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Still winning

Quit Date: 12th March 2014


Posted October 29, 2015 


It's been a while since I did a post as I don't ever want to take away from newer quits but I see a lot of triggers going around and some jumping off's. My way of speaking (writing) is to explain my experience and hopefully people can relate, or not and that's good if they can share their experience instead. Makes it much broader.  I also have no intention of saying in one paragraph what can be said in 20, I ramble  :D .


So a trigger is simply your brain remembering "hey, we used to smoke now". I recently bumped a post called the Executive assistant, it's a great read! That's such a powerful realization to know that it is simply a thought and in reality, we have many thoughts within a day, some good some not. So the fact that I and others ran scared of quitting or staying quit (relapse queens take a bow!) was mainly due to the fear that I would always feel that I was missing something - once I found this support I quickly realized the thoughts would fade and it was worth holding on for the peace of mind later. So yes, at times it was uncomfortable mentally, but I never physically hurt, on the contrary, I actually physically started healing, we all do. I still love the stats about recovery times. Only 72 hours to get nicotine out is so fabulous really when you think of it, simply years of stuffing it in there and all gone in 3 days! I digress though. 


It often took me by surprise when a smoking thought would take a hold of my brain, what we refer to as romancing the smoke. I did quickly learn that I could distract my brain quite easily though. if the trigger was simply a thought, another thought could replace it. If the trigger was simply remembering we would smoke here, then a new and healthier habit would soon get rid of the trigger or I could simply answer the thought with "we don't do that anymore". I heard it described as a tool box and I like that analogy. A toolbox of ways to outwit our own thoughts. In any other scenario this might sound like we have a screw loose (Jury's out on some of us!) but actually it's quite sane.  Get a plan of what you will do when you have your triggers and moving past it becomes easier. 


We berate ourselves when we're past the initial couple of weeks for still getting triggers. I wonder why we anticipate we should be over it so quickly? I've read powerful lines like quitting is a journey not an event, that makes sense. A change of season trigger is not nearly the same as week 1 unless you give it lots of head space, so don't do that. If you're finding yourself romancing, talk/post/pm someone, smoking is a lie and it never was the answer to any of life's problems.  Reading up and educating yourself on how addiction works means you start to realize it's all a choice. That's where the answer is on triggers for me. If I "choose" to throw myself off the quit train, I will only have to start again, today or years later with more damage, may as well "get er done" today. I see others who continue to smoke and kid themselves. I've seen that journey on family ahead of me and trust me, it doesn't bear thinking about and I choose not to dwell on others who can't get real about this.


So if ever a smoking thought flits through my mind now, it's easy to bat it away, like swatting a fly out of your face really. No it's nothing like the early thoughts. Actually I'll say that used to really worry me when 5 year veteran quitters said they still thought about smoking! Those people are abstaining, not quitting, there is a strong difference!  The reason I think is I embraced every trigger (holiday/seasonal/milestones) and faced it down. It wasn't always an elegant face down. I still feel like I missed a trick not buying shares in a tissue company! But the triggers do all get faced if you want to be free and it's perfectly reasonable to feel mentally on edge sometimes, non smokers get that! Non smokers have stress without smoking. They go drinking without smoking too, if they choose too.  


"Choice"...isn't life all about choices. Quitting smoking is a good choice. Talking about struggling is another great choice, use the support here. We're here by choice, to help those who want it.


So probably this whole post could have just been - Triggers are just thoughts of we could smoke here. but we don't smoke, so nope.


However my inane drivel is far more fun and has filled your day with love and light I'm sure  :wub:  :D .


Link to original post: https://www.quittrain.com/topic/6195-thoughts-on-triggers/



Edited by jillar

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Great post! 


I recall a post explaining triggers which I'll try to paraphrase in case it helps someone as much as it helped me.


There are 3 kinds of triggers - 


- Daily triggers.  These happen daily e.g. coffee, lunch, in the car driving to work, returning from work, etc.  When we quit smoking, these are the triggers that we tackle first and overcome within the first few days.  Having overcome these, we start to feel confident ...not realizing there are other triggers waiting to trip us.


- Occasional triggers.  As the name suggests, they happen occasionally e.g. vacation - drive, flight, visiting family or friends, social activities like bar, dance etc.  Generally, these are events that happen a few times a year but not daily.  These are dangerous because they surprise us just as we're feeling confident. If we're not prepared, we can lose the quit to these occasional triggers even after staying quit 3,4 or 6 months.


- Life event triggers.  These only happen a few times in our lives e.g. losing a job or a loved one or a break up.  Again, smoking doesn't help with anything but the trigger catches us at a moment when we are vulnerable and may not be acting rationally and can result in losing a quit.


For me, it helped to understand the concept ahead of time - that after overcoming the initial daily triggers, there will come other triggers and they will tend to catch you by surprise and unprepared.  A bit of thinking and preparing ahead of time helped so that when the time came, it was possible to fight and kill the trigger.  


It's all in the head after all and I had my own game that I played in the head to kill triggers.  I visualized hitting the trigger with a hammer and shouting "Die trigger die".  A couple of times I may have shouted aloud getting a few strange stares ... but it worked ... and that's all that matters.


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Loving to read, read, read.  Can't string a thought together....20 hours free. Yay .

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45 minutes ago, darcy said:

20 hours free. Yay .

That should be 20 HOURS FREE!!!! YAY!!! 🥳🙌🥳🙌🥳🙌

Stephen Colbert News Politics GIF
It’s these early hours that deserve the greatest rewards. You are doing great, @darcy

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3 hours ago, darcy said:

Can't string a thought together....

^^ Oh yes, this happened to me, too! Total tapioca brain for a while. It passed.

It’s great that you are approaching your 24-hr mark, @darcy. One hour at a time… those are hard won hours to be proud of, and they really can add up surprisingly fast. 

I got through many anxious and ambivalent early hours by reading a lot of the posts here (like you are), staying busy with small uncomplicated tasks, sipping ice cold diet root beer, and doing countertop pushups. Lots and lots of pushups. 

Each person’s strategy is different. Let us know what’s working for you? It will surely help someone else! (Plus posting often helps to strengthen your quit.)

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