Stop Smoking without Fighting Cravings

When we decide to put down the cigarettes, one of the first questions a Smoker asks is ” How do I stop smoking without fighting cravings?” This question is born of fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

The problem is not in having the symptoms themselves. The problem is all in how we approach and handle those symptoms. We want to learn how to stop smoking without the side effects.

Let’s take a look at the underlying thought processes to understand how and why this happens.

Smokers’ Brains Change

When we smoke, our brains change in response to the very high levels of nicotine delivered by cigarettes. Those brain changes cause us to become addicted to nicotine, and that addiction can make stopping smoking very difficult.

When receptors in the brain are activated, they release a brain chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel good. This pleasure response to dopamine is a big part of the nicotine addiction process.

Over time, as you continue to smoke, the number of nicotine receptors in your brain increases. Addicted smokers have billions more of these receptors than nonsmokers do. But not all smokers have such a high level of receptors.

To make stopping smoking even more difficult, the brain receptors can be conditioned to expect nicotine in certain situations long after you have stopped smoking. These would be the times that we identify as “Triggers” such as smoking while driving the car, during coffee breaks, or after sex.

For this reason, simply treating the nicotine withdrawal is an inadequate approach. The damage done to the brain and it’s subsequent thought processes also need to be treated.

Total abstinence right from the beginning is the only effective course of action and this requires reconditioning the brain’s thought processes. This will take some time and we need tools to counteract this in the meantime.

This is the reason we see many Smokers relapse, sometimes several years after their last cigarette, despite nicotine’s absence after only 48-72 hours of total abstinence.

Vaping, Smoking, and Nicotine

Vaping “helps” anxiety for the same reason that smoking is perceived as being helpful. When we ingest nicotine (whether from smoking OR vaping), the nicotine releases Dopamine and Serotonin, which are a “Feel Good” drugs.

The Dopamine relaxes us only temporarily, then we need another “Fix”…

As a 3 pack/day Smoker, I did this 60 times every day for 22 years. This caused distorted thinking (addiction) and all else became secondary to getting that “Fix” at any cost.

This yoyo effect causes us to believe that the Fix is relaxing, when in fact it causes more stress and anxiety…

Before I understood my own behavior and made a decision to get honest about it, I “relaxed” 60 times every day, trying to get the natural relaxation that Non-Smokers enjoy continually every single day.

If you vape without nicotine, there will probably be minimal side effects, but something else will begin to occur.

You will soon see the truth behind this process that I just described and you will soon become bored with it and drop vaping…. You will have no further reason to continue.

The Benefits

The good news is that once you stop smoking entirely, the number of nicotine receptors in your brain will eventually return to normal. As that happens, the craving response will occur less often, won’t last as long or be as intense and, in time, will fade away completely.

Benefits will begin to appear almost immediately. In only 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate slows. Twelve hours later, levels of carbon monoxide, a gas lethal to humans in high doses, will begin to return to normal levels.

Within three months, your lung function improves and your circulation starts to get better .

After a year, your risk of having a heart attack drops by half. And after five to 15 years, your stroke risk will be the same as that of a nonsmoker.

Solutions

As we have just learned, we do not have a choice about whether or not we have withdrawal cravings. We are withdrawing from a very powerful drug and attempting to sidestep the cravings is impossible.

Our choice is simply how we will handle them.

We have also learned that fighting cravings sets us up for failure long after the nicotine is gone.

Our solution can only be retraining our thinking so that we can easily accept and deal with those cravings at any time, under any circumstances so that we do not get blindsided years down the road by triggers.

Available here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicotine Addiction Recovery

Now that the decision to quit smoking cigarettes has been finally made, do we try to sidestep the addiction problem by switching to vaping or do we engage in honestly addressing and engaging in nicotine addiction recovery? 

Serious adverse health effects of nicotine cause additional concern. Nicotine is harmful to the cardiovascular system by causing constriction of arteries that supply the heart. It increases blood pressure and increases blood viscosity.

All these effects raise one’s risk of heart attack and blood clots which can block flow of blood to the heart, brain and other vital organs.

Assuming that we will want to opt for and take the approach of honestly addressing and engaging the dilemma, how then do we overcome nicotine addiction ?

How Nicotine Damages the Brain

In order to quit smoking successfully for the long term, it helps to understand the nature of nicotine addiction and what it takes to break free of it.

Early regular use of any nicotine-containing product poses a risk to a lifetime of addiction. Nicotine’s effect on the developing brain can irreversibly damage the reward systems in the brain. 

