...Science calls our lies denial. Denial is an unconscious defense mechanism - just below the surface - for resolving the emotional conflict and anxieties that naturally arise from living in a permanent state of self-destructive chemical bondage.
by John R. Polito
Nicotine Cessation Educator
Why a question mark behind "Nicodemon's Lies"? Because there is no Nicodemon. Because there are zero monsters or demons within us. It's just another lie, our lie, as dependency ignorance tried to make sense of continued smoking.
As teenagers, what most of us thought would be a brief rebellious experiment was quickly transformed into a powerful lifelong chemical addiction as regular nicotine feedings soon became mandatory. Research confirms that for many, it only took a couple of nicotine laden cigarettes before the shackles of slavery started to close.
What seemed innocent soon resulted in a brain wanting disorder. Without us realizing it, nicotine was activating, saturating, de-sensitizing and up-regulating dopamine pathway receptors, as our brain's priorities teaching circuitry was taken hostage. Two, five, eight nicotine fixes a day. When will enough be enough? "I'll quit tomorrow" or "I love smoking" became our cry! Welcome to the realities of true chemical dependency. A world built upon lies.
Science calls our lies denial. Denial is an unconscious defense mechanism - just below the surface - for resolving the emotional conflict and anxieties that naturally arise from living in a permanent state of self-destructive chemical bondage. Three primary areas of denial relied upon by nicotine addicts are dependency denial, cost denial and recovery denial. Truth is sacrificed for peace of mind, to remain hostage in an artificial world of "nicotine normal," or to justify relapse.
Most nicotine addicts we'll see today are fully insulated by a thick blanket of unconscious denial rationalizations, minimization's, fault projections, escapes, intellectualizations and delusions that hide the pain of captivity or create the illusion that the problem is somehow being solved.
The average addict musters the courage to say "no" to the wanting for that next fix about once every 2.5 years. It's then that roughly 1 in 20 will succeed in breaking free for an entire year. These horrible recovery statistics eventually result in half of us dying by our own hand, with male smokers losing an average of 13 years of life expectancy, while females lose 14. Our intentional self-destruction is undeniable evidence of the depths of denial. Denial insulates us from the extreme price paid with each and every puff - a little more of life itself. It doesn't have to be.
Welcome to WhyQuit, we've been waiting on you! Aside from this article, we've put together a vast array of quality recovery tools to aid you in becoming far smarter than your addiction is strong. They include mind-expanding motivational pages, the Net's largest collection of original quitting articles, quitting tip lists, two free quitting e-books ("Never Take Another Puff" and
"Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home"), more than 400 free video lessons, and highly focused group support at Turkeyville, our Facebook group.
According to the World Health Organization, the next three years will cost 15 million of our brother and sister addicts their lives. Once residing here on Easy Street with us, we hope you'll share what you've learned as failure to either self-discover or be taught the "Law of Addiction" is a horrible reason to die.
OUR LIE: My cigarettes are my friend.
- THE TRUTH: Friend or master? What kind of "friend" would deprive us of oxygen, take away our ability to smell, burn our clothes, destroy our teeth, harden our arteries, elevate our blood pressure, daily feed us 4,000+ chemical compounds that include arsenic, ammonia, acetone, formaldehyde, butane, massive doses of carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, methane, stearic acid, vinyl chloride, mercury, and lead, together with 81 known cancer causing agents (one of which is created when nicotine breaks down - NNK), before finally killing you with cancer, a stroke, a heart attack or emphysema? Imagine seeing your executioner as a friend. Imagine residing inside a mind that is so sick it is willing to trade 13 years of life for one chemical.
OUR LIE: I enjoy smoking.
