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Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?

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Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?

Old 01-24-2013, 09:42 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
 
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Not me, TheEnd. If I picked up a smoke, the Jones would be on like Donkey Kong. Same for the booze. Def same for the Benzos. I do not ingest any of them.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:18 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TheEnd
Sounds pretty simple, cut and dry. So why do you belong to an addiction recovery website if it was so simple?
I know your question was directed to Itchy, but my answer is that SR doesn't keep me from drinking. I don't drink. ever. How people go about quitting is fascinating to me. I like to read about others' life changes, and to share mine. Having been there, having known the darkness, I can't help but feel happy to see others walk free, by any method.
Also, because I have concerns about recoveryism in our society, I also like to have discussions related to this. I think that the addicted should be presented with as many options as possible and treated as if they are capable. I try to do my part toward that.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:25 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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I believe it is all about making a decision, When you decided to stop smoking deep in your heart you were sincere and followed what you had decided to do. Addiction has an effect alright but I think you can kick the habit if you make up your mind that you have had enough. Think of the behavior as negative and the side effects it has are catastrophic.This will help you kick it.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:02 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by TheEnd View Post
Sounds pretty simple, cut and dry. So why do you belong to an addiction recovery website if it was so simple?
I am passing it forward. SR doesn't keep me from drinking either. I have more than two years not smoking or drinking, with a wife who drinks and smokes at home in front of me, as I said it was fine. Not as a test, but because I was done. I am never going back to drinking in the mornings to stop the shakes and sometimes twice when I puked the first shots in my coffee and had to keep trying until I kept it down. I am never going through detox or my gawd awful PAWS that lasted six months. I am never going to wonder whether and how much the damage would heal, only to find many more permanent damages each time.

Every moderator and "wheel" here are recovered or recovering from alcohol, drugs or both. What are we doing here? We are hollering back and telling everyone it is safe and there are no dangers, come on ahead!

I was just quit from drinking 30 plus units of alcohol from wake up to passing out at night 7 days a week, working or not, when I joined here. What are you doing here!
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:31 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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"Why would quitting alcohol be any different for me or anyone?"

What if the answer to that contained lots of things you very much didn't want to be true, but are true despite your strong desire they not be? Unless you are unusual you would ignore the differences because it would mean addressing your drinking problem would demand more of you than you'd like to give. The information is out there, but denial is a force of considerable strength.

"Is all the time I spend investigating recovery alternatives, reading articles and books, and posting and reading on forums simply making it more difficult than it needs to be?"

Nah, you're slowly observing and having to swallow the truth of what you're seeing which takes a very long time to get in any meaningful way. Of course those are actions of a sort. You're learning how well the actions of research and investigating serve you as an answer.

"Am I building alcoholism into a giant monster that will be difficult to defeat and require long-term (life-long) vigilance and struggle?"

Yes, I think you are in the process of doing that. We'd like to think it's a little fuzzy puppy but it's not.

"How much effort do the successfully sober people on the secular forum put into achieving and maintaining sobriety? How has this changed over time?"

At first a lot, then a lot more, then just a lot, and now a little less but still a lot more than I'd wish to be so. The once double decade sober failures who believed they've been fixed inspire me to continue doing what's worked for so long.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:06 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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This is a very interesting discussion and I appreciate everyone's feedback. One the one hand, I see that quitting is very straightforward. I simply make a decision to never drink again and I always stick with that decision. Quitting, no matter which program or none, will always fundamentally be a based on a personal decision of mine.

However, since alcohol lowers inhibitions, numbs emotions, and diminishes mental and physical functioning, it can result in much bigger mess being made of my life than smoking. It MAY be the case that I will need to deal with this mess to return to a state of health and not dealing with it MAY serve as motivation to push me back toward drinking, but not drinking will still be based on my decision to drink.

Finally, drinking is still socially acceptable and promoted as desirable and fun, while smoking is no longer nearly as acceptable (in the US, at least). Quitting drinking will definitely be going against the grain of society, so getting the support of others may help a person feel less like an outcast and overcome the pressure to engage in "normal" social behaviors. Not everyone will need this type of support, but there are definitely personalities that are not as comfortable blazing their own trail as others. Regardless, at the most basic, quitting drinking will still be based on my decision to quit. There is no magic or special trick that will get around that aspect.

However, whether not dealing with the mess (if I've made one) and/or not getting the support of others threatens my long-term chances at sobriety, is another question.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:52 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
What are you doing here!
I am here because for me quitting drugs and alcohol was a difficult task. I have been to multiple detoxes and to rehab, went to AA, had a therapist, you name it. I didn't flip any light switches and Shabang, "I am a non-drinker now". I needed the support of other people along my journey and now I am here to support other people on their journey. I also believe this is good for my recovery as well, taken from the 12th step of the fellowship.