This concern is accentuated by the rapidly increasing use of e-cigs in adolescents and young adults and nicotine’s powerful effect on developing brains. The human brain is not fully developed until about the age of 25.

Not only does nicotine use make young brains more susceptible to addiction, but it also causes reduced attention span, diminished cognition and enhanced impulsive reactions. To complicate matters, these changes also affect memory and motivation.

Nicotine can reach peak levels in the bloodstream and brain very rapidly.

This is the reason why the epidemic of vaping and the popularity among younger generations is so detrimental to continued good health and healthy brain development.

Effects on Brain Chemistry

Let’s take a look at how nicotine affects brain chemistry and begin the educational process that will help us battle this addiction.

Nicotine activates the same reward pathways in the brain that other drugs of abuse such as cocaine or amphetamines do, although to a lesser degree.

Research has shown that nicotine increases the level of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and well-being. It is also responsible for increasing levels of Serotonin.

The acute effects of nicotine wear off within minutes, so Smokers must continue dosing themselves frequently throughout the day to maintain the seemingly pleasurable effects of nicotine and to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

The cognitive, self-control, and decision-making strategy portion of the brain is still in development. And this is the area which is largely affected by nicotine.

Additional Concerns

Nicotine exposure, increasingly occurring as a result of e-cigarette use, may induce changes that sensitize the brain to other drugs and prime it for future substance abuse.

Nicotine can kill brain cells and stop new cells from forming.

As blood nicotine levels became comparable to those found in smokers, they found the creation of new neurons in the hippocampus area of the brain was cut by up to 50 per cent.

Cell death also increased as nicotine levels rose.

E-cigarette vaping devices, those nicotine-rich cigarette alternatives, may not be as safe as once believed. This is especially so for the market’s fastest growing population segment of teenagers.

Research shows nicotine intake during adolescence increases the risk of developing psychiatric disorders and cognitive impairment later in life.

Brain development continues throughout adolescence and into young adulthood.

Nicotine has adverse effects in older smokers and vapors as well.

Solutions

Nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the U.S., and the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death. Only about seven percent of people who try to kick nicotine on their own last at least one year.

Besides nicotine’s addictive properties, another factor to consider includes its easy availability through the sophisticated marketing and advertising methods of tobacco companies and manufacturers of vaping equipment and flavorings.

Total abstinence appears to be the only viable solution. 

Methods using prescriptions, pills, patches, potions, and vaping all contain nicotine and should be avoided at all costs.

Drug-free methods to quit smoking should be the only avenues of pursuit.

These would include acupuncture, hypnosis, abstinence psychotherapy, behavior modification, and aversion therapy.

It’s your choice.

Make it a good one.

 

Available here

 

Juul Pod Flavors

On November 13th, Juul announced that it was suspending sales of most Juul pod flavors sold in stores, shutting down social media promotions, and tightening online sales accessibility to minors.

This action was in response to pressure from the FDA stemming from the September 12 ultimatum to prove they could keep their products away from Kids or face severe penalties.

The Investigation

In September, the FDA requested five major e-cigarette manufacturers, including Juul, to explain how they plan to combat the use of their products by minors. The FDA said it was looking into potential steps to eliminate the sale of flavored products.

Juul’s response to pressure from the FDA suggests a significant sign of retrenchment by an industry that claims to have set out to offer devices to help smokers quit but now shoulders blame for a new public health problem: nicotine addiction among nonsmoking Teens.

“Our intent was never to have youth use Juul products. But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem. We must solve it,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement.

But critics and public health advocates said the company had no choice, especially after the FDA seized documents related to marketing strategies from the company’s headquarters in October. Meanwhile, some states were also investigating whether its tactics were directly aimed at minors.

“We’re deeply concerned about the epidemic of youth use of e-cigs. Voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps that the FDA will soon take,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Director.

An agency official told USA TODAY last month that the FDA plans to ban convenience store and gas station sales of e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Stricter age-verification requirements are also planned for online sales of e-cigarettes.

The Problem

According to Dr. Rachel Boykan of Stoney Brook University School of Medicine, “Nicotine may disrupt the formation of circuits in the brain that control attention and learning, And there is a higher risk of Teens subsequently becoming tobacco smokers.”

The crux of the problem centers on what nicotine does to the teen brain. It is especially damaging in an area called the prefrontal cortex, which plays a key role in emotional control, decision-making, and impulse regulation.

