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Old 12-07-2015, 04:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I've stopped the drug but I'm filled with anger and fear


I have a problem relating to addiction that I am having trouble with and I think you guys can support me. Basically it's to do with tobacco and smoking but it's a bit complicated and if I put the thread in the smoking forum, I'm not sure people there can help.

So I came into recovery about five years ago. Since then I have been working the steps, going to AA regularly and my life has changed enormously. I have drunk on about four occasions this year the last time being nine days ago. And I feel that cigarettes were the trigger for me picking up a drink again.

I had smoked for more than 20 years but decided I wanted to give up when I joined AA. It took a few attempts but I successfully did quit smoking in the summer of 2015. Trust me, that's improved my life a lot: I have much better health, I've saved a lot of money, my relationships are better and it's also helped me address my drinking and other issues.

But the problem is that I can't stand it when I see or smell people smoke now. It's making me feel really disgusted and so much so that I tore the picture of someone smoking out of a magazine the other day. When I see people smoking outside buildings such as my workplace I sometime go up to them and appeal to them to stop but of course this achieves nothing apart from making feel impotent and frustrated.

So it came to a head nine days ago because when I came out of the gym, someone in front of me on the stree lit up a cigarette and I got a mouthful of smoke. I shouted at them and then swore back at me. When I got I home I was seething with anger and even though I'd been at AA the day before, I was soon down the pub getting drunk. I also bought a packet of cigarettes and smoked three outside the pub.

I felt absolutely awful about this the next day because all it did was make my clothes smell of smoke and left me with a hangover. The thing is, I am obsessed by other people's smoking. Everytime I step outside the house, it's on my mind the entire time. A friend said we should go to a picnic next summer and I immediately thought I can't because someone might smoke there (in six months time).

My guess is that it's a mixture of fear and anger that has become a kind of addiction.

So, what I have decided to do is this. I'll share about it here and I will read people's replies regularly for the next two weeks. Let's see if I can get this obstacle to shift with your support.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi endless, when something's bothering you to the extent that it's endangering your sobriety and smoke-free status, then it's really important you get to the bottom of it.
I suggest you start by discussing with your doctor who will understand your frustration completely (imagine how they feel when patients won't stop smoking). Your doctor can refer you to a counsellor, which might cost a bit but much less than if you start smoking and drinking again.
Drinking 4 times in a month pretty much puts you back where you started, because all the receptors in your brain are training themselves to crave again. Remember when every time you needed something in your life your go-to was alcohol? Well you're heading back there fast.
I could go on about looking after your side of the street, but you know this. You just need to get to the bottom of these strong reactions to smoking. I don't think it will be too hard with the help of a professional.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure shouting at people in the street or going to tell people at your work to stop smoking is healthy......sounds like your projecting your issues and struggles with smoking on to these other people. Out in the fresh air they are fully entitled do smoke as they wish, people need to be allowed to find their own path and you will never get anything but derision by forcing your opinions on them.

I also quit smoking 5 years ago now so do understand how you are struggling. It sounds like your drinking was an excuse for you to smoke so after you could say I only did it because I was drunk.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Dear Feeling Great

Thanks for that thoughtful response. Just to clarify, I have drunk about four or five times in the past year, not in the past month. But you're right - the smoking issue has become an excuse to get drunk and getting drunk has become an excuse to smoke.

It's also sound advice that the money spent on professsional help is small in comparison to picking up the addicitons again. I actually do have an addiction counsellor and he's been incredibly helpful but he smokes and this makes me feel he hasn't really broken a major addiction in his own life.

I don't think a docor is the best place to start with this but I think I can probably seek some other professional. I have a feeling people can do courses to overcome obsessions and phobias, and this might be what's needed here.

Highwind, you're right. Scolding smokers gets me nowhere. They are addicts and don't care what a non addict says to them.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I loathe smoking ,
one aunt died from cancer 3 months ago because of it and mum has C.O.P.D. which will surely kill her.

My recovery , my not smoking and drinking is something i can do something about .
I cannot control others, what they do is theirs , they own it and my opinion is not solicited by them so i tend to keep it to myself.