- THE TRUTH: This may be the most deeply ingrained rationalization of all as it has a solid basis in the following flawed denial logic. "I don't do things that I don't like to do." "I smoke lots and lots of cigarettes." "Therefore, I must really enjoy smoking," instead of the correct conclusion, "therefore, I must really be chemically addicted to smoking nicotine." Did you enjoy being the unaddicted "you" or have you forgotten what it was like to live comfortably inside a mind that does not crave for nicotine? If you cannot remember what it was like being "you" then what basis do you have for honest comparison? If you truly enjoyed being addicted to nicotine then why are you here reading these words? Is it that you liked smoking or that you liked not having to experience what occurred when you didn't smoke - withdrawal? Studies have long ranked nicotine as a more addictive substance than either heroin or cocaine. In fact, cocaine's generally recognized addiction rate among regular users is 15% while nicotine's addiction rate of over 70% is at least five times as great. Imagine convincing your mind that it " likes " being addicted to the drug that addiction scientists now rank as the most addictive substance on all of planet earth. We are nicotine addicts . A pack a day smoker smokes 7,300 cigarettes each and every year. How many of your last 7,300 nicotine fixes did you really enjoy ? How many of the next 7,300 will bring tremendous joy to your life? Isn't it time to be honest?
OUR LIE: My spouse, close friend or family member smokes. I'm waiting for them to quit with me.
- THE TRUTH: Procrastination recovery denial makes the next puff of toxins easier to suck down. Nicotine tells this junkie that they cannot quit until their friend or loved one quits too as they're around their smoke, smells, cigarettes, breath and ashtrays, and quitting is thus impossible. It's pure denial and often both friends or loved ones use the other as their excuse to remain enslaved. How long will you continue to destroy your body while waiting for someone else to quit with you? A lifetime? If and when they do quit with you, what will you do if they relapse? Will "love" cause you to do the same? One of you needs to stand tall and lead the way. It's okay to have hope for a loved one but you must quit for "you" or it's doomed from the very start. Why make your freedom, health or life dependent upon another person's decision. As for being around smokers, it's unavoidable. Should we expect planet earth's 1.2 billion nicotine addicts to disappear once we commence recovery? Won't we still see them and smell their smoke at restaurants, as they stand around outside stores or even hospitals, or as they puff away in the car beside us? Will all the stores pull-down their cigarette displays or move them from arm's reach just because we're trying to reclaim our mind and life? Why live the lie that "I smoke for love!"
OUR LIE: It reduces my stress and helps calm me down.
- THE TRUTH: This stress buster rationalization is false. The body's pH balance is delicate. Nicotine is an alkaloid and stress an acid producing event. The more stressful the event, the quicker the body's remaining nicotine reserves are neutralized (in the same manner as pouring a baking soda solution on an acid covered car battery terminal). The stressed smoker is thrown into early chemical withdrawal adding additional anxiety to the underlying original stressful event. It's why the anxiety associated with a flat tire causes smokers to reach for a cigarette while the non-smoker reaches for a jack. The anxieties build until the doubly stressed smoker cries out "I NEED A CIGARETTE!" Within eight seconds of the first puff, the smoker's nicotine blood serum nicotine level rises and their withdrawal anxieties subside. The addict is left with the false impression that smoking cured the underlying stressful event when in fact the tire is still flat. All non-smokers experience stress too. The difference is that they don't add early nicotine withdrawal to it. In truth, stress nicotine depletion causes smokers to experience far more anxiety than non-smokers. In truth, it is much easier and calmer being the real "you" than it is living as a chemical slave.
OUR LIE: My friends smoke, I'll lose them.
- THE TRUTH: The nicotine smoker's mind has been conditioned to believe, through association, that smoking is central to their entire life. Telephone calls, computer time, work, meals, driving, talking, walking, stress, joy, sorrow, and even romance, may have developed a subconscious association with smoking. The truth is that none of these activities will be altered whatsoever by the absence of tobacco. The truth is that quitting smoking will not deprive you of even a single friend or loved one. The truth is that smoking is costing you new friends and possible relationships as fewer and fewer non-smokers are willing to tolerate being around the smell and the smoke. Can you blame them? With the exception of quitting, your current life doesn't need to change at all unless you want it to change. It might be nice to enlarge your circle of friends to include those who don't stand around the community ashtray, but that's totally up to you.
OUR LIE: It wakes me up and keeps me alert.