Nicotine is a lifelong burden. Vape manufacturers have their hands in your pocket, distracting your thought process while continuously endangering Teens health as well as to endanger the development of critical thinking skills. .

Caroline Renzulli, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called Juul’s announcement too little too late. “Juul’s social media marketing fueled its popularity with kids,” she said. “Now that it has captured 75 percent of the e-cigarette market, Juul no longer needs to do social media marketing because its young customers are doing it for them.”

By now, students have their own vocabulary built around Juul — “juuling” has become a verb.

Students began juuling as teachers’ backs were turned. They filled school bathrooms for juuling breaks. And it appeared to  school officials that students were just diligently recharging flash drives on laptops.

Nicotine, the naturally occurring chemical in tobacco, is the addictive element that binds smokers to cigarettes and vapors to Juul and other e-cigarettes. Teenagers, whose brains are still developing, need less exposure to nicotine than adults in order to become addicted.

The Crackdown

Maura Healey, the attorney general for Massachusetts, echoed that sentiment. “Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done,” she said. “Our investigation into Juul’s practices, including if it was knowingly selling and marketing its products to young people, will continue.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA said: “Voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps the FDA will soon take. But we want to recognize actions by Juul today and urge all manufacturers to immediately implement steps to start reversing these trends.”

Under Juul’s plan, the sale of tobacco, mint and menthol flavored products would continue in retail stores. Juul said those products “mirror what is currently available for combustible cigarettes”.

To prevent some users from reverting to menthol cigarettes, Juul said it would keep mint Juul pods as well as tobacco and menthol flavors for its devices in retail stores.

Moving Forward

In August, Gottlieb told USA TODAY that the FDA was weighing the benefits of e-cigarettes in helping adults quit smoking against the risk to young people who become addicted to tobacco through vaping.

Many Smokers prefer flavored e-liquid when they are trying to quit smoking, but Gottlieb said that he was prepared to make vaping less attractive to adults if it reduces the harm to Teens.

Dr. Gottlieb also said the agency could target “cartridge-based products,” such as the USB-sized Juul, which is favored by teenagers and sold in convenience stores. Adults tend to use bulkier “open tank” vaping products, he said.

JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns said the company “will work proactively with FDA in response to its request.”

Available Here

 

 

Great American Smokeout


Great American Smokeout

On November 18,1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully prompted nearly one million Smokers to quit for the day. That California event marked the first Great American Smokeout. It was deemed a huge success.

The idea caught on and over the past 42 years since that time, the Smokeout has expanded to encompass and include Smokers worldwide. Awareness of the smoking problem and spotlighting the imperative need to quit smoking was a boon to Smokers everywhere.

Attention had been levied on a previously much ignored health problem. Only now could progress be made.

Approximately 38 million American adults still smoke, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. The Smokeout challenges people to quit on that day or to use the day to make a plan to quit.

Most of those who only use that day to simply make a plan to quit will fail to do so. Most “Plan to make a plan” and most of the remaining will actually construct a plan, but will fail to follow through. The needed commitment was missing.

While the cigarette smoking rate in the United States has dropped significantly, from 42% in 1965 to less than 15.5% in 2016, the gains have been inconsistent. These are overall figures attributed to a compilation of all sources and methods.

In 1978, I attended a class given by the American Cancer Society (ACS). At that time, they offered only behavior modification as a technique to quit smoking.

There were 14 people in my class. Only one person stopped (No, it wasn’t me), but he relapsed after less than a week. I thought “If the American Cancer Society can’t help me, who can ?” …. I was at the end of my rope.

Hooked and helpless and nowhere to turn…. What now?

I persisted and in December 1979, I met a man who taught me some very interesting and effective psychological principles that I applied to my own smoking problem and I have not smoked since that day,

That was December 12,1979.

Conclusions

It was my persistence and refusal to stop trying to quit smoking that ultimately led to my success.

Certainly, many tens of thousands of people today are Ex-Smokers due to the assistance and efforts of the American Cancer Society. But what if you have an experience like the one I had in 1978 ?…. Where will you turn?… What will you do?

So what did that first Great American Smokeout in 1978 do for over one million Smokers?

It got them to stop procrastinating…. It focused on the main enemy of a Smoker: Procrastination.

Half measures will not be helpful. It takes a firm commitment and firm resolve to move forward immediately. Anything short of that firm resolve and commitment will only set up the smoker for further procrastination and ultimate failure.

