Sympathy for addictions?

Sarah - posted on 01/10/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )

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I've seen a few threads about addictions lately, and i'm wondering about the different levels of sympathy people have for different types of addiction.

For example, there was a thread about hoarding, and the general consensus seemed to be a sympathetic one, that the woman in question needed help and support.
There is another thread about smoking while pregnant however, and the general consensus seemed to be, 'just quit and get over it'

Why are people more willing to offer help and support and advice for one addiction over another??

It seems to me, that even addictions like drugs and alcohol receive a more sympathetic ear than an addiction to cigarettes.

I'm NOT trying to advocate smoking in any way, just to be clear, i just feel that people are far more ready to lecture and make people feel bad, rather than trying to help, support and encourage those who are trying quit.

So, what i'm interested in, is why certain addictions seem to warrant sympathy, while others don't. :)

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Heather - posted on 01/12/2010

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I too, am an ex smoker, I started when I was 15 and stupid. We thought we looked sooo cool, smoking a cigarette while walking to school. lol That was 19 years ago, and I quit, cold turkey, last new years eve, I was also 6 months pregnant, and I felt so guilty having a smoke, and then feeling my baby move, I just couldnt take the guilt, I never thought I would smoke while pregnant, I always told myself, when I get pregnant, thats when I will quit. I was just disgusted with myself so I quit, and havent had one since. The biggest thing that I have noticed, is how bad cigarette smoke smells, My MIL is a chain smoker and even though she dosent smoke in the house while my son is there, he still comes home smelling like he has been hangin out at the bar. We had to borrow her car, and I gagged every time i got in it because it reeeeked of stale cigarette butts. Anyhoo, just like all the other ladies on here have said, once you quit, you realize how bad of a habit it is, and you feel so much better. Once you make your mind up and want to do it, there are many ways to quit (I dont recommend cold turkey, it was way too hard) I have heard of ALOT of people with great success from chantix. Good luck to you :) :) :)

?? - posted on 01/10/2010

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I think the major difference between cigarettes and pretty much every single other addiction is the fact that cigarettes is a really simple easy no strings attached to emotional addiction.



Meaning - people start smoking just cause... "hey I wanna try that" or "I wanna be cool" or "mom and dad do it, I'm gonna see" and they get hooked on the nicotine.



Addictions like drugs, alcohol, hoarding, cutting, etc more often than not have some sort of emotional reasoning behind the addiction -- I'm not talking about recreational use of drugs -- but something that triggers a downward fall that pushes a person emotionally to need that escape.



Smoking - there isn't some tragedy that makes someone decide "I'm gonna hit the pack". But more often than not, there is some tragedy that makes someone decide "I'm gonna hit the bottle."



And I think THAT is a HUGE reason behind why people have less sympathy towards smokers. There are literally HUNDREDS of stop smoking aids, there are hundreds of groups set up for support - all of which are either free or affordable (as opposed to a good rehab, they can be pretty pricey). So people see someone smoking, and think GO ON THE PATCH or GET A STICK OF GUM or JUST TRY HARDER... and people who have already quit smoking, they already have that "well I did it" thing to back up their testimony.



Anyways, that's my take on why people are a lil more harsh with smokers, over people with other addictions. Other addictions are known to have some sort of emotional trigger...... which is a lot easier to sympathize with, than a smoker who got hooked cause they "wanted to be cool."

Krista - posted on 01/11/2010

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Quoting Sarah:

Thanks Mary and Sara, i think you've said what i trying to, just more eloquently!!

As i said before, i'm not trying to advocate smoking, or come up with excuses as to why i haven't quit (simple reason is, i just don't have the willpower......at the moment....i'm thinking more about just quitting!) i just think that smokers get a particularly hard time from people when trying to quit.

I know there's plenty of stop smoking aids out there, but actual human support from friends, family and acquaintances, seems very hard to come by. :)


I think that if someone is genuinely trying to quit, there is usually plenty of support out there. During my many attempts to quit, I always received tons of encouragement and support -- it never worked until I was REALLY ready to quit, though. 



