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Breaking an addiction

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posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:11 PM
The reason that I am posting in this thread rather then the Medical Issues thread is because of the strong mental addiction that is formed when one becomes addicted to a substance . It is that mental addiction that I am most concerned with and effected by .

Two days ago I made the decision to quit smoking . I have been smoking for close to 20 years and I have been having a tough go of it with my attempt to quit . I am using a couple of things to help me in my effort to quit smoking , Zyban and the patch .

These two products seem to be helping , however I am still having a tough time dealing with the mental addiction . After having smoked for so long its almost like saying good bye to an old friend , my smokes . I also find myself thinking how I will never smoke a cig again , this at times leads to small anxiety attacks .

The way that I have been addressing the issue of mental addiction is by reminding myself as to why I decided to quit in the first place , but it is still proving to be very difficult .

I realize that I have just quit and I am sure as the days go on it will get easier and harder all at the same time . As for right now , cigarettes are always on my mind , no matter what I am doing and it seems almost overwhelming at times .

Have any of you out there very tried to break free of an addiction ? How did you deal with the mental addiction ? What did you find more difficult to deal with , the mental or physical addiction ?

Thanks for sharing

[edit on 21-6-2009 by Max_TO]

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:25 PM
reply to post by Max_TO

I have had to deal with addictions of both alcohol and tobacco.
With the alcohol I used psychotherapy, hypnosis, and 12 step programs.
It was still a very hard struggle to stay clean and sober. Today I am.

Tobacco addiction was also a very hard struggle to stay tobacco free. After many attempts, also with the patch, pills and cold turkey; I finally used self hypnosis with smoking also. It really helped a lot to relieve the obsession and stress. 5years now since my last smoke.

Try some of the youtube hypnosis videos on smoking cessation. They worked for me after about a weeks worth of practice. Just don't quit trying. You will feel so much better.

Good luck!!

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:31 PM
reply to post by whaaa

Thanks for your support and congrats to you for breaking your addictions !

Youtube actually has hypnosis videos on smoking cessation ? I need to check that out .

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:33 PM
I like to say that I tried to stop smoking for many years going via pill, patches, hypnosis and cold turkey. However, I did try the gums and that helped. However, I am now still on the gums and this is close to 8 years now. I am addicted to the gum and can't stop them. I talked with my doctor and was advised that as long as I just use the gum it was fine with him. That sooner or later you will stop them as well. Well, I don't know. I suppose I would really have to really really try.

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:35 PM
reply to post by Max_TO

Boy do I know about addiction. I would elaborate but I would break ATS rules. Suffice it to say, there is no easy way. You have to replace bad behavior with good. It is not easy and it will test your endurance and commitment.

How committed are you? If you are serious and don't forget 90 plus, first timers fail. Then you fall into that small percentage. That is serious and will persevere. Then I know you will make it no matter what. I suggest drinking alot of water and cranberry juice because it will help you detox quicker.

Best of luck.

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:37 PM
reply to post by Brothers

I once knew a person with the same problem , became addicted to the gum upon quitting the cig's . But at least you managed to stop smoking ! Good for you !

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:40 PM
reply to post by HooHaa


Did you find any one thing that helped you deal with the mental part of addiction ?

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:46 PM
I smoked around 40 smokes a day with 16mg of tar, very addicted both mentally and physically (or so I was led to believe)

cold turkey is the only way that worked for me.
after the pills patches gums and hypnosis, it wasn't until I got my head right that I finally was able to quit.

5 years now with no relapse or sneaking one.

tell yourself it is not hard, if you tell yourself it is hard you will always find a reason to have a smoke.
mental attitude is what it takes, positive thoughts.
Don't finish your current pack, screw them up and throw them in the bin with all your ash trays.
now if you feel the need for a smoke you have to go to the shop, by the time you get there your craving will have eased and buy a mint and go home.

every craving you get passed you can tell yourself what a great job you did, every craving down is one less to worry about.
Don't knock yourself out if you have 1 smoke, just start again and count the days, remind yourself that you don't want to have those days again of strong cravings.

it takes a while but before you know it, the cravings subside and you start to breath easier and can actually enjoy the taste of food again.

remember, it is easy and anyone who tells you it isn't, really isn't trying.

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 09:56 PM
reply to post by munkey66

I like your way of looking at it

The battle of addiction does take place in ones mind and it is there where the battle will be won or lost .

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:07 PM
reply to post by Max_TO

If all else fails, try this:-

*Half fill a large glass jar with water, make sure you have a lid
*Empty all your cigarette stubs and ash into the water, gather as much as possible
*put the lid back on the jar, give it a good shake and leave it somewhere warm, let it fester.