“There comes a day when you realize that turning the page is the best feeling in the world – because you realize that there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.” – Author Unknown

Available Here

 

 

 

Prenatal Smoking

Studies show 15-20% of pregnant women smoke, putting themselves and their babies at risk. And over 1,000 babies in America alone die each year because their mothers smoked.

Among women who quit smoking during pregnancy, 40% started smoking again within 6 months after delivery, thereby once again putting the newborn infant at risk.

Impact of Smoking during Pregnancy

Maternal smoking during pregnancy contributes to a variety of infant health problems present at birth as well as long-lasting behavioral and neuro-developmental impairments and remains arguably one of the most important modifiable risk behaviors that an expectant mother can engage in.

Smoking during and after pregnancy also creates a risk factor of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is an infant death for which a cause of the death cannot be found.

Babies born to women who smoke are also more likely to have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate.

What Causes this Behavior ?

Nicotine is what makes you become addicted to smoking. When you smoke during pregnancy, chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar pass through the placenta and umbilical cord into your baby’s bloodstream.

Smoking during pregnancy is bad for you and your baby. Quitting smoking, even if you’re already pregnant, can make a big difference in your baby’s life.

Can I Switch to Vaping?

Although the aerosol of e-cigarettes generally has fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe to use during pregnancy.

Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. Also, some of the flavorings used in e-cigarettes may be harmful to a developing baby.

So yes, I do discourage switching to Vaping because it is not only very dangerous to the fetus, it also has the potential to impede the Smoker trying to stop rather than to help.

Remember, vaping is about “Harm Reduction”. Whether the harm is reduced or elevated, pregnant mothers are most likely interested in not exposing their babies to any harm at all, regardless of the level of that harm.

Furthermore, many Smokers trying to quit will vape instead, only to return to smoking later, thereby suffering extreme disappointment at their failure and losing their motivation to try again.

Conclusions

Pregnancy is a great time for you to quit smoking. You will feel better and have more energy to go through your pregnancy. You will also reduce your risks of future health problems.

This is a wonderful opportunity not only to reduces risks of harm to the baby, but also to reap the wonderful benefits of not smoking for yourself.

As stated above, among women who quit smoking during pregnancy, 40% started smoking again within 6 months after delivery, thereby once again putting the newborn infant at risk.

Mom needs a safe method to stop smoking that does not involve drugs of any kind. That means no prescriptions, patches pills, or potions as well as nicotine itself.

That also means that she needs a method that will enable her to not start again after the birth of her child.

At Stop for Life, we can deliver on these promises.

All you need is the decision to get started.

Available Here

Quit Smoking without Willpower

Most Smokers find it difficult to stop smoking simply because of the method that they used to stop.

Quitting smoking does not have to be difficult. We unnecessarily make it that way.

What does the process of quitting smoking without willpower involve?

The persistent message Smokers tell themselves is that nicotine addiction is stubborn and nearly impossible to overcome without some kind of external pharmaceutical aid…. This sets you up for failure.

It conditions you to believe that you are up against a hopeless monumental and insurmountable task.

It takes away your power.

Such reasoning might well disempower smokers and inhibit attempts to quit through anticipatory, self-defeating fatalism.

Willpower and Repression

“Willpower” is another name for Repression… Repression occurs when we experience a desire to smoke and attempt to deal with it by trying to “get rid of it”…

That creates a recipe for failure right from the start.

Repression occurs when we get the urge and then, while the urge is upon us, we tell ourselves that we don’t want to smoke. Simply stated, the human brain knows that we are lying to ourselves, so it rejects that info and we end up smoking.

Such techniques may work for some people in the short run, but fighting gets tiring. The repressed urges persist while the short term motivation used does not.

The smoker tires quickly and caves in after the short term success (if any).

Repression rarely works, but it is the method most smokers go to because they fear facing the urges to smoke.

Three Concepts

The three concepts identified as important to Smokers who quit were: Motivation, Willpower and Commitment.

Motivation, very often widely discussed, has only one clear meaning… Simply stated, it is “the reason for quitting”.

Willpower was perceived to be a method of quitting, a strategy to counteract cravings or urges, or a personal quality or trait fundamental to quitting success.

Commitment was equated to seriousness or resoluteness. Distinguished from Willpower, it was perceived as key to successful quitting.

Commitment also had somewhat different dimensions and characteristics, in that, it appeared that Commitment could be built upon as the quit plan progressed.