If someone's smoking is only affecting themselves, I have no issue with it. Their body, their problem. 



If someone is smoking while pregnant or around a child, but they are making serious and genuine efforts to quit, then I will do everything in my power to encourage and help them. 



But if someone is smoking while pregnant or around a child, and offers all kinds of bullshit excuses and justifications as to why it's not so bad, then they don't deserve my sympathy, and I will not by shy in telling them a few plain truths. 



The same goes for any other substance of choice. If your addiction is harming an innocent child, and you don't give a damn about it, then I will ride  your ass.

Sara - posted on 01/11/2010

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I think you're right, people don't look at cigarette addiction in quite the light they look at addiction to heavier and more socially destructive addictions like hard drugs and alcohol. I tend to think that's because 1) it's more socially acceptable and 2) it's legal and 3) it's readily available. I think for that matter, alcoholism is looked at much differently than crack, heroin or meth addiction, probably because a lot of people are casual drinkers or smokers but not a lot of people are casual heroin/crack/meth users...maybe because people/society have more experience with the activity, it is judged more harshly and not taken quite as seriously as an addiction because of it.

About the smoking though, I think when you talk about it in the context of pregnancy, that adds another layer. I would say the same thing to a crack addict that I would to a smoker about being pregnant and continuing to do your drug of choice. But, I am also a reformed smoker, so that lends me to not really having, ironically, much sympathy for people who do smoke, because I smoked heavily for 10 years and was able to quit. I realize this should make me able to empathize more with smokers, but it's like this switch happens in your brain when you decide to quit forever, and you HAVE to be appalled and disgusted by it so you don't take it up again. Plus, there are so many avenues to help smokers quit. I used Wellbutrin to quit (it works, btw). But there's the patch, the gum, Chantix...the bottom line is you have to really want to quit and I know that...I guess to hear people go on and on about why they can't quit smoking irritates me because i know first hand that if you were determined, you certainly could kick the habit. You just have to be ready to do it.

Sorry, bit of a tirade there, but I do agree with you Sarah, smoking is looked at much differently in society than other addictions, and it's a serious addiction that is difficult to quit.

Mary - posted on 01/11/2010

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I sort of disagree with most of you...
Smoking, like alcohol, often starts as a social thing, and gradually becomes more and more of both and emotional crutch, as well as a true physical addiction. Nicotine is a drug, just like heroin or cocaine. THe difference is that it is not mind-altering in quite the same disabling capacity, and therefore not as obvious or potentially destructive to the outside world. It's also perfectly legal, and readily available. It's effects are not outwardly long lasting, nor does it impair judgement or coordination like alcohol or drugs, so the chemical impact that the drug nicotine has on your system is only really noticed by the smoker, as compared to alcohol or recreational drugs. Studies have determined that, for most, it truly is just as much of a physical/chemical addiction as say, alcohol. I think that it is just that society's perceptions and attitudes about it are just a bit different.

I disagree with the thought about "cutting back" as well...it's no different than an alcoholic cutting back from 12 beers to 8. You are still addicted, and still feeding that need - the only difference is that you are exercising a small amount of control over your craving, and fooling yourself into thinking that you are "a little less" addicted. As Jo pointed out, people "cut back" for years...meaning the addiction is still there, just a bit more regimented. No real difference from a functional alcoholic.

I think Sarah is dead on about society's attitudes towards smoker's addictions....ESPECIALLY when it come to non-smokers. They really think it should be a matter of deciding to quit, and it's done. Truth is, some people have more of an addictive personality, or more of a chemical dependency than others (this is true for all forms of substance abuse), and are more prone to relapse than others as well. I guess society as a whole is less sympathetic to it because smoking is not as visibly destructive to the smoker or those around them, so it appears as if quitting is simpler than it truly is.