When I quit drinkinkg, I had to change who I was inside and outside. I had to become a new person for this change to be effective. That's the difference for me with smoking, I didn't need to become a new person. I just needed to become a non-smoker.

I think the same thing rings true for everyone else here on some level. It's not about learning to be helpless, it is about being "helpless" on some level. If you look under the smoker's forum, there are very few threads under there. That's because of the simple reason that quitting drinking and quitting smoking are two different animals. Yes, the basic idea is there, but there is just more to it than I am able to explain.

If you just flipped a light switch and became a non-drinker, more power to you, but for me it was little different.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:01 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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I've never smoked and can't stand the habit, plus I've always felt morally superior to smokers and condemned them for not giving up. Then I realised my drinking problem was just as much an addiction and I couldn't look down on others if I wasn't willing to go the hard yards myself.
Although there were scores of reasons for giving up, that was my biggest motivator, strange as it may seem.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:31 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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I found the psycoactive/dulling effects of alcohol rather more intense than the effects from smoking, so i'm not supprised my brain threw more of a hissy fit when i decided to quit drinking than smoking .

Knowing what I'm like, I'm sure i'd find that true if i'd tried "harder" drugs .

My life is a journey of experience , i like to share and exchange experience with others who've coped with simmalar things as myself , if one peson who found alcohol the overall bad experience as i did and is aided by something i've done or said here then thats great .

I'm also aware of how complacent us humans can become and i'm aware of it in myself , so by encouraging people newly sober it reminds me of where i once was and don't want to return to . I doubt if i will go back but it's worth being proactive about such things .

Bestwishes, M
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:45 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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I feel I'm really starting to learn a lot from this forum. About people. We all have our own experiences, and different mindsets work for different people. The outcome, the important part is the same. We're sober. Yet, we argue, though some people don't like to call it that. The argument usually stems from someone taking an ever so slight, yet clever dig at what works for other people. And some people just can't seem to contain themselves. They have to throw that little dig in. Myself included, although I'm really working at healing that.

My experience with cigarettes. I picked up cigarettes in the 5th grade. Smoked about a pack every 2 days, which quickly went to a pack a day, and by the time I was in HS smoked 2 1/2 to 3 packs a day. That went on until I was 30 years old.

I tried to quit hundreds of times. I read books. I wrapped my cigarettes in charts with rubber bands. I had nicotine fixes prescribed (you needed a script back then). I bought this little computer gadget that was supposed to ween me off them. I tried smoking Carlton. And wound up breaking off the filters. I took supplements. I quit countless times, and every time lasted until about 8PM. I tried everything and anything to quit, and then I finally threw the towel in. I know this is in the secular recovery section, so I'm not looking for argument here - just my experience, I accepted it as my HPs will that for whatever reason I was meant to smoke for the rest of my life, and quit quitting. I sometimes think that acceptance, what some view as helplessness, is where some, not all of us, find the power we need to get away from the substances that kill us. It's what works for us when everything else failed. I really don't see a need to argue or take digs at that, but I've learned someone here probably will. Anyhoo...

By coincidence I moved into an apartment that had a smoker living under me dying of emphysema. Didn't really think much about it, but it was horrible hearing this guy night after night coughing till I thought it was the end for him. Eventually it was. This had no conscious effect on me and my smoking habit... but one night I was on the phone with my friend, who previously lived in the apartment. We got to talking about this guy, bla, bla, bla... my friend suggested we quit smoking right on the spot. I laughed and said sure. We both put our cigarettes out and said we'd call the next day should the urge arise. Sure as anything, next day my first break in class (was in college at the time) I was ready to light up. I dropped a quarter in a payphone, remember them , and called. I asked how he was doing, and he said "with what?" I said the smoking! He said, "Oh. I hadn't even thought about it yet." Somehow that slammed my ego against the wall and I got determined not to smoke that day. I succeeded. And then I did it another day. And another... and so on and so on....

Anyhow, my point was that my best thought out efforts couldn't save me from cigarettes. Me. Others can and DO quit all the time. It wasn't until I gave up giving up, what I guess people call learned helplessness (which has a much different connotation than powerlessness), that I found the power to finally quit. Whether that power came from inside me, or power greater than me, outside of myself really doesn't matter. The needed result was achieved.