Behavioral Change

Gary A. Giovino, a nicotine researcher at the State University of New York at Buffalo, said as helpful as medication can be, people who really want to quit smoking also have to be willing to modify their lifestyle.

“People need to focus on behavioral change …, they need the right skills and knowledge and social support. They need a plan,” said Giovino, a professor and chair of his school’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, who quit smoking 40 years ago.

While I do not hold with the view that drugs are necessary to quitting smoking, I wholeheartedly agree with the Professor in that a change in our behavioral approach is key to success.

We need to stop believing the Willpower illusion.

Alternatives

This also means that we will want to quit smoking without drugs.

Furthermore, it is my belief that Abstinence Psychotherapy is highly effective because it treats the fallacious thinking that has caused the distorted approach.

It teaches an alternative method that requires neither willpower nor drugs.to engage any later urges or “Triggers” that may occur.

It does not support Repression but rather, teaches tools and concepts that enable the successful Ex-Smoker to remain stopped under any and all conditions for as long as he or she chooses.

Rather than set up a long hard uphill battle with smoking urges, why not remove the built-in failure of Repression?

Why not learn how to deal with the problem directly rather than trying to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist ?

Develop the right skills and the right knowledge.

Stop fighting and start enjoying being an Ex-Smoker.

The Winner’s Circle awaits.

Available Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstinence Psychotherapy and Smoking

What is Abstinence Psychotherapy and how does it relate to stopping smoking?

Abstinence Psychotherapy is a phrase that I coined to describe and differentiate this treatment from other solutions available on the smoking cessation market today.

Statistics show that seven out of ten smokers want to stop, but believe that they can’t . This erroneous belief often prevents the Smoker from ever trying to quit. When this happens, they are beaten before they even begin.

What amazes most Smokers who use this technique is the comparative ease with which the Smoker can stop smoking without employing willpower. It empowers the Smoker to stop smoking and stay stopped under any and all conditions.

How A/P was Developed

Abstinence Psychotherapy came out of the development of certain ideas engineered to assist the Smoker to effectively treat the psychological dependency and enable the user to remain smoke-free over the long term.

In the beginning, knowing that the problem centers in the Smoker’s mind, I took a close look at hypnosis as well as a few theories of psychotherapy and how they applied to smoking cessation. One of those was the concept of cognitive psychotherapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps Smokers understand the thoughts and feelings that influence their own smoking behaviors.

These least recognized thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the most dangerous of all because most people don’t even know it’s there.

I needed to understand how psychological effects create the breeding ground for an addiction, that for many Smokers, was almost impossible to break.

This was how I managed to stop my own lifetime of heavy smoking without living in fear of cravings.

Why A/P was Developed

Quitting means quitting nicotine. Nicotine is the drug that keeps Smokers smoking. The goal is to stop using nicotine.

Using alternative forms such as NRT or Vaping simply delays the inevitable. It can and usually does cause relapse, as well.

If nicotine was the sole culprit why did nicotine therapies not work?… Wasn’t it because the problem went deeper ?

Wasn’t it also because we tried to use Nicotine to wean ourselves off of Nicotine?… Isn’t that simply an act of desperation due to having nowhere else to turn?

Wasn’t the problem based in our own personal thought processes?

And then there were the Expectant Mothers. How were they supposed to stop smoking without using nicotine and run the risk of harming themselves or the Baby?

Sure, there was hypnosis and behavior modification, but success rates were mostly very dismal.

A better solution was definitely needed that would not only empower the Smoker to stop smoking drug-free, but to also enable him or her to stay stopped for as long as the Smoker chose to do so.

Why A/P Works

Most Smokers find it difficult to stop smoking simply because of the method that they used to stop. Quitting smoking does not have to be difficult. We unnecessarily make it that way.

Most Smokers mistakenly believe that in order to successfully quit smoking, they must develop an unbreakable Willpower.

“Willpower” is another name for Repression… Repression rarely works, but it is the method most Smokers go to because they fear facing the urges to smoke. Conquering those fears is not as difficult as we unnecessarily make it.

Repression occurs when we get the urge and then, while the urge is upon us, we tell ourselves that we don’t want to smoke. The human brain knows that we are lying to ourselves, so it rejects that information and we end up smoking.

Instead, we should consider the powerful effect of learned behaviors on smoking habits and cravings.

On the other hand, Abstinence Psychotherapy is highly effective because it treats the fallacious thinking that has caused the distorted approach. In regard to smoking, your psychology is not unique.

