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Everything posted by Christian99

  1. I'm assuming that, like me, you choose to include NRT in your larger suite of tools to help you succeed in this crucial enterprise after carefully considering all the options available to you. As such, you've made a fantastic, life-affirming choice, and I admire you for your decision. Your quit is not only not "fake"; I'm happy to argue that since you catered your approach to your individual circumstances with an approach endorsed by addiction specialists, it very well could be superior and more authentic than those attempted by individuals who continue, irrationally, to fetishize the "cold turkey" quit. You are doing great, friend. Keep it up--it will change your life. Christian99 Nearing 17 1/2 Years Quit
  2. The gum was a very useful tool for me when I quit. I continued to carry a couple of pieces around with me for several months after I stopped chewing it (chewed it for 2-3 months), just in case I felt like I needed extra assistance in those still early stages of the quit. In my experience, claims of long-term nicotine gum dependence are wildly exaggerated and ultimately unhelpful to the quitters who choose NRT as part of their recovery. Also, scientifically speaking, inhaling burning cigarette smoke is a far more efficient delivery method of nicotine (and every other chemical) than chewing the gum. It's not even close, so a piece of gum is not like two cigarettes. It's not a bad idea to try to stop chewing entirely, but I wouldn't worry too much about it--you're doing great! Christian99 Nearing 17 1/2 Years Quit
  3. My intention is most decidedly not to pile on here (because I can only imagine the self-recrimination you're feeling at this point); however, I think you need to understand what you're up against right now: your brain chemistry, after an extended process of recalibration, has been altered by your relapse. Thus, your smoke-free future is extraordinarily vulnerable at this point because you'll be experiencing physical cravings like you haven't been for quite some time. Stay close, friend, and think back to (and exploit) your experiences and strategies early in your quit. We know you can do it. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  4. Not a fan of the book (to say the least); I share that not at all to troll on the original post or supporters of Carr, but instead to speak to those who might read it and feel like maybe they're missing something or that there's something wrong with their quit. It's not for everyone, and as long as you're not smoking you're doing great. Lots of people have benefitted from the book, and I certainly respect its impact. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  5. Some really great responses here. In my own case, it was probably 11 months or so that I was really convinced that I was non/ex-smoker (as opposed to convincing myself that I was a non/ex-smoker). That said, while I haven't had a single craving for or even a passing thought of smoking a cigarette for well over fifteen years, I remain (quietly and gently) vigilant. The addiction scares me and always will. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  6. "I think it is officially over" Be careful: that can be a dangerous attitude at what is still an early point in your recovery. Remain vigilant--your life depends on it. Christian 99 17+ Years Quit
  7. Warmest congrats on 2 years, Jim! Christian99
  8. Ten and a half years ago, my 42 year old brother died of lung cancer. He smoked until he lost consciousness for the final time--and even then, for some time after, he continued making unconscious smoking gestures. His inability to quit after his diagnosis and through his treatment was a source of profound pain and shame for him, making his impending and actual death even more difficult and frightening for him. His wife took her own life a few hours after he died, underscoring and adding to the tragedy. Smoking kills. I quit for a better life; just as (and perhaps more) importantly, I quit for a better death. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  9. I respectfully disagree. The legality of cigarettes is a construct supported by the BILLIONS of dollars that have been spent by the industry to maintain it as such; it has nothing to do with the toxicity of the substance. Thus, it is far more similar to substances like arsenic (an additive, BTW, in commercial tobacco), DDT, or methamphetamine. Moreover, regarding the slippery slope "soft drink/fast food" claim/fear, the profound difference is that--with very few exceptions (exceptions that personal growing and use could accommodate)--there is no such thing as moderate, occasional cigarette consumption. It's an industry that is entirely premised on addiction. And that leads to disease and death. Not abolishing commercial tobacco is easy (made easier by sixty years of tobacco marketing and its effective linking of smoking and freedom); I think abolition is the creative, courageous, hard, and principled task of the 21st century. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  10. Those who argue that cigarette smoking is a form of freedom (or that smoking bans restrict freedom) are, unfortunately, arguing in favor of their victimization precisely in the way that the billions of tobacco marketing $$$ have hoped. And the libertarian argument that the government shouldn't be involved in regulating/prohibiting substances is an interesting one; however, in order to use it in this case, you'd also need to allow, then, that things like methamphetamine and heroin should be decriminalized and readily available as well. You're comfortable with that? Commercial tobacco is a product unlike almost any other: it is purposefully designed for maximum addictiveness, and normal use of it leads to death. Hence, extraordinary remedies--e.g,, eliminating the product in a scaled way from the marketplace--are needed. Christian99 17 Years Quit
  11. I have predicted this for some time, though I thought it would be a country rather than a US state. The smoking = freedom argument has been one of the most effective and persuasive ones advanced by tobacco companies and their allies, and I am pleased to see a respected entity simply refuse to accept this absurd association. ultimately, abolition is the solution, and this scaled approach is precisely the way to achieve it. Christian99 17 Years Quit
  12. All I want to (or feel that I can) add at this point is that, in 2001, I "lost" (the more appropriate phrase is "gave up") a quit of about 21 days. Somehow, I was able to marshal the energy to begin again. And seventeen-plus years later, my life has been transformed and literally saved by beginning again. All the best, and we know you can do it-- Christian99 17+ years quit
  13. Freedom, for me, has been so surprisingly generative. During my quitting process, I developed skills that continue to help me when I face difficult circumstances, and frankly I never would have predicted that I would continue to reap the (non-physical) benefits so long after I was able to extinguish the associations and cravings related to smoking. Christian99 17 Years Quit
  14. That was one of the very first (and quite unexpected) consequences of my quit. I really had no idea about my grey pallor until I began to see something very different emerging after a week or so into my quit. It was eye-opening! If you're like me, it'll be the first of many (ultimately endless) benefits you'll enjoy. Christian99 17 Years Quit
  15. I'm not sure the distinction matters that much, but I'd argue that your indecision is as much an effect of recovery as a cause of a craving. I was extraordinarily indecisive and unfocused for quite some time in the early stages of my quit, and it would be wise to anticipate and plan for such symptoms moving forward. Don't feel like there's anything wrong with the quit if these experiences persist--they're frustrating for sure, but not at all atypical. Time is your friend in this process. Christian99 17 Years Quit
  16. Thanks, friends. :) Christian99 17 Years Quit
  17. My condolences on the passing of your father. Please do not confuse thinking of and planning for quitting for actually quitting and trying to save your life. I have seen hundreds (thousands?) of people over the years use lengthy preparation as an unconscious method of avoiding the actual quit. The time to quit is now, and every cigarette is damaging and potentially killing you. You have everything you need to be successful right now. Christian99 Nearing 17 Years Quit
  18. In my own case, there was no lightbulb, and I felt exactly like you in your four month failed quit. I'm just a stubborn mofo, and I kept persisting, believing in my process, which included pretty dramatic changes to my diet and daily exercise. At some point (around 12-15 months), I simply stopped thinking about smoking. I share my experience because I firmly believe that it isn't necessary to change one's thinking at the outset (and may, in fact, be inconsistent with the personalities of certain kinds of people); instead, it's also possible to QUIT one's way into a lifetime quit. Christian99 Nearing 17 Years Quit
  19. I had no idea--and I think few smokers do--of how the benefits would continue to emerge many years after the quit. The quit helped/forced me to develop psychological resources that I still draw on today when I face different kinds of challenges. Relatedly, I'm more patient, humble, and humane, and these things have made me a better friend, spouse, father, and teacher. Now, I'm also more than a decade and a half older than I was when I quit, and I guess I'd hope that I'd grow as a person in such time regardless of quitting smoking; however, I'm convinced that the quit has directly impacted much of these positive changes--especially since I regularly use explicit imagery of my quit success to inspire or calm myself. Christian99 16 1/2 Years Quit
