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Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?

Old 01-24-2013, 07:25 AM
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Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?

Over 7 years ago, I quit smoking. It took many attempts, but finally I did it. One day without smoking turned into 2 days,then 2 weeks, then two months...and finally permanently. I had made the decision not to smoke, struggled through about 3 months to form a new habit, had a few urges the rest of the year, and then never really thought about it again. Why would quitting alcohol be any different for me or anyone?

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

How much effort do the successfully sober people on the secular forum put into achieving and maintaining sobriety? How has this changed over time?
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzfish
Why would quitting alcohol be any different for me or anyone?
For many, it's not different. It's the same process. I notice that it depends on how one views addiction, or "isms".
Originally Posted by jazzfish
Am I building alcoholism into a giant monster that will be difficult to defeat and require long-term (life-long) vigilance and struggle?
It's quite possible that you are.
Originally Posted by jazzfish
How much effort do the successfully sober people on the secular forum put into achieving and maintaining sobriety? How has this changed over time?
Once I made the decision, the switch flipped, it hasn't required much "effort" for me (if you mean in terms of struggling or guarding against). The effort I put in was in refining my understanding of the AV, and tweaking the ability to seperate and dismiss.

The biggest shift for me has been in learning how to deal with discomfort.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzfish View Post

Am I building alcoholism into a giant monster that will be difficult to defeat and require long-term (life-long) vigilance and struggle?
I know I did the above for a long, long time but I realize, for me, I became fear based and made my drinking into a lifelong struggle and not what it should have been, for me, which was making the permanent decision to never drink again and never change my mind. Once that was in place the switch flipped and I literally felt that shift.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzfish View Post
How much effort do the successfully sober people on the secular forum put into achieving and maintaining sobriety? How has this changed over time?
I think quantifying 'effort' is a difficult task at best. Everyone has their own experiences with what creates quality effort when applied to having successful outcomes with our challenges.

Over time my effort has absolutely changed from early on, first month or so, fighting for my very survival; to sobriety now being simply something that takes no more effort then adequately feeding, sheltering, and clothing myself might take in any ordinary day.

I'm not a slave to my sobriety, never was, never will be. Sobriety is an ends to a means for me. Sobriety is not the goal in itself, but rather the important entrance requirement to enjoy the freedoms I heartily desire and essentially need to be the whole and real me I best want to be here in the now moment.

I don't like problems becoming so big they take on nightmare proportions in my life. I enjoy my challenges being tailored to my abilities to get the job done with success and excitement. Any 'problem' can be broken down into smaller more consistent sized challenges which can be managed out and dealt with, is my everyday expererience.

Maintenance requirement for me is actually more like my knowing I firmly already have in place the footings and foundation corner stones of past experiences to now 'forget about' maintenance, if you will. My sobriety is a done deal. I'll never drink again. I'll never change my mind. There is really nothing to maintain -- except my overall quality of life needs me doing the right thing day in and day out everlasting for me to enjoy the successes of my efforts at simply being the me I am today.

Its my life to choose for better or worse when at the end of every day I judge if enough of all my bells got rung, or am I left wanting. I'm only required to be held responsible to my own dreams alone -- and not my collective justified nightmares. This ain't Kansas, Toto... hahaha.

Effort is as effort does...
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:33 PM
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Why would quitting alcohol be any different for me or anyone? 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? Am I building alcoholism into a giant monster that will be difficult to defeat and require long-term (life-long) vigilance and struggle?

Jazzfish,

i quit smoking two or three years before i quit drinking, after about 35 years of smoking. when i quit drinking, my expectation was that i'd be "done with that" after a few months, just as i was with smoking. and no, i don't think about smoking. it has nothing to do with me now, and i have nothing to do with it.
but there's the difference: drinking has nothing to do with me now, either, nor i with it, but alcoholism sure has a lot to do with me. and i think about that a lot; it fascinates me, and i keep seeing new things or see old things differently.
alcoholism is, to me, something that's to do with who i AM, where smoking had to do with what i did. smoking, while being an addiction, was in the nature of a behaviour.
alcoholism...well, it's hard for me to articulate this properly, but it has to do with touching me at the core somehow...
anyway, i didn't see any of this until i noticed that quitting drinking was one thing, but i couldn't quit alcoholism. in a way, your monster analogy works fine for me. i have no plans to try to defeat it; a long time ago i actually imaginatively invited the monster over for tea and scrumpets....i wanted to get to know it because i knew we lived together.
but i'm going on and on...upshot is that i found these two things entirely different. my expectations about it being the same were entirely wrong.

as far as effort and vigilance...i enjoy what looks like effort to some; i'd not ever describe myself as being vigilant, really, just aware. and , so far, ever interested. that, too, was not what i'd expected

(hm...guess your question really goes to what some might term the difference between drinking as an addiction like any other one and alcoholism. lots of disagreement on that.)
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:34 PM
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I guess it's different for everyone....for myself...I've had long stretches of sobriety, but never made it past day one without a ciggerete. Started both at the same time.....