This is especially true when those who have an abstinence goal of quitting forever are compared with those who have other goals such as reduced or intermittent use or acceptance that relapse will occur despite abstinence attempts.

Those selecting an abstinence goal of quitting forever are more likely to stop smoking than those who select other abstinence goals.

Conclusions

According to Dr Timothy Baker ,  guidelines need to recommend practical, problem-solving counseling that helps a smoker recognize danger situations, in terms of events, feelings or activities that increase the risk of relapse, and develop coping skills to deal with those situations.

Abstinence Psychotherapy negates the need to prepare for every eventuality, which is impossible.

With other methods, what happens when you run into a “Trigger” that you didn’t anticipate?… What tools do you have?…

Isn’t a reversal of learned poor behaviors a much better option?

The unrecognized and unplanned for emotional addiction is the reason that most other cessation methods do not work with any efficacy or longevity. They only treat the Nicotine addiction without treating the root causes of smoking.

At Stop for Life, we teach you an effective method to stop smoking for as long as you choose to be an Ex-Smoker.

You won’t need Willpower either.

You only need to make a commitment to yourself and get busy applying what you have learned.

 

Available Here

 

 

 

Procrastination and Smoking

Procrastination is a common denominator among smokers; they just never seem to find the right moment to stop smoking.

The overwhelming majority of Smokers who say they want to quit will actually take several years to make their first move towards really stopping smoking.

Decision without action leads to stagnation….

Stagnation leads to failure.

In the case of a Smoker, it also leads to lots of needless suffering.

Causes of Procrastination

This chronic procrastination will usually come from one of two sources.

First is a lack of awareness of the problem…

This may sound obvious, but if you do not accept that Smoking is an addiction that harms your health and that you need to stop smoking right away, then you will join the 97% of Smokers that will keep on smoking until it is too late.

Second is simply an attitude…

If you say you can do something, then you can…. And if you say you can’t do it, of course, you can’t.

So, in order to make the decision to quit smoking, you need the right “Yes, I can” attitude.

We have all experienced procrastination — some more than others. And there also are the chronic procrastinators who avoid any difficult task and deliberately look for a “reason” to put off taking action.

The Good News is that it is possible to overcome procrastination, with determined effort and self-control.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind

Our subconscious mind is like a 5-year-old child and thinks in pictures… It is all about feelings. We can literally change those feelings by visualizing the desired long-term effect and impact by acting now.

Our subconscious mind represses memories and any unresolved negative emotions. We need to understand what the underlying reason is as to why we are procrastinating.

According to Dr Friedemann Schaub, contrary to popular belief, procrastinating isn’t necessarily a sign of laziness or lack of motivation. The most common reasons why people procrastinate are overwhelm, lack of confidence and fear of potential failure, judgement or any other kind of discomfort. In this regard procrastination is a survival pattern, which is created by the subconscious mind to use evasion, denial, and ignorance to keep us safe.

Knowing this about the subconscious mind, it’s fair to say that a lack of self-confidence plays a big part in why we procrastinate.

We may doubt our ability to successfully stop smoking, often by replaying in our minds those failed attempts to stop smoking that we may have experienced in the past.

That, fueled with feelings, creates behaviors that are not conducive to our desired outcome. The subconscious mind is motivationally very powerful, having a direct line to that portion of the brain where our basic emotions arise.

Wisdom vs Knowledge

A Smoker intellectually knows he/she shouldn’t smoke, but that knowledge hasn’t yet penetrated to become Wisdom—to become, in essence, action.

 

Action never arises from knowledge alone. It arises from knowledge that is believed.

What, then, is the difference between those three Smokers who heed their doctor’s warnings and for the first time truly understand that it’s time for them to quit and the other 97 who agree they should quit, who may even want to quit, but repeatedly fail in their attempts?

The answer lies not just in what we believe but also in the degree to which we believe it. Deeply held belief introduces a critical ingredient necessary for change.

That critical ingredient is motivation.

On average only 3 out of every 100 smokers told by their doctors to quit will succeed in establishing long-term abstinence.

Despite our preconceived expectations, most Smokers won’t listen. Clearly, we have no way of predicting which 3 out of every 100 will in fact listen and act on it.

Some people can digest intellectual knowledge and translate it into deep and motivating belief, They must embrace and nurture the belief that they must change their behavior despite all the obstacles—and some simply can’t.

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

I believe that there are two possible approaches to the practice of smoking cessation. The first involves diligently providing appropriate advice about smoking cessation. I have endevoured to do that throughout this site.