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Rosie - posted on 01/13/2010

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i find that to be true as well. all of the bashing from people about smoking while pregnant, but yet i'm sure that 99% of them did harmful things to themselves while pregnant-like eat to much fat, caffeine, sugar, ride a horse and those things aren't even addictive (except the caffeine). i by no way am trying to say smoking is great, but it is an addiction and i had a hard time quitting with my first pregnancy. i completely regret putting myself and son in that position and i do know that smoking the 5 or less smokes a day that i did smoke probably gave him his adhd and his multiple ear infections.

as for other addictions warranting sympathy, i'm not to sure i've seen sympathy for any, except for ones that don't physically harm themselves (like hoarding, or ocd). i think we have a hard time with people harming themselves, and the way that addiction makes them act towards others, that we forget that they aren't trying to be that way. my sister is addicted to alcohol, and refuses to see that she is even though she has lost her kids from it, been raped while walking around drunk (not saying it's her fault by any means, just that if she didn't go out and get drunk with whoever all the time, it might not of happened), and loses all of her jobs because she's to tired from her nights of partying to wake up. my family decided that if she didn't get help we weren't going to keep contact anymore, and now of course in her mind we've all abandoned her. i wish there was a way to make her see that she's hit bottom already, and needs to stop.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2010

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Jo, you sound like what I did when I was pregnant - I cut right down to next to nothing, but I honestly just couldn't give up those last few. I realise now that my HEAD just wasn't ready, but at the time, it was the hardest thing in the world. I have a very addictive personality, and I also have a husband who smoked, so giving up totally when I wasn't ready in the HEAD and he wasn't giving up was just beyond what I was able to do at the time. However, I felt as guilty as shit about it, but didn't have the resources, tools, whatever to get it sorted. As soon as I had Taylah, I went back to smoking my 20 cigarettes a day..... STUPID!!!

I finally used Champix to give up - Gave up on 1st September 2009 and haven't had one since. Sure, sometimes I get up and think, I'll go have a smoke now, but it is pure habit at certain times. I don't "crave" them at all. I am so glad I have given up. I wish I had been able to give up totally when I was pregnant, but I didn't. But you will never find me saying it is okay for the baby and doesn't cause problems. I am lucky to have 2 very healthy children - Taylah was born underweight, but they sent my placenta off for testing and it wasn't the smoking that was the problem (there were other issues). But that doesn't make smoking okay, and I get crapped off when I hear people say that there is nothing wrong with their babies, so that means its all bullshit......

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I too am a sympathetic ex smoker. It's the easiest thing in the world for people who have never smoked to tell others to quit and get over it.

I'm supportive of pregnant smokers who are trying to quit or cut down and I try not to be judgemental towards them. The only time smokers make me angry is when I see them light up in their car when they have their kids with them. There's no excuse for smoking in the same car/house as children and I applaud smokers who make the effort not to do it.

?? - posted on 01/12/2010

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I had all the excuses in the world when I was smoking. And I had all the doctors validating my excuses too. I went down to 3 smokes a day while I was pregnant, I couldn't bring myself to stop completely. Those 3 smokes, I smoked in halves. 1, half when I woke up, half after breakfast. 2, half after lunch, half after dinner. 3, half before bed, and half left just in case I couldn't sleep and ended up stayin up for a couple hours so I could have it before I tried to go back to sleep again.



Gabriel was born, I went 2 days without a smoke. The day he was born, and the day after that we were still in the hospital. When we got home, I had a smoke, and I ended up smoking about 6 a day for the first month, then 8, then I was at half a pack a day...



Then when Gabriel was 6 months, he was starting to crawl, we went for a walk down town, literally a 10 minute walk from here, by the time I got home, half an hour after I left the house... I literally thought I was having a heart attack.



I couldn't breathe, I got in the door, put Gabe on the floor, sat on the couch and I couldn't breathe. I was hyperventilating, needed air. My chest hurt and I had ZERO energy to even stand up and get the groceries out of the stroller I had left sitting outside. And then I looked down at Gabe on the floor, who had rolled over and was soldier crawling towards me with a big ass smile on his face...... and I thought "How the hell am I going to chase after a toddler if I can't even walk down town and back without DYING!" and that's when I knew I had to quit.