- THE TRUTH: This dependency rationalization uses a basic truth (nicotine releases adrenaline and a host of other hormones) to hide the fact that nicotine deprives us of the ability to enjoy prolonged periods of deep conscious relaxation. If always at the peak of alertness because we are addicted to and chemically dependent upon a central nervous system stimulant then when do we truly relax? This dependency rationalization also subverts and ignores a host of natural alertness techniques ranging from a simple deep breath to brief periods of stretching or moderately exhilarating activity. Instead of engaging life on life's terms, a powerful puff of nicotine starts a neurochemical chain-reaction that increases breathing rate, accelerates heart rate, constricts blood vessels, elevates blood pressure, causes the liver to release stored cholesterol into the blood stream, the adrenal gland to release glucocorticoids, the thyroid to release metabolism hormones, the hypothalamus to release corticotropin-releasing hormones, a decrease of progesterone levels in females and testosterone in males, digestive tract shut-down, a glucose release into the bloodstream followed by a boost in insulin to metabolize it, pupil dilation, and your blood to thicken. Inside those highly constricted and over-pressurized blood vessels, carbon monoxide eats away at their teflon like lining (endothelium) while nicotine amazingly vascularizes fat buildups, causing arteries to harden. More smokers die from circulatory disease each year than from lung cancer, yet denial kept almost all of them from wanting to know how or why. What goes up must come down. Once the hormones wear off and that drained feeling begins to arrive, a new puff of nicotine again whips every central nervous system neuron in a tired body like some overworked horse never allowed to rest. Alert, yes, but somewhere in that endless cycle between alert and exhausted resides the "real" you.
OUR LIE: My concentration is better.
- THE TRUTH: Vast quantities of carbon monoxide do NOT improve concentration. Although nicotine is a stimulant and does excite certain brain neurons, it also constricts all blood vessels. Feel how cold your fingers and toes get when deprived of blood flow while smoking. Imagine what's happening to the blood vessels in your brain. If nicotine results in a stroke we probably won't need to worry much about concentration. Fresh air and exercise are far healthier brain stimulants. When quitting it's important that you understand the role that nicotine played in regulating blood sugar as its absence may cause the temporary impairment of concentration and clear thinking. If you are experiencing any concentration problems be sure and drink plenty of fruit juice the first three days if your diet and health permit (cranberry is excellent), as it will help stabilize blood sugars. Also don't skip meals! Nicotine released stored fats into our blood and in a sense fed us with every puff, but not anymore. Don't eat more food each day, just spread your normal intake out more over your entire day so that you keep fuel in your stomach and your blood sugar level.
OUR LIE: It's something to do with my hands.
- THE TRUTH: So is playing with a loaded gun and they both have the same potential for harm. This weak addiction rationalization ignores that doodling with a pen, playing with coins, squeezing a ball or using strength grippers may be habit forming but are non-addictive. You might get ink on yourself, rich or strong wrists but your chances of serious injury or death are almost zero.
OUR LIE: My coffee won't be the same.
- THE TRUTH: More junkie thinking! Your coffee's flavor will remain identical. In fact, it may even taste better once your taste buds heal after years of being numbed, coated and poisoned. Your sense of smell may become so refined that you'll smell fresh coffee brewing more than one hundred feet away. Although you don't need to give up your coffee or any thing else except nicotine during recovery, be aware that nicotine somehow doubles the rate ( 203%) by which caffeine is metabolized by the body. As a new ex-smoker you may only need half as much caffeine in order to obtain the same effect. If you are a heavy caffeine user and find yourself experiencing increased anxiety during recovery, or encounter difficulty sleeping, try reducing your intake by roughly half.
OUR LIE: There's lots of time left to quit.
- THE TRUTH: This year tobacco will kill 5,000,000 humans. Roughly 1 in 4 smokers die in middle-age, each an average of 22.5 years early. In order for 22.5 to be the average, how many hundreds of thousands had to die even younger? Maybe you have plenty of time remaining and maybe not. Dying in your thirties or forties is a powerful price to pay for guessing wrong. The numbers above only reflect DEATH by tobacco. You may be lucky enough to be among the millions of nicotine smokers each year who survive and "only" have a heart attack, a stroke, a lung removed, go onto oxygen, or who receive news of permanent lung disease as they for every breath. Which puff, from which cigarette, in which pack, will pull the trigger that fires the gun? The odds of a male smoker dying from lung cancer are 22 times greater than for a non-smoker. His odds of dying from emphysema are ten times greater. How much longer will your luck hold?