Whenever you get that evil craving, open the jar and take a good whiff, the smell is horrendous! you will then begin hopefully to associate that bad smell with smoking

This helped a friend of my mother quit smoking many years ago, I hope this helps someone else quit

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:10 PM
reply to post by findlesticks

HAHA yep I have herd tell of that one once before

I bet it would work !

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:18 PM
Don't think about "never smoking again" Think about not smoking "today." Do things that will take your mind off smoking, get busy and keep busy. GL with all your efforts...

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:26 PM
reply to post by Oatmeal

Sound advise .

So far my efforts are going pretty good . But I must say that I do love smoking . I am not one of those people that would have claimed that I hated smoking but did it out of my addiction I smoked because I loved to smoke . This fact does make things a bit tricky to say the least .

I have been practicing a few of the methods already mentioned by some of the posters and when all else fails I will remind myself that I don't want to get cancer , that tends to make the desire to have a smoke dwindle .

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:28 PM
I think quitting smoking is mostly a mental thing, I smoked for around 10 years and quit about a year and a half ago. I didnt use anything to quit, I just stopped.

I had tried once before for around 3 months and was fine, until I went out for a drink and friends would offer smokes. So started up again, (people always offer smokes when you say you're trying to quit).

So the last time I stopped, after 3 days without a smoke, I went out for a drink, with the intention of not smoking during or afterwards. It was hard but I managed it, I got a little buzzed from resisting the urge and Ive managed to not smoke since.

After 2 weeks I lost the urge completely, my gf stopped to without using anything.

If tempted I suggest you imagine the breathing difficulties it causes and the chemicals your putting into your body. Your body is like an engine, if you keep using the wrong fuel or bad oil, the engine wont last.

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:31 PM
reply to post by Horus12

Happy to hear your GF quit too . It is my hope that my GF quits along with me . Perhaps if she sees me making progress she may decide to give it a try .

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:37 PM
reply to post by Max_TO

. . . comments from a psychologist . . .

1. You have received some very good first person comments from folks hereon already.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be a great help. However, it is not passive magic. ONE MUST DISCIPLINE ONE'S THINKING AND WORK HARD AT IT as the process instructs.

3. You are what you think--particularly what you think obsessively. REWIRING YOUR BRAIN AND REFLEXES TAKES TIME. It's like deep grooves in an old vinyl LP record. The actual nerves, neurons in your brain and other body parts involved in smoking become thicker and more plentiful along the paths used. IT TAKES TIME TO ALLOW THOSE TO ATROPHY SOMEWHAT AND ESTABLISH NEW COMPETING ONES FOR GOOD THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS.

4. IT IS WELL WORTH THE EFFORT. Why let an expensive poison stick be your slave-master!

5. It may help you to write down the list of reasons why you know it's important to quit. Have them on a 3 X 5 card with you at all times. Review the list as fitting and needed.

6. Picture yourself free of tobacco; free of the craving; free of the smell; with improved taste of food; with improved relationships; with improved self confidence; with improved self-esteem; feeling generally better about yourself and viewed as healthier, smarter, more mature by those you meet; those you love, those you work with, customers. Keep that focus, that picture readily available to meditate on; focus on, fix on.

7. You might be able to find color pics of cancer ridden lungs on the net. Print them off. Post them in all your favorite places in your home and car.

8. VISIT A HOSPITAL. TALK TO FOLKS WHO ARE DYING FROM EMPHYSEMA. Listen to their difficult breathing. Talk to their loved ones. Ask them about what breathing is like for them.

9. Get about a dozen drinking straws. Maybe 2 dozen--a mouth full. Breathe through them without any obstruction . Then clamp all of them off except for one and clamp off that one except for a very small percentage of it. Try breathing again through the packet of clamped straws--for as many as 30 seconds to a minute or 2. Imagine having to breathe that way 24/7.

10. You may well need some new friends. There's a LOT of ATTACHMENT DISORDERED, rebellious, low self-esteem; narcissistic, selfish, gamey etc. stuff that seems to be part of the personalities and lives of a significant chunk of smokers, in my experience and observation. Often it seems like, even the manner of holding a cigarette is kind of an "up yours" sort of mannerism. Healthy, mature, balanced, overcoming, sharp, winner sorts of people do NOT NEED such junk in their lives.

11. It may help you to read up on ATTACHMENT DISORDER and do some work in overcoming such. The best book on it is called ATTACHMENTS . . . by DRs Clinton and Sibcy sp?

12. It may help you to have a drinking straw to fiddle with and chew on for the first month or 3. Also, a pen can be useful for your fingers to be active with.


14. AVOID THINKING THE FIRST THOUGHTS TOWARD SMOKING. It's like a link in a chain of small discrete bits of thought and behavior. The first few links are relatively easy to STOP--especially the FIRST ONE. By the time one is about to light up--it's like a run away train--very difficult, usually, to stop.