It took my best friend dying in my arms for me to quit drugs cold turkey. It took my aunt's words sinking in after she died for me to quit drinking cold turkey. So I knew that I needed SOMETHING to help me. I started taking Champix (Chantix) May 2nd - set my quit date as May 16 and I took the 2 weeks to address all of my HABITS while the Champix curbed my addiction to nicotine and then at midnight on May 15 / May 16 I put out my last cigarette. During those 2 weeks... I had 9 full cigarettes and at 11:50pm May 15, I went outside and I sat down, light up a cigarette and watched it burn out... and at midnight, put it out, and went inside.



I haven't looked back. There has been times when I've thought "Alright I'll do this, have a smoke, then do that." then laughed at myself like DUH. There have been times where I've been so incredibly frustrated and I've said I'M GOIN FOR A SMOKE and then just stared at Devon and burst out laughing. And there have been times where I've smelled cigarette smoke and threw up a lil bit in my mouth. But I can't imagine myself with a smoke now.

Jenny - posted on 01/12/2010

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I'm an ex-smoker too. I statted when I was 12 and smoked for 10 years. I quit as soon as I found out I was pregnant with my first. My partner is a non smoker and his constant hounding was part of it too, as well as the morning sickness of course. I was good for a couple of years after that then i started to have the occasional drag when having a drink. Then it became the occasional smoke. Then it became the occasional pack. We decided to have another baby in 2007 and I again quit upon finding out I was pregnant. I will never take another drag.



There is no redeeming qualities to smoking, it is literally slowly poisoning your body but of course all of us already know that. The thing that really bothers me now is when I smell smokey kids, especially babies. When I was a smoker I didn't notice it but now you can almost see it hovering around them. Thankfully I live in aplace with failry strict laws on smoking so it's being phased out, your not even allowed to smoke in a vehicle with a minor here. Homes are ok though of course lol.



I have it in my head now that I'm done and I think if you don't have that mindset all of the aids in the world won't help you to stop. If you don't have a good enough reason to focus on that day just won't come. Now my focus is on my kids and ensuring they never start, cause that's the easiest way to quit smoking of all.

Sarah - posted on 01/12/2010

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That's exactly why my husband quit smoking, he says he wants to be around to see the kids grow up and that smoking is just speeding up the ageing process. Which is all true!
I think the main thing that's got me majorly thinking seriously about quitting, is that now Cadence is at an age that she understands, she comes out with things that really strike a cord. I explained that smoking is REALLY bad for you.....and she said ''well stop then mummy! why would you do something bad??'' i guess she has a simple view of it, and it's one that is bang on!!

Hmmmm coffee tasting better?!?!?!?!? Another percent nearer to giving up then! I LOOOOOVE my coffee! :)

Krista - posted on 01/12/2010

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Quoting Sarah:

Thanks for sharing that Krista, such a sad story. I REALLY don't want to put my husband and kids through anything like that. I guess it's hard to relate to such stories sometimes because you don't see the effects of smoking straight away, so it's kind of easy to push the thoughts away if that makes sense. I think i'm starting to realise tho that these terrible illnesses may not be THAT far away any more.

Lindsay, i know the feeling on the break thing! When i have my break at work, i can't imagine not nipping out (into the freezing cold usually!) and having a fag!! I can't imagine being able to have a coffee without a fag either!! I guess it's those habits that are going to be the hardest to break.


Dammit, I had a long post all written out, and the internet ate it. 



/shakes fist



Anyhoodle, the point of it is that as we get older, we start to realize that there are no guarantees in life. No matter how awesome we are, life does not guarantee us healthy babies, healthy spouses, long lives, or any of that stuff we just assume we'll have.  I started realizing that when a) a friend of mine from high school lost his 3-year-old daughter to leukemia, and b) I started reading about the deaths of people my age or younger from often-preventable cancers like lung cancer and skin cancer. 