OUR LIE: It's one of my few pleasures in life.
- THE TRUTH: Does that mean that it's better than the pleasure of having a throat to deliver fresh air and great food, two lungs with which to laugh, a healthy heart to feel love, or an undamaged mind which dreams of wonderful tomorrows? Pleasure from your addiction or pleasure in committing slow suicide at the hands of a mind that thinks it can only live with the aid of a powerful stimulant? What do they call someone who derives pleasure from self-inflicted harm or who slowly puts themselves to death? Pick your own label. Which nicotine fix out of the last 5,000 was the one that brought you tremendous pleasure? Which cigarette out of the next 5,000 may be the one that sparks permanent damage or disease, or that carries death's eternal flame? If bad news arrives tomorrow will "pleasure" cross your mind? As for Newport type "pleasure," isn't the real pleasure in satisfying our brain's wanting for more? Now imagine the pleasure of going 72 hours without nicotine, the pride of once again residing inside a nicotine-free body and mind!
OUR LIE: Dad just died, this isn't the time!
- THE TRUTH: Smoking won't bring dad back nor cure any other ill in life. Success in quitting during a period of high stress in life insures that future high stress situations will never again serve as the mind's excuse or justification for relapse. If you think about it, if we continue to live we will all see someone we love die. Such is the cycle of life. Sadly, serious illness, injury, or the death of a loved one are some of the most convincing relapse justifications, the best yet sickest excuses of all to get our drug back. I mean, who would dare question our drug use upon our mother's death? There is no better time to quit than before your next mandatory feeding. In fact, two recent studies found that unplanned quitting attempts are twice as likely to succeed as planned ones (picture quitting day anticipation anxieties slowly eating away and destroying resolve before quitting day ever arrives). Why allow finances, work, illness, education or relationships to serve as an excuse to remain an active addict? Once free, there is no legitimate justification for ever putting nicotine back into our body - none, zero, never!
OUR LIE: Lots of smokers live until ripe old age.
- THE TRUTH: They are much rarer than you think. Look around. If you do find old nicotine smokers almost all are in poor health or in advanced stages of smoking related diseases, many with oxygen. Laboring for every breath with lungs on their last leg, is that ripe enough for us? Nicotine smokers tend to think only in terms of dying from lung cancer. Tobacco kills in many ways. For example, circulatory disease caused by smoking kills more smokers each year than lung cancer. How long would George Burns have lived to be if he hadn't smoked cigars, 115, 125? Click here to look at the " truth ". What's wrong with dying healthy from natural causes!
OUR LIE: I get bored. It helps pass the time.
- THE TRUTH: Tobacco does not control any clock on earth but it does control you . For the pack a day nicotine smoker it takes about 30 minutes before their blood serum nicotine level drops to the point where their mind sends them an "urge" of discomfort to remind you that it's time for a feeding. It doesn't matter where they are or what they're doing. Depending upon your daily nicotine requirements, the voice inside your head will let you know when it's time. All you're doing when bored is being alert to what lies ahead, so that you keep topping off your nicotine tank before the next urge arrives. Boredom is supposed to be a positive form of anxiety that motivates us to accomplish a task that hopefully helps preserve life, not destroy it.
OUR LIE: It's my choice and I choose to smoke!
