion. I don't prescribe it - the risk-to-benefit tradeoff was too marginal and better options exist.

But the prospect of an armed nuclear sub run by a crew half-gorked on bupropion raises interesting images.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:41 AM   #28
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Rich, what are the better options?
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:49 AM   #29
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Varenicline, mostly.

Behavioral therapy is also somewhat effective but only for the motivated; if you can engage your social support network success is higher. Nicotine has its ups and downs but clearly helps some people.

Unfortunately, the relapse rate with any treatment is high. But tobacco is really, really toxic stuff. Sometimes I think the best cure would be for someone to make rounds with me at the cancer hospital where I work.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:09 AM   #30
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I finally quit in 1977 - on my seventh try! I had tried hypnotism, gradually tapering, etc,etc,. I finally succeeded cold turkey. My advice is - don't give up. Even if you failed before, keep trying. Eventually you will be successful.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:24 AM   #31
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If I smoked now in my 50s I would find the cancer rounds motivating. But in my 20s? I don't know. Those are the "it won't happen to me" years (or, I will quit in a few years so I'll be fine). Rationalization is a powerful anti-motivator.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:39 AM   #32
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Re: Ready. I know there is a 12-step program mantra of "fake it til you make it" re being ready, motivated, committed, whatever--behave as if you are and pretty soon you find yourself ready, motivated, committed. So perhaps one just needs to be ready to be ready.

I quit smoking on the first try as a new year's resolution in my midtwenties; although I was smoking nonstop during every waking moment, society didn't really frown on smoking yet and I didn't have any real reason to quit. It was incredibly hard, but after three weeks of replacement compulsive oral behaviors (gum, mints, carrots, beverages), I was done.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:08 AM   #33
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I like the mantra of "fake it until you make it." It describes well what I tried to do.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:11 AM   #34
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I think quitting was one of the hardest things I ever did. I think I've mentioned before that the forums on QuitNet were really my savior. Being able to share "the pain" with others was helpful. Take a look. I just went the "free" route, though they have a version where you can actually communicate with professionals. My favorite "crutch" was cinnamon sticks.

Keep the Quit.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:59 PM   #35
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You can try all the pills,patches, gums and other remedies but its all in your head and until you make the mental change to be a non smoker you'll have a hard time beating the addiction. A good book that works on the mental aspect of giving it up is Allen Carr Worldwide
Good luck and let us know how it went.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:52 AM   #36
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The trick to quitting smoking is understanding that you can not ever smoke another cigarette. Not one. Not a puff. I quit (for good) 30 years ago. Cigarettes still appeal to me; still smell good, but I would be up to a pack a day within two weeks of "just this one".
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:01 PM   #37
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I don't know. I just have a bit of a hard time with a concept like "ready" that is only known after the fact and maybe a little too mystical for me. Actually, I started thinking about this when thinking about AA and the concept of hitting "rock bottom." I question that concept too. So long time alcoholics on the street never hit bottom? They are past bottom. Other people realize they are so good at drinking and successfully stop on their own. Is that their bottom? Oops, they started drinking 5 years later, did they not hit bottom the first time?
I don't have any personal experience, just what I've seen in the military and a local homeless shelter, but I would say that a street alcoholic has not yet hit bottom. They're just sacrificing every other life priority for the sake of the addiction. And I guess that it's hard to sort out the street person's issues with depression, mental illness, and other complications. But Hawaii's environment makes it possible for street people to be that way for years.

I've heard hair-raising stories from 25-year E-9s who believed in the "rock bottom" concept. They took breaks from time to time but managed to go even deeper before a health or career or family crisis finally got their attention.

Had a shipmate who knew he was-- and was later diagnosed as-- physically addicted to alcohol. He did not drink between patrols because his spouse had threatened to take the kids and leave him. He did not drink during pre-patrol upkeeps because he never gave himself the spare time to get off the boat and go look for trouble. But he'd drink whenever he thought he could get away with it.

He had chosen ballistic-missile submarine duty because back in the 1980s boomers hardly ever had liberty ports (the Blue & Gold crews rotated as fast as they could and got back out to sea). But a couple years into our tour together we ended up in Fort Lauderdale on a liberty call after a torpedo shoot. You could walk down the pier to the bar, which he did. The inevitable incident* ended his career and he was on antabuse for a number of years. After attending in-patient treatment he said that he never really had a reason to quit and so never tried to. He just avoided the environment whenever possible. But by the time the Navy was done with him he had an externally-imposed reason to quit.