  20. So fricking awesome, Doreen. You're an inspiration, friend. Christian99
  21. Please quit. My brother died a terrible death from lung cancer at age 41. Christian99 16 1/2 Years Quit
  22. By the way, the very best book I've read on the subject and the one that has most influenced my thinking on the issue is Robert Proctor's Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition (U of CA P, 2010). I wouldn't call it a beach read (I'd characterize the genre as academic cultural history), but it's definitely worth one's time and attention. C99
  23. No, I definitely don't hold this position with regard to alcohol (and, for that matter, cannibas, though that's a different issue entirely). I haven't thought much about the alcohol issue, but I'd say that a guiding principle for me is whether there's a reasonable chance that moderate use of a product won't lead to significant harm. Commerical tobacco fails that test for me in a couple of ways: given its toxicity there's really no safe or least health-neutral consumption of cigarettes; more importantly, the product is absolutely designed to render moderate use impossible. I wouldn't say that's the case with alcohol (which isn't to say that many lives haven't been ruined by it). Cigarettes and their industry just strike me as uniquely offensive and deadly and warrant a special remedy, and we should be smart and courageous enough to figure out a way to eliminate them. I know my position is pretty aggressive and strident (maybe others would use a different adjective than "pretty!"), and people who read/hear it (especially those who don't know me in person) sometimes infer that I'm on some sort of nanny-state crusader. I don't think I'm deluding myself when I say that I actually tend toward libertarianism when it comes to drugs and alcohol. But given the history, carnage, and (industry) immorality of global tobacco, I can't in good conscience situate the mass produced cigarette in the category of other substances whose restrictions should be modest at best. By the way, I'm really intrigued by your idea to require a license to purchase tobacco; if done well, the "continuing education" piece could be a crucial moment to get quitting resources in the hands of smokers and showing that quitting is, in fact, possible. I'm not at all opposed to an incremental approach like this that leads to my ultimate goal. C99
  24.    Sorry...I was trying to fill out my profile and mistakenly posted it here initially.  

  25. I am a proud and unapologetic tobacco abolitionist, particularly when we're talking about commercially produced tobacco products (I'm a bit more flexible/noncommittal when it comes to folks growing their own for their own use, primarily because it's through the processing that companies have been able to manipulate the chemistry of the product for maximum addictiveness), and I support an agenda that ultimately makes commercially produced products completely illegal (and ultimately irrelevant and anachronistic). The approach would need to phased in allow for the continued practice of adult smokers who, at the time of enactment, "choose" to continue, though substantial resources would be directed to provide cessation support to them. Individuals who are not of age at the time of the "structured elimination" would not be permitted to purchase or consume the products. The easy and tired and hysterical references to "PROHIBITION" (that is, "We can't possibly eliminate tobacco because look what happened when we tried with alcohol!") simply doesn't apply to this situation, in large part because the global tobacco industry literally has no precedent for the deception, manipulation, and immorality of which it has shown itself capable in its advocacy for a product that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th Century. And every time someone pauses to consider the (completely fictitious) threat on personal freedom that restriction or prohibition of tobacco seems to imply, it's another example of the extraordinary success of the decades-long rhetorical strategy of the industry of linking smoking with powerful ideals like "freedom" and "liberty." We regulate and prohibit things all the time in the name of public health, and I don't hear too many clamoring for the "freedom" to eat food with lysteria or botulism, or--perhaps slightly more relevantly--to have unfettered access to cocaine or bath salts. The difference, of course, is the bewildering amount of money and rhetorical energy spent in legitimizing and normalizing the cigarette. I'm pretty convinced that the world's position on and use of commercial tobacco will be among a small number of crucial issues (and ultimately disgraces) by which future generations will characterize the previous century. I'm hopeful that its eradication in our current century will be one of the things by which the 21st is remembered. Christian99 16 1/2 Years Quit

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