- THE TRUTH: It's a lie and you know it! We lost all "choice" and the ability to simply walk away the day that nicotine feedings became mandatory. The only choices now are to either arrest our dependency or to decide how early and often we'll feed it. As harsh as this sounds, nicotine dependency is a brain wanting disorder, a true mental illness. But the ignorant nicotine addict still believes the "choice" myth pounded into their brain by an endless stream of highly effective tobacco company marketing. All the pretty colored boxes, the displays, the sea of store ads, they make it seem like we can't wait to wake-up each day and run down to the store and try a new brand. Although a well set trap for gullible children and teens who can't wait to become adults, it also makes quitting more challenging than need be. The uneducated smoker likely associates smoking with reading the newspaper, coffee, travel, stress, other smokers, telephone calls, meals, celebrations, romance, or even as a necessary step prior to walking into a store. The educated nicotine addict sees all nicotine fixes as either mandatory, or an early feeding, in order to avoid the onset and discomfort of chemical withdrawal. We smoked after a meal because it was once again time for a nicotine feeding. We smoked before the meal because we didn't know how long eating would last and it isn't polite to eat and smoke at the same time. If your regular feedings are spaced thirty minutes apart, at least every thirty minutes you're going to start sensing growing want for more nicotine regardless of the activity.
OUR LIE: I'm only hurting me.
- THE TRUTH: Have you stopped for even one moment to reflect upon the financial, physical or emotional pain that your needless dying and death will bring your loved ones? Do we care that the deadly byproducts of our addiction have the potential to harm or kill family members, whose only crime was loving us? According to the World Health Organization secondhand smoke contributes to causing lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, colds, coughing, wheezing, worsening of asthma, middle ear disease, cardiovascular disease, and even neuro-behavioral impairment (especially in young children). It also found that maternal smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy is a major cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), reduced birth weight and decreased lung function. How much does it cost to attempt to cure mouth, throat or lung cancer? $100,000? $200,000? $300,000? What's the cost of a funeral today and which loved one have you designated to pay the emotional price of making arrangements for your early departure? What about the loss to loved ones of our guidance, our help around the house or any income we contribute? Where will they turn?
OUR LIE: A cure for cancer is coming soon.
- THE TRUTH: Between Europe and North America tobacco will kill over one million this year. How many of them thought that a cure was on the way? Sadly, it was false hope. As hopeless drug addicts they waited, and waited and waited. What type of lung cancer are hoping they'll cure - squamous cell, oat cell, adenocarcinoma, or one of the less common forms of lung cancer? Even if a cure is coming for all forms and types of cancer caused by tobacco (and there are many), what will be left of your lungs by the time it arrives? If you're gambling on "how" tobacco will kill you, don't forget to consider heart attacks, strokes, and emphysema. Which cure are you betting on?
OUR LIE: I smoke lights and they're not as bad.
- THE TRUTH: Lights, ultra-lights and milds are often capable of delivering the same amount of tar and nicotine as regular brands, depending on how they're smoked. It's why use of those terms are being banned by governments. They do not reduce most health risks including the risk of heart disease or the risk of cancer. In fact, their smokers often take longer drags which means more tar and more nicotine than advertised. Others simply smoke a greater number of lights because they feel short changed.
OUR LIE: It's my right to blow smoke!
- THE TRUTH: And it's the right of non-smokers and ex-smokers to be free from your smoke too. Social controls to protect the rights of non-smokers are now sweeping the globe. Can a dog's life-span be cut in half by a smoking master? Would you intentionally double the risk of heart attack or triple the risk of lung cancer for a spouse or family member? Why kill the innocent too? Are non-smokers who get extremely upset at having to breathe side-stream smoke simply being obnoxious or are they fighting to protect themselves and those they love from the known harms generated from burning a plant that contains 44 known cancer causing agents and releases 4,000+ chemical compounds when burned? Do you know a child whose mother smoked while pregnant, who does not suffer from some form of impairment today? Look closely.
OUR LIE: Quitting causes weight gain and it's just as dangerous.