15. You CAN use THOUGHT STOPPING. Picture beginning to think about smoking. After the first second or two--YELL STOP to yourself--out loud or silently in your head. I knew of a woman working to overcome food addiction once because of her obesity--who would yell it out loud wherever she was--she was THAT serious.

16. THEN, Once you have interrupted that thought down the tar black road to a ciggy but--FORCE YOURSELF TO THINK OF OTHER THINGS--such as the smile of your loved ones at your being cigarette free. Think of a beautiful nature scene with fresh air, a water fall, great food . . . the smell of your favorite loved one uncontaminated by clogged nose-works.

17. REWARD YOURSELF FOR SMALL SUCCESSES. Either with points or time doing some favorite activities etc. Perhaps XX minutes of computer time for X hours free of a smoke etc. You can use poker chips or changing pennies from one pocket to the other etc. It's better to reward yourself promptly for making good choices.

18. Avoid berating yourself, condemning yourself, kicking yourself. That tends to wind up your anxiety and your craving for some familiar pleasure. Merely say something like "The next time such a temptation comes, I'll nip it in the bud by . . . "

19. Realize that orgasm, nicotine, food-sugar, exercise thrills, etc. all trigger DOPAMINE pleasure releases of chemical and neural pleasure centers. You are fighting deeply engrained physiology as well as attitude, etc.


21. You are welcome to U2U me bragging about your successful smoke free hours and days as often as you see fit. I'll be glad to do what I can as often as possible to affirm and encourage you.


23. May God be with you in your effort. Please keep me posted.

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 10:49 PM
reply to post by BO XIAN

Thanks so much that was great !

That book sounds very interesting , ATTACHMENTS . . . by DRs Clinton and Sibcy . I may have to pick that book up .

I also like your tip with the straws

Yes its so very important to get ones mind on the right track when taking on the task of breaking an addiction and you have offered some good advice to help in that goal

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 11:07 PM
I hate the word addiction. I agree with the author of this book:

Big Fat Liars

When he says "In well over a half century in the field, I have yet to encounter an addictive substance", I agree with him.

I was a raving drunk for years. I would wake up, drink a beer if I had any leftover(hair of the dog for the hangover), go to work and pour gin and/or vodka in my water to start the day, drink a few beers at lunch then pick up a twelve-pack for home. Every day for years straight. I never took a day off.

One day, I said enough, and that was almost four years ago. I have not had a drink and I don't want one. I almost never even have the urge to drink. ONce every few months, that's all. I ignore that voice and it's gone after a few minutes.

Now, if alcoholism were a disease, then I would have to endure some type of treatment to rid me of the disease, correct? One just doesn't throw off, say, cancer, right? Yet I threw away alcohol, simply by making a decision NOT to drink. No rehab, no BS twelve steps that only set you up for failure(relapsing), no hypnotherapy, nothing.

I quit all by my little self, all by making a CHOICE. Smoking a cigarette, having a drink, shooting up heroin, whatever, these are all choices. You either do it or don't, plain and simple.

Now, cigarettes I find much harder, because I still enjoy inhaling fire(go figure) and I don't WANT to quit, even though it's not all that good for me. When I run out, I find myself pacing the room trying to figure out what I'm doing because that is the urge to smoke and I haven't realized it, yet. When I do, then I sit down. A few minutes later, I'm pacing again. My mind needs something to take over that urge until I don't have the urge. It's a mind over matter thing that I just am not willing to do, yet.

One has to be willing to quit, not just think it or say it. It has to be action. Or non-action, as the case may be.

Seriously, I never thought, before I quit drinking, I could go through life without beer(mmm, beer). I grew up in Las Vegas, where the bars never close. It was almost ingrained in me to hang at the bar and I never thought I could live without going to the bar. I walk past bars now and just laugh. Nowadays, I cannot understand how I had those thoughts. The mindset that "I can't live without it" is false. You can live without any drug, alcohol, pot, cigs, heroin, speed, pills, coffee - none of these are necessary to survival and are not needed.

This is not intended to piss anyone off, make fun of how they quit. Each to his own. Like anyone, I know myself and what I have done but your mileage may vary. To be truthful though, I think AA is a load of crap. If anyone wants to stop drinking, or anything for that matter, I suggest Rational Recovery:

Rational Recovery

I only read the first thirty or so pages of the book. I didn't need to read anymore. There is a fictional phone call the author writes down, sort of condensing all the questions asked and his answers to them. It made perfect sense to me and it has worked for me.

Well, there's my $.02. Good luck to anyone who wants to quit anything!