The second approach, however, involves encouraging Smokers to challenge their deeply held beliefs that, in my view, obstruct their ability to change maladaptive behaviors.

Smokers know that they need to quit, but feeling that quitting is such a difficult hurdle that it is nearly impossible is what, for them, really makes it impossible….

And that is part of the problem with the addiction: It distorts reality up to the point where you truly feel that there is no way you can beat it.

Nothing holds you back more than your own insecurities.

Take responsibility for your own success and happiness.

Solutions

Successfully quitting smoking involves becoming interested in the beliefs Smokers hold that keep them trapped in harmful behavior patterns.

It involves embracing a view of the human mind that recognizes all behavior arises out of belief .

If we could only help Smokers find their way to wisdom, their lives might then become governed by actions that lead to happiness and joy rather than pain and suffering.

Embrace your fears, they no longer serve you any purpose.

Dedication is key here. Keep at it and see the Magic that you can create.

The Winner’s Circle is waiting.

Available Here


 

 

 

 

 

Smoking Addiction Recovery

So one morning we woke up and suddenly found ourselves helplessly addicted to nicotine…. Our world had changed…. Nicotine is our new Master… What now?

What causes smoking addiction and what can we do about it?… Where can we find smoking addiction help? What do we know about smoking addiction recovery?

Let’s be clear. We are talking about nicotine addiction recovery, regardless of the vehicle used to ingest the nicotine.

How this Happens

When nicotine enters the brain, it causes a release of chemicals, most notably Dopamine and Serotonin. These are known as “Feel Good” drugs.

The euphoric effect is short lived and we begin to withdraw from the drugs. This means we need more nicotine in order to get more Serotonin and Dopamine. This causes a constant up & down yo-yo effect.… This is addiction.

Over time, chemical changes occur in our brains. The addiction becomes further entrenched and our thinking becomes warped. Our sickened brains now tell us lies to justify continuing harmful behavior, despite clearly dangerous consequences.

If the Smoker/Vapor is under the age of 25, this danger is further magnified because the human brain is still developing.

One of those untruths is a denial that we are addicted and another is a denial of the power of nicotine.

Vapors very often go so far as to even call nicotine “weak”, “harmless”, and “non-addictive”.

Denial

This denial is further reinforced by Smokers who turn to Vaping “to quit smoking”. What they are really engaging in is Harm Reduction…. Harm Reduction may be somewhat beneficial, but until the Nicotine-Serotonin-Dopamine cycle is broken, we have not honestly and truly “stopped smoking”.

Harm Reduction means “less harmful”.. It does not mean “safe”. We are not safe until we truly break the addiction cycle.

The amount of nicotine in any particular brand of cigarettes tends to be fairly consistent, therefore “controlled”… Not so with Vaping.

Vaping allows for much stronger hits of nicotine than cigarettes and the frequency with which a Vapor “takes a hit” usually will far surpass a Smoker’s frequency of intake.

E-cigs have a very real potential to deliver far more nicotine than a cigarette. That means more Dopamine is released…

It’s really the Dopamine that we as Smokers and Vapors crave… This is the root cause of our addiction…

To make matters worse, the Vapor has the additional ability to really crank up the Dopamine thereby further deepening the addiction.

Temporary Withdrawal

Our biggest obstacle to quitting smoking is ourselves…. As soon as we decide to stop smoking, the addiction rears it’s ugly head and immediately tries to talk us out of the decision to stop…

This causes deep conflict within ourselves and it is this very conflict is what causes the temporary withdrawal from tobacco that we must go through in order to successfully stop smoking.

The withdrawal occurs due to the deep conflict that a Smoker goes through when trying to stop. That conflict will manifest itself in a variety of ways and will be dependent on each person’s individual experience.

Every time you begin to withdraw from the last cigarette that you smoked, you will feel uncomfortable due to nicotine withdrawal. As an active Smoker, you will relieve that discomfort by lighting up.

Over time, your addicted mind will perceive and treat that relief as pleasure…. Relief of discomfort is not pleasure.

Symptoms

The symptoms of temporary withdrawal will vary from person to person.

The thing to remember about temporary withdrawal is that it is only an uncomfortable experience. It is not “pain” or “agony”. It is only uncomfortable and it is definitely temporary.

Conclusions

Smoking is not a habit… It is an addiction.

That is the bold truth and it is true about you as a Smoker.