So I think that once you really realize that you're mortal and that you're NOT guaranteed to die at age 98 during a romantic liaison with the Argentinian pool boy (my preferred way to go), you start thinking "Why am I contributing to the possibility of an early death?"  



And believe it or not, coffee actually tastes better when you stop smoking. :)  

Sara - posted on 01/12/2010

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Speaking of illness and smoking, I have noticed that I don't get sick as often since I quit and when I do get sick it does not last as long...I used to get bronchitis at least 2-3 times a winter and I have had it once in the 3 years since I quit...it really does feel good whe you quit, look forward to it! :)

Sarah - posted on 01/12/2010

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Thanks for sharing that Krista, such a sad story. I REALLY don't want to put my husband and kids through anything like that. I guess it's hard to relate to such stories sometimes because you don't see the effects of smoking straight away, so it's kind of easy to push the thoughts away if that makes sense. I think i'm starting to realise tho that these terrible illnesses may not be THAT far away any more.

Lindsay, i know the feeling on the break thing! When i have my break at work, i can't imagine not nipping out (into the freezing cold usually!) and having a fag!! I can't imagine being able to have a coffee without a fag either!! I guess it's those habits that are going to be the hardest to break.

Lindsay - posted on 01/12/2010

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Sarah, I'm in the same situation as you right now. I know I will quit but I'm just not there yet. But I'll also cheer you on when you decide you're ready. I'm hoping to be ready sooner rather than later. I suspect it won't be until I finish school because what would I do when we have a ten minnute break?

Krista - posted on 01/12/2010

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Oh, and everybody keep encouraging Sarah -- maybe we can get her to 100%! :) Sarah, I'll tell you what the "moment" was for me, and maybe it'll help you.

My husband's grandmother was a heavy, heavy, heavy smoker. Had no intention of ever quitting. Needless to say, it got to the point where she became very sick, they found out she was riddled with cancer, and her body just started shutting down. We found out one evening that she only had hours left, and drove home to be with the family.

She was laying there in the hospital bed, gasping for breath. Struggling. Suffering. They had her jacked full of morphine, but it was only taking the edge off. Her husband and her daughters had to watch her like that for hours, and couldn't do a damn thing to help her. I wouldn't let a dog suffer like that, let alone a human, but there wasn't anything I could do either. She went on like this for over 14 hours -- just gasping and choking and wheezing, until finally she gave up. It was a hellish, hellish thing for her family to watch.

During this time, I looked over at my then-boyfriend (now husband), and had one of those moments of clarity. I thought to myself, "I am not going to put him through that." And it was like a switch clicked in my brain. From that point on, I only had to deal with the physical addiction and the habits. But the will? Oh yeah -- it was there.

That was 8 years ago. I've had maybe 2 cigarettes since then.

Krista - posted on 01/12/2010

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Quoting Sara:



Quoting Krista:




Quoting Sarah:

HAHAHA! Thanks Jo! The thing that stops me most, is not being able to imagine NOT smoking, if that makes sense? I just can't visualise me without a cigarette! Sad i know, but true!
Good to know someone has faith in me tho! Think i'm 91% ready now! :)







I was the same way, hon. Before I quit, I thought to myself "What do non-smokers DO with their hands, then?"  I couldn't imagine going out for a beer, and between beers, just sitting there like a lunk. But after I quit, I realized what a slave I'd been to the smokes -- always checking around 7pm to make sure I had enough for that night and the next morning, because heaven forbid that I run out; having to stand outside on the deck at parties while most everybody else was inside; knowing perfectly well that I was ruining my health but doing it anyway -- it sucked.  Quitting was hard. I had the patch, which helped a LOT with the physical addiction, but breaking the habit part of it was a lot harder, because smoking was such a big part of my day. But strangely, once you've gotten over that hump, you actually do find other things to do with your time, honest. Have I been tempted to start again? Sometimes. But I know Keith would be hugely disappointed and angry with me if I did -- so it's not worth it. 