Just how it's been for me....
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:45 PM
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Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking? That's a good question. Lets look at the two substances and compare them. Have you ever known anybody who smoked so much that they didn't remember what they did the night before, smoked a ciggarette and killed someone in a car accident, lost their children because they couldn't stop smoking, smoked a ciggy and attacked someone in a in a violent rage, or tried to kill themself after smoking a ciggarette? Well if you have, your're one a in a millon.

Quitting alcohol and quitting drinking are not one in the same because they're two different animals. The structure and the function of the brain changes as a result of drinking. Doing this repeatedly makes some of these changes permanent. You drink enough alcohol and your body will become physically dependent on it. Without it you could die. Never heard of anyone dying from not smoking a ciggarette.

Is quitting smoking difficult, hell yeah.....so is quitting coffee, but I don't see us on a site talking about how coffee is ruining our lives.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TheEnd
Have you ever known anybody who smoked so much that they didn't remember what they did the night before, smoked a ciggarette and killed someone in a car accident, smoked a ciggy and attacked someone in a in a violent rage, or tried to kill themself after smoking a ciggarette? Well if you have, your're one a in a millon.
I have personally seen a friend's husband who had most of his tongue removed from cancer...leaving him unable to speak or eat solid food...continue to smoke. My mother has had several patients over the years smoke through trach holes in their necks. People smoke despite literally suffocating with COPD. People also repeatedly expose their children to second hand smoke, in cars and houses, exposing them to very real health risks. Pregnant women smoke, resulting in low birth weight and other more serious (sometimes fatal) damage to their babies.
Repeatedly sucking toxic smoke into your lungs despite known dangers is indeed a serious addiction. One that is often minimized.

I believe the same procress for quitting an addiction can be applied across any substance, and even any process or behavior as well.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I have personally seen a friend's husband who had most of his tongue removed from cancer...leaving him unable to speak or eat solid food...continue to smoke. My mother has had several patients over the years smoke through trach holes in their necks. People smoke despite literally suffocating with COPD. People also repeatedly expose their children to second hand smoke, in cars and houses, exposing them to very real health risks. Pregnant women smoke, resulting in low birth weight and other more serious (sometimes fatal) damage to their babies.
Repeatedly sucking toxic smoke into your lungs despite known dangers is indeed a serious addiction. One that is often minimized.

I believe the same procress for quitting an addiction can be applied across any substance, and even any process or behavior as well.
Yes, but the difference is immediacy vs. long term effects. You can use whatever process you want to apply, but show me what residential treatement center specializes in quitting smoking.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:23 PM
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I've often thought exactly the same. I gave up smoking too about 7 years ago. I am a totally non smoker, I never, ever think about it, I hate the smell of smoke and can't stand it if someone lights up. I also think people who have to sit outside, especially in this weather, to smoke, are stark staring bonkers. I can never, ever imagine why I ever smoked it is so vile, disgusting and stinks. Also, I realize it is an addiction like alcohol. So why, as you say, can't we give up the booze, like we did the fags, and forget it. Why do we have to keep going to meeting, talking about it. I never have to talk about smoking! So I guess it must either be habit, or we just can't let go, we still think there is something magical in drinking, like forbidden fruit, or missing something fun! If we could realize there is nothing missing we would be fine.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TheEnd
You can use whatever process you want to apply, but show me what residential treatement center specializes in quitting smoking.
If they did, fewer people would successfully quit. Learned helplessness has not yet been popularized in relation to quitting smoking. Thank goodness.

Most people view smoking as an addiction, but as a choice by the addicted. Smokers are not seen as powerless or defective. They are encouraged to quit for good and never look back. They don't call themselves recovering smokers or that their addiction is based on their unresolved issues. People actually believe they can quit smoking, and they do.