Why am I posting this here? I guess I just want to state that there is a difference for me between helpless and powerless. And state in regard to the OP that I believe whatever works to keep one sober, can and will work to keep someone away from cigarettes - if applied. I don't think there's any difference if one believes there is a universal power greater than them, or not. What works for half the people, doesn't work for the other half. Thankfully, it just works.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:36 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Itchy
What are we doing here? We are hollering back and telling everyone it is safe and there are no dangers, come on ahead!
HOLLA!!

Joe, I find that some people are very sensitive to differing opinions. They see things as "digs" that are, in reality, not intended as such. If you have a problem with such perceived digs, maybe you could PM that person for a dialogue?

Originally Posted by jazzfish
However, whether not dealing with the mess (if I've made one) and/or not getting the support of others threatens my long-term chances at sobriety, is another question.
Yes, it is, and would likely make for a rousing discussion...
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:17 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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The end, and others, yes it is that simple to quit for all. When you said that you didn't have to chang to quit smoking that is exactly how I felt about quitting drinking. See I was never a drunk exvept accidentally, and that occasionally. I drank beer as others drink coke. Then I retired and every day was Saturday so I could start at noon. I was controlled only in that I liked a gentle buzz but not the slurry feeling and stumbling loss of motor control. So I was drinking two beers an hour from noon to midnight. That is a case of beer plus, with no drunk, just a gentle buzz. If I started to go overboard I switched to mixed drinks with just a tiny bit of scotch, a full glass of water and lime on ice. Once I dropped back to a buzz I relaxed again. This was not self control, I actually hated the drunk feeling. I stopped drinking when I had serious life decisions or problems to resolve. That did not make me superior to anybody. I found my tolerance had built to the point that it took a lot of beer wine and scotch daily just to stay somewhat functional. But I never ran away from problems with drinking, passed out in public, had blackouts, or used drinking to self medicate physical or emotional, real or imagined, deficits.

I was an addict to the substance and only wanted off it long enough to take it from there. A jump start if you will. I have never been shy, had social issues, failed in marriage or career, or met any problem I could not overcome, adapt to, or prevail over.

My body knows alcohol now and would adapt like it did when after quitting for 18 months, I tried one cigarette thinking I would be able to control it now, and was back to my then two packs a day within a week.

Yes, like non drinkers there are alcoholics that have personal, social, emotional problems. And there are alcoholics that have no issues other than self indulgance gone awry. I never let alcohol make problems for me. Granted I could and did retire early to be able to relax and continue drinking my way. Not because I could not do good work, but because it became inconvenient.

In other words there are alcoholics whose only problem is alcohol. Having removed that, I am free. I can choose to go back, but why?

But that is me. I see many who say they had to drop their pride and ego to be able to quit. I say I am completely in control of my sobriety, I am under no influence to take a drink. Nasty, smelly, do it in the dark alcohol? I am too proud to ever drink again. I have always liked me, and others. Others like me. Some don't.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:23 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Soberlicious I saw your preceding post after I wrote the subsequent post which precedes this post which is subsequent to mine and your preceding posts.

Yes, I agree. T'would indeed be rousing m'lady.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:04 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Smoking was harder for me. A lot harder.

When I quit drinking, something had switched in me. I had a moment of clarity and realised that I hated who I was, my life, everything, and I had two options: give up on life or give up drinking. I chose to stop wallowing in my depression and get on with life. I won't say I found it easy from the beginning, because I didn't, but I didn't want to drink, because I associated drinking with the past and the past was something I didn't want to relive.

Quitting smoking, and staying stopped, was and is much harder for me. I have been sober for almost 10 months, and haven't had a cigarette in almost 6 months. I don't want to drink again, the thought repulses me. But smoking is a different story. I have to put far more effort into not smoking because not drinking has (aside from certain situations such as Christmas and holidays/parties etc) required pretty much no effort at all, it takes care of itself, because I want a sober life.

I want a smoke free life, too. I just see the consequences of smoking a cigarette being far less than drinking an alcoholic beverage, which makes it harder to stay stopped, I think.

Something only just occurred to me, actually. When I quit drinking I chose to 'do it alone' aside from SR, which I found 2 months after I quit anyway. I didn't need any support because, like I said, I had no desire to drink. I had to get support to stop smoking, though - I decided to make the most of the NHS here in England and have regular meetings with the nurse at my local surgery to chat about how things were going. I didn't feel 'helpless', I just felt that I needed someone to keep me accountable, and a reason for not smoking (they check the carbon monoxide levels in your lungs) besides just because it was bad for me...