Dealing with anger , resentment and frustration is whats left that i have to tackle , those are mine and i can do something about them . You can do something about yours too yes ? you have the tools ?

Bestwishes, m
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Mecanix. Thanks for your understanding. Look on one level, I know what you say is absolutely right. It's the process of letting it go that I find so hard. I know in my head that I need to ignore it and just worry about my own recovery. But there's got to be some process here of getting from the place I am at the moment - full of fear and anger about it - to the place I want to be, a quiet shrug of the shoulders and a sense that everyone has their own journey. Intellectually I know where I want to get to but I'm stuck in an obsession about it which is eating away at my serenity all the time.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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glad your seeing the problem and very glad ya see the excuses for the behavior.
reading through your posts,endless, some lines in the big book came to mind, the first one being:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
take 2 words in that sentence,flip their position and another pretty true statement materializes:
Thoroughly have we seen a person fail who has rarely followed our path.

then heres a few more that came to mind:
We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not.

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody.....

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.

This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work.

Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.

It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.


and the major one that came to my mind:

It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

where has your HP been during all this?

i get the assumption you got sober when ya came into aa 5 years ago but this year has been the only drinking in the last 5 years?
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Dear Feeling Great

Thanks for that thoughtful response. Just to clarify, I have drunk about four or five times in the past year, not in the past month. But you're right - the smoking issue has become an excuse to get drunk and getting drunk has become an excuse to smoke.

It's also sound advice that the money spent on professsional help is small in comparison to picking up the addicitons again. I actually do have an addiction counsellor and he's been incredibly helpful but he smokes and this makes me feel he hasn't really broken a major addiction in his own life.

I don't think a docor is the best place to start with this but I think I can probably seek some other professional. I have a feeling people can do courses to overcome obsessions and phobias, and this might be what's needed here.

Highwind, you're right. Scolding smokers gets me nowhere. They are addicts and don't care what a non addict says to them.
You're seeing an addiction counsellor who smokes? Wow. Talk about someone in the wrong profession. Can you find another one who might inspire a bit more confidence
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Old 12-07-2015, 03:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The inner addict never ceases to amaze me with the bewildering arrays of ways it can get us to think drinking is a solution.

People smoke. I don't have to like it, but I can't abuse people in the street either.

It sounds like an vastly inappropriate level of anger and obsession to me - and anger is an issue you've posted about before, so counselling should help...but like OT suggests I'd find another counsellor.

D
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Guys that's helpful. You're right about this become an issue which creates an inappropriate level of anger for me. It may some time to sort out a new counsellor of course. I wonder if there's a book or something I can read about overcoming obsession.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Read the first few words on page 112 of the Big Book - it really helps, friend.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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endless, I'm glad you're here... there are many of us, myself included that portray the issues that you are discussing... anger and resentment can kill a person just as quickly as alcohol... I have witnesses several double digit AA's whose anger manifested (no to take others inventories) and caused serious health concerns (myself included) and death... as for the books on obsession... there are plenty... plenty... I got into the book reading, searching and over analyzing, consulted with a dozen therapists over 20 yrs, some court ordered and some truly asking for help... and what I found was an old timer that I respected (and believe me, after relapsing 30 yrs ago today and being a chronic relapser for a better part of that who learned to fan the flames of anger and resentment of those "succeeding" in sobriety) ... he asked me three questions... 1. what step are you working ?... 2. whats your sponsor say ?.. and 3. do you share this with your home group friends over coffee ?... well after I got over resenting him.... I began with those goals, and began to climb out of the abyss I had created... For me, I started with the stories in the back of the big book (which was easier that real ppl) to begin to relate... and I found that I'm not that unique in all of this... and today, I am trudging that road to happy destiny, one day ata time, plug in the jug, not taking myself too seriously (another obsession) and living... happy, joyous and freefer today... thank you for your honesty and willingness to search.. those are critical elements both !
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Old 12-07-2015, 05:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Smoking is one of those addictions that can affect others, the whole passive smoking side has lad to banning smoking indoors where I come from, bars, restaurants, public buildings etc, even recently it's now illegal to smoke in a car if there is a child in that car, the potential affects on others not only the smoker can make it a real issue.