I think addiction is addiction and there are lessons in how most people quit smoking that can be successfully generalized regardless of DOC.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:54 PM
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"Neuroplasticity and epigenetics" are the new theory of alcoholism and addiction that I learned here at SR.

"Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?" My answer answer is yes, they are very different chemicals, possibly affecting different parts of the brain. Alcoholism seems to impair that part of the brain which is most highly evolved in humans--that part of the brain which controls our social functioning. Thus, a social setting is the most effective cure. That's why we need to keep going to meetings.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
If they did, fewer people would successfully quit. Learned helplessness has not yet been popularized in relation to quitting smoking. Thank goodness.
When I was drinking, I didn't have to learn to be helpless, I was helpless. I couldn't stop drinking. I could drink for 2-3 days straight and not even know what happened to me or what I had done or where I had been. When I was on a binge, my mind was totally centered on getting and obtaining alcohol and anybody in my way got run over.

My drinking and drug use had nothing to do with my unresolved issues, I simply could not stop when it was in my system.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by lillyknitting View Post
I've often thought exactly the same. I gave up smoking too about 7 years ago. I am a totally non smoker, I never, ever think about it, I hate the smell of smoke and can't stand it if someone lights up. I also think people who have to sit outside, especially in this weather, to smoke, are stark staring bonkers. I can never, ever imagine why I ever smoked it is so vile, disgusting and stinks. Also, I realize it is an addiction like alcohol. So why, as you say, can't we give up the booze, like we did the fags, and forget it. Why do we have to keep going to meeting, talking about it. I never have to talk about smoking! So I guess it must either be habit, or we just can't let go, we still think there is something magical in drinking, like forbidden fruit, or missing something fun! If we could realize there is nothing missing we would be fine.
This gets to the main gist of my question. I quit smoking over 7 years ago and never think about it at all. If I build alcoholism into some eternal daily threat, that I must recommit to defeat everyday, am I setting myself up for eventual defeat? I am not siding one way or the other, but sincerely asking the question.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TheEnd
When I was drinking, I didn't have to learn to be helpless, I was helpless. I couldn't stop drinking. I could drink for 2-3 days straight and not even know what happened to me or what I had done or where I had been. When I was on a binge, my mind was totally centered on getting and obtaining alcohol and anybody in my way got run over.
Me too. Once the cycle was stopped (for me it was a baker act), and I was physically detoxed, then it's about the approach for staying quit that we're talking about here. For me, I used the same strategies and mindset for both alcohol and cigarettes.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
then it's about the approach for staying quit that we're talking about here. For me, I used the same strategies and mindset for both alcohol and cigarettes.
Agreed, but I feel there is something else there, something that can't be explained. For instance, I'm not on a board talking about how I quit smoking, I have no desire to express any feelings on the subject. If I wanted to I could pick up a ciggarette tomorrow and not go back to smoking, the desire, need, or urge would not take me back. I know this, because I have tried. If I picked up a drink, all bets are off. Been there and done that, it wasn't pretty.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:27 PM
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I quit smoking three packs a day at the same time I quit drinking with a 1week in hospital detox. I used patches for a whole year but did it. Same technique, but I DID NOT TAKE ANY ALCOHOL SUBS AFTER 7 days.

I agree completely with soberlicious. Once i decided it WAS like an off switch was thrown, it was over except for getting used to a whole new adventure. . . sobriety! Like her it is for good and no sweat anymore.

Just quit and find out.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by coldfusion
"Should quitting alcohol be so different from quitting smoking?" My answer answer is yes, they are very different chemicals, possibly affecting different parts of the brain. Alcoholism seems to impair that part of the brain which is most highly evolved in humans--that part of the brain which controls our social functioning. Thus, a social setting is the most effective cure. That's why we need to keep going to meetings.
Interesting. What about other drugs? Should treatment for addictions to depressants be different from that of stimulants, or hallucinogens? What about process addictions? sex...gambling...are compulsions the same as addictions? Can they be overcome the same way? Can I just quit gambling the same way I quit smoking cigarettes and dropping acid, but should attend meetings to stay quit from benzos, sex, and alcohol? Is the cycle of addiction different per DOC?
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:31 PM
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sorry double post...
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
I agree completely with soberlicious. Once i decided it WAS like an off switch was thrown, it was over except for getting used to a whole new adventure. . . sobriety! Like her it is for good and no sweat anymore.

Just quit and find out.
Sounds pretty simple, cut and dry. So why do you belong to an addiction recovery website if it was so simple?
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