For me, the fact that you can't see immediate effects with smoking made it HARDER to quit!
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:31 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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If I build alcoholism into some eternal daily threat, that I must recommit to defeat everyday, am I setting myself up for eventual defeat?

just my experience: the "at war" metaphors and way of trying to quit never worked for me. seeing myself in a struggle with an enemy and myself as just not having the willpower strong enough but for-sure-i'm-stronger-this (or next)-time...yeah, there was always defeat. i couldn't understand it. couldn't get it until i saw i was a drunk. a totally different thing from seeing i was a smoker. being a smoker was surface stuff.
when i saw i was a drunk, ...well, ultimately i stopped fighting, then. because there was then no external threat left. i couldn't keep fighting MYSELF.

and yes, as soberlicious so eloquently points out, addiction is addiction and i could use some of the "tools" i'd used in quitting smoking for quitting drinking.
but that's all they were good for, and quitting drinking, this time, has been the easy part. other stuff is a whole different story. just my experience, and for sure i never thought i'd be saying anything like that!
Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?
re your heading : "should" seems irrelevant. it IS different. if you're an alcoholic the way i understand myself to be. which i also never thought i'd hear myself say, years ago.

seems i find that working at keeping an open mind to your own experience and being willing to let go of preconceived notions about how it will be or how it SHOULD be has been really helpful to me. maybe it will be for you, too.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:08 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by fini
if you're an alcoholic the way i understand myself to be.
Exactly! It is a difference in the fundamental premise that we each hold as to what addiction is...and how we see ourselves within that context. That's why discussion like these can leave some sensitive and defensive...because we are coming at it from completely different paradigms.

My goal is not to change anyone's mind on this. I am simply sharing what what critical to me in ending my addictions. I appreciate everyone sharing what was critical to them as well.

Itchy, I do so enjoy a rousing bit of thought provoking banter m'lord!
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:23 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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i've often compared my quitting smoking to quitting drinking.... but do not verbalize it here too much, (because gasp! then i'm not a "real" alcoholic), lol

it took me about a year to quit cigarettes, i was a 2.5 pack a day smoker...what really helped me quit was the smell....after a cigarette i tasted burned plastic, could not stand my hair smelling like smoke....i would go back and have a cigarette and blech!

same thing with my favorite old friends in the booze....my previous favorite wine now tastes like nail polish remover to me.

i'm done, i know it's bad for me and i try to remember that it would be very stupid for me to start this whole cycle over again...i'm simply too old for it.

better to be a non-drinker and enjoy my lemon tea habit.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:27 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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A "professional" perspective:

At the detox program I was in, we were not allowed caffeine or sugar, but they had frequent smoke breaks. The heroin addicts seemed to live for those breaks!

I think this thread is going very well. Just goes to show you we don't need God for a civil discussion...
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:44 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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Differences?

Yeah, for me, not so much differences exactly...

I eventually quit smoking cigs for the same reason as I originally quit alcohol: it was killing me.

I went for a routine dentist appointment, and he found the early beginnings of a possible cancerous white growth on my tongue, lower right side. That was in December 2004, and I quit early Jan 2005. I used nicotine patches for like 10 or 12 weeks and then nothing. I've been smoke free since. I was at my highest a 2-pack a day smoker. And real smoking, not lighting it and letting it burn out in the ashtray, and quickly lighting another... I smoked whatever I lit up and crushed it out when it was done.

Well, I certainly changed as the months went on without my returning to smoking. To stay off the smoking, of course I changed, lol... yeah, I changed...

Without the death-in-my-face action from drugs/alcohol, and ciggs, I would NEVER have EVER quit. Quitting became 'seriously important' to me only when dying as an insane drunk / loser was pretty well on the menu as the only entree being served, lol...

So I quit drugs (1978/79) while still drinking, quit alcohol (1981) while still smoking ciggs, and quit ciggs last (2005).
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:13 AM
  # 40 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RobbyRobot
I smoked whatever I lit up and crushed it out when it was done.
Me too, I was a "smoke it to the filter" kinda girl. Same way I drank, til it was all gone or til couldn't physically lift it to my mouth.

With booze it was life or death...with the butts, I wasn't to that point yet, but I started thinking, "Hey, I wonder if I could use the same strategies I used when I quit drinking..."

I had a pretty serious love affair with benzos too. Also a "process addiction" some would call it. With all of these it felt the same or similar. I wanted to quit, but didn't want to quit. Wanted to quit, but couldn't. The attempts to moderate were there, each couched differently according to the DOC, but there nonetheless. Upon breaking that cycle, my addictive voice messed with me to get me to engage in each of those addictions the same way. The justifications were there, the perceived triggers...same beast with a slightly different face.
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