However with my addiction glasses on, like anything else, what can be done with another person's addiction?

Unless people want to change, they aren't going to, and whilst smoking is legal people are allowed to, similar I would say to having to deal with alcohol at every corner and on TV, it's everywhere also, but after a while you just zone out and ignore it all.

We have to achieve some kind of relative peaceful existence with others, regardless of what they deem appropriate or how they wish to conduct their lives, and that includes both alcohol and tobacco!!
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Old 12-07-2015, 05:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I quit drinking and smoking at the same time and while it did not bother me much to see others drink the secondhand smoke killed me. It was like I immediately became overly sensitive to the smell of it. It used to **** me off to see others smoke too, it gets better. I don't mean to miniMize what youre feeling at all- the anger could even be a withdrawal symptom. I myself used hypnosis to quit, but I honestly only belive that worked because I wanted it to work. I have heard nothing but good things about Allen carrs book, perhaps you could check that out at the library? It's helped tons of people to quit. These are just suggestions, there are tons of options out there, Im sure you'll find something that is a good match for you. As for anger in general, there is always mindfulness practices or meditation, and my favorite; cardiovascular exercise , it will help clear your body of toxins too.
Best of luck,
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi Endlesspatience.

I find that a lot of the time, letting go and letting God is the only thing that will help me to be accepting and return to an undisturbed state. I work in a special school with teenagers, and find myself needing (as a matter of urgency) to get back to a state of serenity quickly on a daily basis, not to mention in traffic and when dealing with my drunk OH, and other irritants Not sure which step you are currently on, but at the moment the Step 10 prayer is a massive, massive help to me...

STEP 10 PRAYER:
God, please help me Watch for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment and Fear. When these crop up in me, help me to immediately ask you to remove them from me and help me discuss these feelings with someone. God, help me to quickly make amends if I have harmed anyone and help me to resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can Help. Help me to be Loving and Tolerant of everyone today.

(That is along with the serenity prayer of course.)

Sandy B has some great advice about getting undisturbed in this recording, which I found to be a massive help ... Sandy B Steps 10-11 Stateline Retreat Primm Nevada 2006 | RecoveryAudio.org

Hope you find some serenity with this soon.

BB.
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:40 AM   #16 (permalink)
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This is great guys. Thanks for offering some insights into what's going on here.

So to summarise the practical suggestions:

1. Work the steps, especially Step 10 and think about how that works in terms of the Step 10 prayer which Beccybean helpfully posted.

2. Discuss it with my sponsor

3. Talk about it with my AA home group over coffee

4. Mindfulness or meditation

5. Cardiovascular exercise

6. Read Allen Carr's book the Easy Way to Give Up Smoking

7. Read the Big Book, specifically page 112 and the stories in the back.

And big thanks to Greens for sharing that he/she had the same problem but has found it much diminished now.

So that gives me a way to work on this. I appreciate your support.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
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endless, i hope you have been honest with your sponsor about the drinking,which has me believing it would be very wise to start at step one.


The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:27 AM   #18 (permalink)
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OK I did a couple of the suggestions. I read the BBook, read the Alan Carr smoking book again and did some exercise at the gym. I feel calmer about things than yesterday.

I also called my sponsor and we will try to meet on Friday evening.

It's just little steps at this stage.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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OK I did a couple of the suggestions. I read the BBook, read the Alan Carr smoking book again and did some exercise at the gym. I feel calmer about things than yesterday.

I also called my sponsor and we will try to meet on Friday evening.

It's just little steps at this stage.
I think little steps are good. My experience of giving up smoking was far smoother than yours but the last time I stopped drinking I was an absolute nightmare. I was so, so resentful of anyone that was drinking. I remember going to see family and just staring at my dad's glass of red wine and really feeling this rush of anger at him.
You're doing what you can to address it and I think finding a decent counselor would be a good option.
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Old 12-09-2015, 03:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
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So my plan today on this is to do a bit of reading, prayer and meditation this morning. I will go to the gym later. I will also avoid places near my home where I know smokers hang out.
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