I don't even know how that happened. I was going to write a quick blog entry and call it Turkey Time -- but somehow managed to name my entire Blog Turkey Time. So, whatever, there it is.
Before I start, I better run and get a fresh coffee.
Back. So... in conjunction with my quit, I've focused on quite a bit of reading & research. So much so that I've fallen behind on a lot of my normal, daily responsibilities. It's almost an obsession.
I've found that with just about every single sub-topic regarding smoking cessation, you can locate supporting articles or studies, blogs or opinions, etc -- to support your personal belief. I've concluded that there is, indeed, one "right way": Not smoking.
I read a post last night regarding how people were successful in their quit prior to having access to message forums. Even with the easy access we have today, support groups or online forums may not be the best idea for all people. I think I fall into this category, at least to a degree. I was browsing this article this morning and when it got to the part about determining the best quit method for yourself, this was one of the questions:
Would it help me if I consulted with my doctor or joined a smoking cessation group? Would group pressure and competition help me change? Or would I dig in my heels and rebel?
Is there one best way to quit smoking? (This is the article link, for reference)
I've got extremely limited experience and exposure to quit smoking online communities. I mean, super limited. It did not go down as I had anticipated it would; what I'd envisioned and what actually happened = 2 different things.
It was noted in the article I posted here that people tend to believe that what worked for them is the best method. It makes sense, but I think we have to be very careful holding on too deeply to that belief because in the end, the goal is the same = not smoking. From what I have seen, most studies will show "cold turkey" as the method with the highest success rate, but does that mean it's the only way or even the "best way"? Or simply the best way for those who found success with it? The best way for those who were successful with something else would argue their support for whatever it was they found success with.
The headline in my local paper proclaimed, “Going cold turkey is best, study says.” But is it?
Notice that, regardless of method, many people were able to quit successfully in each experimental group. The “cold turkeys” just had a better percentage of success. If my calculator and my math reasoning are correct, after six months about 52 people in the “gradual” group had quit, and about 76 of the cold turkey group had quit. Yes, the “cold turkeys” won, but 52 “warm turkey” quitters is still a substantial number.
Sooo... back to whether or not online support communities would be a helpful addition to your personal quit method? For a lot of people it is a resounding *absolutely*, but for other people, it seems to be somewhat less helpful. If a person can immerse themselves in the vibe of the community, I think it's a positive & crucial ingredient that aids in the success of the quit.
On the other side of the coin, If you find yourself in the position where you're spending more time defending your quit than you are experiencing support in it, the results are not as positive and may end up being more counter-productive inside of your quit effort than anything else.
So, that's where I'm standing right now. At the early stages of my quit, surrounded by all sorts of different turkeys, some cold, some warm, some weaned off smokes, some vaped as their nicotine step-down, some used patches, some used gum, some used chantix, some tried zyban, some got up every morning and said "Nope", some taped a motivational quote to their bathroom mirror, some wore a locket with a picture of a loved one they lost to smoking, some put their saved money into a jar, some went to the gym, took a walk, some ate some candy or chocolate, some chewed a toothpick or straw, some spent a lot of time researching, some did not, some wanted to discuss their feelings, some did not, some read a great book, some did not -- everyone did what they believed was most beneficial to their quit.
As for myself, I feel good. I'm proud of myself that I haven't smoked a cigarette since October 16th. I'm comfortable & confident with my choice to use a vapor to step-down my nicotine levels. It's ok if someone else doesn't recognize it as an effective quitting tool, it's not my job or my place to try and convince them otherwise, rather it is my job to do what is working the best for me. If I'm going to be a member of an online support community, then to me that means I agree to offer support when and where I can. It's not my responsibility to pick the best quit method for someone else. I don't get to decide what should motivate them.
This is the part where I "dig my heels in and rebel"... I spent way, way too much time and energy trying to convince other people that I was ok. I was offended at being called "special snowflake", or being told my children were simply not motivation enough, how I "was doomed to fail" because I'd honestly admitted that I'd enjoyed smoking. Was called a junkie, told how I needed to have the one specific mindset because it's the "only way" -- which really just brings me back to the post I read last night.... how were people successful prior to support communities? The answer is that they each did what worked the best for themselves, individually. They clutched onto their personal determination to leave smoking behind and they did so by utilizing whatever they felt was the best personal motivation.
I enjoy being able to relate with others about the commonalities of what we're experiencing. That's what draws me to the desire to participate in an online community. It brings me some comfort to see other people's success stories, to hear all sorts of ideas about what they did when confronted with early craves or withdrawals. I enjoy hearing what motivates other people.. doesn't mean the same things motivate me, but I still like hearing it. What makes it all the best for me is being able to be exposed to the diversity -- that different things are successful for different people and all that truly matters is that we're quitting smoking here. That's what we're doing, for whatever reason and however we choose to get there -- we're putting cigarettes down.
We don't "need" online support communities, obviously... people quit long before they existed, but it's definitely a nice option. Being able to have that kind of connection.