- THE TRUTH: This intellectual denial pre-assumes a large weight gain and then makes an erroneous judgment regarding relative risks. Quitting does not increase our weight, eating does. Some assert that metabolic changes associated primarily with the heart not having to work as hard could account for a pound or two but as far as being " dangerous," you'd have to gain at least 75 additional pounds in order to equal the health risks associated with smoking one pack a day. Keep in mind that your general health, physical abilities and lung capacity will all improve dramatically. If patient, you will soon regain the ability to build cardiovascular endurance, and experience up to a 30% increase in overall lung function within 90 days. You'll be able to apply the same mental recovery tools needed to take control of your addiction in shedding any extra pounds, just one pound at a time. Remember, smoking was your cue that a meal had ended. Unless you develop a new healthy cue there may be fewer leftovers. Also keep in mind how easy it would be for a drug addict to use intentional weight gain to a ploy to sabotage recovery. Additionally, nicotine stimulated brain dopamine pathways and so does food. Be careful not to use food as a destructive dopamine replacement crutch. If at all concerned, consider having a supply of fresh fruits and veggies cut up, handy and ready to eat during the 2-3 weeks it takes the brain to restore natural dopamine pathway sensitivities.
OUR LIE: It's too late now to heal these lungs.
- THE TRUTH: Nonsense! While true that each and every puff destroyed more of each lung's roughly 300 million air sacs (alveoli), we were each blessed with millions more than needed to live a full and complete life. It's amazing how much damaged lungs can repair themselves unless disease or cancer has already arrived. Even with emphysema, although destroyed air sacks will never again function, quitting now will immediately halt the needless destruction of additional sacs. You only have two options - decay or heal, including the possibility of experiencing up to a 30 percent increase in overall lung function within 90 days of quitting. If continuing assault by the 81 cancer causing chemicals so far identified in cigarette smoke, which cigarette in which pack contains the spark that gives birth to that first cancerous cell?
OUR LIE: I'd quit but withdrawal never ends!
- THE TRUTH: Hogwash! If you remain 100% nicotine free for just 72 hours your blood will become nicotine free, your withdrawal anxieties will peak in intensity and the number of psychological craves will peak in number. The greatest challenge will be over. Actual physical withdrawal will be complete within 2-3 weeks as the brain re-sensitizes dopamine pathway receptors and down-regulates their numbers to levels seen in non-smokers. During that time you'll encounter and recondition (extinguish) all but remote or seasonal psychological habit crave triggers and begin to witness the gradually diminishing influence of thousands of nicotine replenishment memories, memories that belonged to an actively feeding addict who once again was in need of a fix. If you focus on taking recovery just one hour, challenge and day at a time, before you know it you'll experience your first day of total comfort, where never once do you think about wanting to smoke nicotine. I call it a silent celebration because you probably won't even realize that it has happened until the next day. After the first such day, they grow more and more frequent until they become your new sense of normal. If just starting out, the rich and deep sense of comfort and calm that awaits you is beyond your enslaved mind's ability to comprehension. Why? Because your dopamine pathways, your mind's priorities teacher, have been hijacked, making that next nicotine fix as important as eating food. Food craves, nicotine craves but with one critical difference. Without food we die. Without nicotine we thrive. It's why, although as real as your name, you cannot trust the nicotine wanting message that pounds inside your head, as it is false and is destroying you.
OUR LIE: But the craves last for hours!
- THE TRUTH: Just like the lingering thought of a nice juicy steak, lobster in butter sauce, or fresh baked hot apple pie, you can make yourself "think" about having a cigarette all day long, if that's what you really want to do. Unlike fixating on a conscious thought about smoking, subconsciously cue triggered crave anxiety attacks almost always last for less than 3 minutes. But it's important that you look at a clock and time the crave episode as cessation time distortion (a normal and expected recovery symptom) can make minutes feel like hours. The good news is that most of the anxiety surrounding crave episodes is self induced and thus controllable. Key is in not trying to hide or run from your mind's junkie thinking but exposing it to honest analysis and positive thinking. Strip away all the self-inflicted anxiety and at worst, what remains on quitting day 3 for the "average" quitter is just 18 minutes of true crave anxiety (an average of six craves, each less than three minutes in duration).
OUR LIE: I'll quit after the next pack, next carton, next month, my next birthday or New Years.