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 11:16 PM
reply to post by TheLoony

Thanks for that , and thanks for the reading suggestions . Always looking for a good book

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 11:23 PM
( This doesn't fully pertain to a smoking addiction but a little more "severe", as you may not get many replies from people with "hard" addictions as it's a hard thing to talk about socially maybe there are some people reading who this may mean something to? anyway if the MODS feel this is too off topic, please feel free to delete and sorry)

When I was 12 years old a doctor put me on methadone for pain management.
Lets just say that me and my mother were no educated on the subject and that we trusted this doctor.

I was sick of being on this medication it changed me and didn't help the pain so I dumped them all down the toilet, big mistake.
24 hours later I was bent over in bed with all kinds of horrible pains makes my skin crawl thinking about it.

I went to the hospital and they put me into a detox mental health clinic sure I had been through a lot as a child medically wise but I never dealt with depression I was around very sick people with problems much bigger than mine but I needed treatment for the physical withdraw see what happens with opiates is that it stores inside your bones and the receptors of your brain (nicotine does this as well) so when your body is no longer given it your body actually draws it out of these places in your body witch is very painful, but the mental need for the pill and thinking that it would take the pain in was very strong I thought that I needed it to be "normal" again to just simply not feel the way I was but after truly learning what this pill was seeing what it did to people seeing teens/adults addicted truly addicts it just clicked in my head that it was much more important to me to be a sober person rather then be a prisoner of a substance the rest of my life and seeing how quickly my world was turned upside down I couldn't even comprehend what would happen to my life if I were to do this for a longer period of time.

The doctors never diagnosed me as an "addict" they said this was medical addiction caused by a doctor, they talked as if I was above these people but I knew in my heart that I could have been them this wasn't the first time I was exposed to this my birth mother was an addict I was born addicted I could have been anyone of them at that time I was one of them and what I had that they didn't were tools, and love that they were never given and I saw on that point on that these were things that I could use to help people that this was all much bigger then a substance it gave me a passion a burn in my heart to help others who have felt this pain to not treat them like second class citizens or blame judge or punish them for their illness and from that day on I never touched a substance and because of that I became a drug an alcohol counselor and hopefully have helped some people, not enough but some.

The things with abusive substances is that people feel there is nothing bigger or better than that substance they don't see anything in their lives that are worth more than that substance it comes down to the instant gratification of having that "pain" "void" "emotion" numbed/filled.
People will ask what came first mental illness or the substance abuse it's very hard to tell and physicians spend too much time pondering this question what it comes down to is when a person starts a substance they emotionally stunt themselves to the maturity level that they have at the time so giving them a pill, or taking away the drug simply isn't going to cure this and what works best from what I can see is hardcore cognitive therapy to stimulate that emotional growth again, to give new skills that were not taught to them as a child, to help heal traumatic events pretty much cognitive therapy can be used for every psychological issue there is also most addicts suffer from some sort of personality disorder and the ONLY thing that works for a personality disorder is cognitive therapy as it was an illness created by the environment and not by nature or a "chemical imbalance".
This therapy along with group therapy and sometimes medications to help severe symptoms(no narcotics like benzos and other sedatives, no matter how horrible a persons anxiety is) along with outside support groups that are peer based will really help a person with addiction and the mental aspect.

Also a person has to be ready if they are not ready they will fail throwing a person in rehab who doesn't want to go is a waste of time and money and the waste of a bed and time that could be used on someone who truly wants and needs it.

Sometimes for some people to stop an addiction it takes several "bottoms" and sometimes a person has no bottom and it will end in death jails/institutions, it really just comes down to a person deciding for themselves that this is it simple frustrations with the outcome of their life will give them the desire to stop sometimes it takes bigger events to cause change.
I feel that once you get the ground work done of emotional healing and new coping skills and add that with finding a passion in life that the mental aspect will begin to heal and over time it won't be as strong, it will always be there but as long as you manage it it will not be as hard to deal with.
Addiction is like heart disease it can never be "cured" but it can be managed and a happy life can still be lived.

Some key things to do to start are change people places and things, find a support group it doesn't have to be "AA" or "NA" there are support groups out there are support groups FOR EVERYTHING with all kinds of spiritual mind sets, do 90 meetings in 90 days, a lot of people will say these things are just not possible but I tell them to think of all the crazy things they did to get their drug of choice and how much they sacrificed to get their drug if they can do it for that, they can do it for THEMSELVES, also after the physical withdraw is over never forget what that felt like keep it green in your mind and that may help to a degree from a relapse.

Also people feel silly but about certain addictions like some people in my group don't like to talk about their smoking addiction as they feel it is "trivial" but if it effects YOUR life and is IMPORTANT to you, then it is not trivial what so ever it may not need as drastic actions to help heal it but it will indeed take strength courage and support from others.

For those who are suffering in silence please know that even though I am a stranger you're in my heart and thoughts.
I hope you find peace.

Sorry this is so long.

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