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I would rather think about motivation and what motivates different people and see if there is a way to manufacture motivation in yourself when you are not really "feeling it." I think that we have a long way to go on figuring out impulse control, addiction, and motivation and I think that there are huge individual differences. Due to illness I had a motivation to quit smoking, but I wasn't really "ready," I didn't want to quit but I did anyway. I tried to approach it scientifically. When do I smoke? After I eat? Then I better get up and do something else quickly. Etc. The success after a few weeks was motivating for me, it was hard enough that I did not want to go through it again. Your father saw death and was motivated. Others see death and give up. Why the difference?
I guess all I am saying is that we should look to see if we can manufacture "ready" rather than waiting for a magical moment called "ready."
Agreed. But if someone says up front that they're not ready, then it's difficult to imagine how they're going to manufacture it… I'd say it's more often externally imposed than internally.

* He was supervising a reactor startup while intoxicated. "Luckily" he was only under instruction, but it took a while for his intoxicated condition to become apparent. After being dismissed from the startup he mistook an open hatch for a urinal, and, well, it got ugly.

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But the prospect of an armed nuclear sub run by a crew half-gorked on bupropion raises interesting images.
Heh, the Wellbutrin was just entry-level for some of these guys.

I used to see a lot of the limited-duty and medical-hold submariners at training commands. They were usually kicked off sea duty for issues that were eased by antidepressants and so they ended up in some sort of medical limbo for months. They were very happy to be teaching in a classroom or trainer and very useful to an undermanned shore staff.

Spoke with a retired shipmate a couple years ago who, in his 50s, had been prescribed Wellbutrin for smoking cessation and realized that he'd been chronically depressed his entire life.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:59 AM   #38
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Like a lot of smokers, I quit dozens of times! My final battle was guided by my HMO...Figure exactly where you are at today...how much you smoke per day and what amount of nicotine is in each cigarette. Smoke away for a week at this level. The next week buy a cigarette with less nicotine and smoke on at the same level. Repeat each week, lowering the nicotine level each time. In a month you will find your nicotine level demand to be way down and your satisfaction when you light up to be very low....those extra extra light cigarettes are useless....like sucking warm air....

Then it is time to just go the "cold turkey" path but the path is not so cold nor painful. The taste of the cigarette you gave up is pure cr@p and your system urges are a lot lower. If you happen to cheat, don't give up. You slipped. That does not mean anything. Resolve to return to a non-smoker status and fight on.

Worked for me.....12 years and counting.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:26 PM   #39
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Actually, I started thinking about this when thinking about AA and the concept of hitting "rock bottom." I question that concept too. ...
Interesting thought - and I'd bet there is something to it. We probably hear about somebody who kicked a habit only after hitting "rock bottom", and we take that to mean that that is the only way it can work. That's probably not the case, might even be the exception.


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I think that we have a long way to go on figuring out impulse control, addiction, and motivation and I think that there are huge individual differences.
There were some ScienceFriday segments on this a while back, fascinating stuff. I don't doubt that some people are much more wired toward addiction (of all varieties) than others.

I fortunately never developed the tobacco habit, but I did find out how powerful "substitution" can be. I drink lots of coffee, I don't care to give it up, but I decided I should be drinking more water. So I started pouring a half-glass of water with every cup of coffee. For two weeks, my rule was - finish the water before grabbing another cup of coffee. That was easy. After two weeks, I made it a full cup of water - easy. After four weeks, the rule was drink half the water *before* drinking the coffee, and then finally, a full glass of water before drinking the coffee. This was all very easy.

By the time I worked up to the full glass of water before each coffee, I found that when I woke up in the morning I was literally craving a glass of water, not the cup of coffee. I just *had* to have a nice, cool glass of water before I poured my first cup of coffee. I'm sure I could have modified this to limit my coffee intake, if that was my goal, but it wasn't.

Of course, nicotine is much more addictive than caffeine, but I was still kind of surprised at this, after most of my life craving coffee as soon as I got up it was odd to actually crave water.

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