- THE TRUTH: Oh really? Can you count on both hands and all your toes how many times you've lied to yourself with such nonsense? And which pack, carton, month or birthday will give you the best chance for success? Forget buying nicotine laden cigarettes by the pack or carton. A case is even cheaper! With the way that cigarette prices are shooting through the roof, you might as well calculate how many it will take to keep you in nicotine for life and buy them all now. The only problem with that is in determining how long you have left to live. How many more pack, carton, birthday and New Year's lies will you tell to yourself? When will they stop? If you continue on your present path, many Birthdays will likely be canceled by a rather early Deathday. You are a true drug addict in every sense and the "wanting" inside your brain is as real as the greatest truth you know. What isn't true is the message, that that next fix is important. Truth is, everything now done under nicotine's influence can be done as well as or better without it.
OUR LIE: I like to smoke when I drink and I find myself smoking even more.
- THE TRUTH: The effects of drinking and stress upon our body's nicotine level are nearly the same. You smoke more when you drink not because you "like" to but because you MUST. Like stress, alcohol is an acid producing event that causes urine to become more acidic. The greater the acid level of urine, the quicker our kidneys remove and eliminate nicotine reserves from the bloodstream. Thus, the more you drink, the more nicotine you'll need to smoke or ingest in order to avoid sensing the onset of the anxiety of early withdrawal. Although early alcohol use contributes to destroying a great many quit attempts, understanding the nicotine-acid relationship can be of benefit in accelerating physical nicotine withdrawal so that quitters can begin feeling relief sooner. Acidic fruit juices, such as cranberry, may help reduce the normal 72 hours of withdrawal required to remove all nicotine from the blood. In that roughly 50% of all relapses are associated with alcohol use, if at all possible don't drink during the first few days of recovery. When you do decide to drink, consider drinking at home first without cigarettes around before testing your resolve around smokers. By doing so you'll help to break the your mind's psychological links between smoking and drinking with as little risk as possible. As millions of ex-smokers can attest, your beer or drink will taste better than ever once your taste buds are allowed an opportunity to heal.
OUR LIE: It's too painful to quit!
- THE TRUTH: Compared to what? Three days of physical withdrawal (just 72 hours) in no way compares to the pain of months of chemotherapy, lung removal surgery and a two foot scar, a losing battle with throat cancer, years of trying to recover from a serious stroke or massive heart attack, or fighting for every breath through emphysema riddled lungs as you drag oxygen around for the balance of life. If you're really worried about hurt then why continue your daily destruction?
OUR LIE: If I quit, I'll just start back again. I always do.
- THE TRUTH: The truth is that you do not have to relapse. We relapse because we rewrite the Law of Addiction, we forget why we quit, or we invent lies and stupid excuses, such as those that fill this page. Your next quit can be your last but you need to learn how to care for your recovery, while always applying the only rule that you'll ever need to obey - to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
OUR LIE: I'll cut down or quit and smoke just one now and then.
- THE TRUTH: It's every addict's dream, to control the uncontrollable. You are addicted to a substance that is five times as addictive as powdered cocaine (15% vs. 75%). You may be strong enough to cut back but so long as nicotine continues to arrive you'll remain hooked, the decay will continue, and as studies suggest, even though smoking less your health risks will remain almost unchanged. If you were a pack-a-day nicotine smoker and after quitting you decide to smoke just one cigarette, you might as well get ready to smoke the other 7,300 for the year too as full and complete relapse is virtually assured. The Law of Addiction is simple - just one puff of new nicotine and it's over. Brain scans show that up to 50% of dopamine pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine within eight seconds of the first puff. While roughly half walk away from relapse totally convinced that they've gotten away with smoking just once, they've saturated and de-sensitized dopamine pathway receptors and will soon find their brain begging for more. You see, as permanent as alcoholism, once hooked we somehow stay hard wired for relapse for the balance of life. Although recovery allows the brain time to heal and function normally again the tracks of addiction remain. We cannot cure or kill our disease. Once free, we remain on probation for the balance of life.
OUR LIE: I tried quitting but my family stopped supporting me or was giving me such a hard time that it caused me to throw in the towel.