Nicotine binds to receptors in the brain to release Dopamine and Serotonin… These “Feel Good” drugs are what we really crave and, over time, they warp and distort our thinking.

In order to successfully and permanently stop smoking or vaping, it is essential that we retrain that thinking.

There is nothing at all pleasurable about smoking.

The choice is inescapable… Delaying the choice IS a choice… It is a choice to continue to smoke.

We can choose between the permanent state of addiction and all of its attendant consequences, or we can choose to face the unreasonable fear of withdrawal and deal with it for 48-72 hours and have permanent recovery from the addiction.

It’s a very low price to pay for all those fantastic benefits from stopping smoking.

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Causes of Smoking Addiction

It probably started innocently enough. It may have started as an impressionable Teen. We want to “Be Cool” in front of our friends. We thought it made us look “Grown Up”. So we continued to smoke with seeming impunity.

Then we woke up one day and suddenly we “Needed to have it”….

We had crossed the line to addiction.

How Did This Happen?

The causes of smoking are in our thinking. It is not the nicotine. The nicotine simply releases the brain chemical Dopamine into our system.

Dopamine is known as the “Feel Good” drug. We crave the Dopamine. The nicotine attaches itself to brain receptors and releases the Dopamine.

The constant release of Dopamine has changed our brain chemistry and the way we think about it. This is why you see Smokers relapse after long periods of not smoking…. The nicotine is gone after 72 hours… It isn’t the nicotine.

Many Smokers relapse after long periods of not smoking because they have not treated the cause of the problem. They have only treated the symptom.

You have not “stopped smoking” until you kick the nicotine that causes you to crave another dose of Dopamine. This is why Vaping and NRT therapies have such poor success rates.

Using NRT of any kind (including vaping) is an attempt to get the benefits of not smoking without dealing with the mental process necessary to truly stopping. It simply amounts to little more than switching addictions.

                

By the time an individual grows dependent on their substance(s) of choice, both their body and mind is reliant on the substances, which has now become full-blown addiction.

Smoking Addiction Symptoms

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance (DABDA) are the 5 stages of drug addiction recovery.

Yes, these are also the 5 stages of Grief. We actually grieve the loss of smoking just as we grieve the loss of a Loved One.

This is the Insanity of Denial and the insanity of Addiction.

Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that keeps you smoking. Nicotine that gets into your body through cigarettes activates structures normally present in your brain called receptors.

When these receptors are activated, they release a brain chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel good. This pleasure response to dopamine is a big part of the nicotine addiction process.

Over time, as you continue to smoke, the number of nicotine receptors in your brain increases. Addicted Smokers have billions more of these receptors than do Non-Smokers.

Denial and Addiction

Throwing away cigarettes and ashtrays, etc is of no help whatsoever…

I learned something about Denial and that only Honesty will defeat Denial. Until I could get Honest, I couldn’t recover from my own addiction. This will become a key concept for you, too.

As Smokers, we lie to ourselves continually. ( This is necessary to continuing the poor behavior,) We do not want to face the truth and we do not want to take responsibility for our own actions.

An even more important reason lies in the psychological damage we have done to ourselves. If we throw away the cigarettes, we do not smoke only for as long as there are no cigarettes to smoke.

As soon as they become available, we smoke because we have not trained the mind on “How to Not Smoke”.

To make stopping smoking even more difficult, the brain receptors can be conditioned to expect nicotine in certain situations long after you have stopped smoking.

For example, if you regularly smoke when you drink alcohol, or when you are in a stressful situation, or after a meal, the nicotine receptors in your brain anticipate the dopamine rush from nicotine at that time.

These “trigger” situations can cause intense cravings for a cigarette, even if you have stopped smoking for several months or even many years.

The good news is that once you stop smoking entirely, the number of nicotine receptors in your brain will eventually return to normal.

Solutions

An approach that uses no drugs should be the preferred approach. It is best to limit those choices to Behavior Modification, Hypnosis, Acupuncture, or Abstinence Psychotherapy.

Since we cannot ever control what might or might not trigger an urge, evasion of the problem usually fails, sooner or later.

Only by treating the errant thinking are we able to successfully stop smoking in the long term.

Support and guidance from a tobacco dependence treatment program can help you learn how to change your thinking and your subsequent behavior in ways that increase your chances of staying smoke-free.

An effective long term solution is to directly treat the faulty thinking so that we can be at peace with ourselves and enjoy being Ex-Smokers under any and all circumstances.

Let’s meet in the Winner’s Circle.

 

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