- THE TRUTH: It's a lie. You gave up because you used your family as a cheap excuse to get your drug back. You exaggerated everything they did or didn't do. You were looking for any excuse. You're the drug addict yet you expected them to understand the weakness and thinking of a drug addict's mind. Maybe they didn't pat you on the back as often as you wanted, but is it really fair to expect them to appreciate the magnitude or duration of your challenge if they've never been through chemical withdrawal themselves? They just want you to be normal. They don't know how to react. Do they pat you on the back and keep reminding you, or hope and pray that the worst has already passed? Feeling unappreciated, picking fights and creating confrontation are tools of the addict's mind that are often used as weapons in order to reclaim their drug. Some know that if they inflict tremendous stress on loved ones that they may even convince their loved one to beg them to start smoking nicotine again, or better yet, to go buy their relapse cigarettes for them. That way, they can blame their relapse on their loved one. "They just couldn't handle my quitting." "Maybe next time!" The lengths to which we'll go in order to feed our wanting are almost beyond belief. Yes, some of us will even hurt those that love us most.
OUR LIE: OK, I'm going to stop! Now I can enjoy my smokes until then!
- THE TRUTH: If you've done this more than once, isn't it just more junkie head games? This addict wants to feel good about smoking nicotine and they've learned that by saying that they're going to quit, that they make themselves feel better even though deep down they know that it's probably just another lie! Unless something awakens this addict, there may never be a serious quit in their future.
OUR LIE: I've got to die of something!
- THE TRUTH: True, but if you knew that tomorrow morning at 9:22 a.m. a massive smoking induced stroke would bring your life to an abrupt end, and you'd die on a cold floor with a cigarette beside you - just as tens of thousands of smokers are found each year? Would you light that last cigarette at 9:21 a.m. and pull the trigger that kills you? Is this one of your primary use rationalizations? Look around at all the smokers you see today. The death certificates of half will read, "cause of death - smoking." Yes, they had to die of something but not an average of more than 5,000 days early. Have you met Noni, Bryan, Deb and Kim? Would any non-addicted human spend each and every day of the remainder of their life intentionally destroying more of their body's ability to receive and transport life giving oxygen? Would they continue doing so until physical exercise was no longer an option, or until this mental illness called dependency forced others to begin caring for us, as they watch us struggle just to suck oxygen from tanks and machines? Which family member have you prepared to be your care giver? Try to imagine what it's like to breathe through a straw? It's called emphysema. Why not find a straw and give it a try. What has nicotine done for you lately?
OUR LIE: I can't quit alone. I'll need nicotine gum, the patch, hypnosis, e-cigs, acupuncture, magic herbs or other wonder drugs!
- THE TRUTH: Wrong! The simple truth is that no magic cure has ever "made" any smoker quit smoking nicotine. The key to immediate and lasting abstinence is education and understanding, in becoming vastly more dependency recovery savvy than our addiction is strong. Hypnosis and acupuncture teach us nothing, nor does use of nicotine replacement products that fail roughly 93% of users within 6 months of quitting, while making NRT slaves of a substantial percentage of those who actually quit smokings. What quitting product and procedure salesmen will never tell you is that each year cold turkey generates more successful long-term ex-users than all other quitting methods combined. Why? Because they want your money. Remember, should all else fail, you always have you!
OUR LIE: It's all Nicodemon's fault, not mine!
- THE TRUTH: There is no Nicodemon, no little monsters, no big monsters, no monsters at all. None! In fact, the title to this article, Nicodemon's Lies, is one of the biggest lies of all. They were never Nicodemon's lies but our lies. Nicotine is simply a chemical, a drug, an alkaloid known as C10H14N2. Its I.Q. is and always has been zero. It does not think, plan, inflict punishment, nor will it conspire to make you relapse or die addicted to it. The fact that it has zero intelligence has always been your greatest weapon. Everything you see, feel, and sense during nicotine withdrawal and recovery will be grounded in chemical dependency, conditioning, reason, logic, emotion or science. Any conspirators in any past attempts to make you relapse and destroy your recovery were always and only "you!" Never once did you relapse due to external circumstances. It was 100% internal, once again you introduced nicotine into your bloodstream. The good news is that while each defeat was yours, so too will be the victory. Should you end nicotine's control of your brain's reward pathways the victory will belong only to you!