I totally know what you mean, Krista...I don't think you realize how much the addiction rules your life, always having to go out of your way to cater to it.  For me, it was a relief not to have to do things like go by the gas station on my way home from work.  And having something to do with my hands was a big thing, so I took up knitting.  I suck at it, but it gave me something to do while I was working through breaking the habit.  I still find that I miss smoking while drinking, but I guess a positive result of quitting smoking is I don't drink much anymore!






 






Sarah, you can do it!  When you're ready, you'll know it's time and you can count on that you'll have all of us to help support you!  :)





Knitting -- that's a good idea. I should have thought of that. I just wound up picking my nose all the time in order to keep my hands busy. I wound up saving a ton of money, though. First of all, I wasn't smoking anymore. And secondly, the nose-picking really cut down on my social invitations. 

Sara - posted on 01/12/2010

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Quoting Krista:



Quoting Sarah:

HAHAHA! Thanks Jo! The thing that stops me most, is not being able to imagine NOT smoking, if that makes sense? I just can't visualise me without a cigarette! Sad i know, but true!
Good to know someone has faith in me tho! Think i'm 91% ready now! :)





I was the same way, hon. Before I quit, I thought to myself "What do non-smokers DO with their hands, then?"  I couldn't imagine going out for a beer, and between beers, just sitting there like a lunk. But after I quit, I realized what a slave I'd been to the smokes -- always checking around 7pm to make sure I had enough for that night and the next morning, because heaven forbid that I run out; having to stand outside on the deck at parties while most everybody else was inside; knowing perfectly well that I was ruining my health but doing it anyway -- it sucked.  Quitting was hard. I had the patch, which helped a LOT with the physical addiction, but breaking the habit part of it was a lot harder, because smoking was such a big part of my day. But strangely, once you've gotten over that hump, you actually do find other things to do with your time, honest. Have I been tempted to start again? Sometimes. But I know Keith would be hugely disappointed and angry with me if I did -- so it's not worth it. 





I totally know what you mean, Krista...I don't think you realize how much the addiction rules your life, always having to go out of your way to cater to it.  For me, it was a relief not to have to do things like go by the gas station on my way home from work.  And having something to do with my hands was a big thing, so I took up knitting.  I suck at it, but it gave me something to do while I was working through breaking the habit.  I still find that I miss smoking while drinking, but I guess a positive result of quitting smoking is I don't drink much anymore!



 



Sarah, you can do it!  When you're ready, you'll know it's time and you can count on that you'll have all of us to help support you!  :)

Sara - posted on 01/12/2010

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Quoting Krista:



Quoting Sarah:

HAHAHA! Thanks Jo! The thing that stops me most, is not being able to imagine NOT smoking, if that makes sense? I just can't visualise me without a cigarette! Sad i know, but true!
Good to know someone has faith in me tho! Think i'm 91% ready now! :)





I was the same way, hon. Before I quit, I thought to myself "What do non-smokers DO with their hands, then?"  I couldn't imagine going out for a beer, and between beers, just sitting there like a lunk. But after I quit, I realized what a slave I'd been to the smokes -- always checking around 7pm to make sure I had enough for that night and the next morning, because heaven forbid that I run out; having to stand outside on the deck at parties while most everybody else was inside; knowing perfectly well that I was ruining my health but doing it anyway -- it sucked.  Quitting was hard. I had the patch, which helped a LOT with the physical addiction, but breaking the habit part of it was a lot harder, because smoking was such a big part of my day. But strangely, once you've gotten over that hump, you actually do find other things to do with your time, honest. Have I been tempted to start again? Sometimes. But I know Keith would be hugely disappointed and angry with me if I did -- so it's not worth it. 





I totally know what you mean, Krista...I don't think you realize how much the addiction rules your life, always having to go out of your way to cater to it.  For me, it was a relief not to have to do things like go by the gas station on my way home from work.  And having something to do with my hands was a big thing, so I took up knitting.  I suck at it, but it gave me something to do while I was working through breaking the habit.  I still find that I miss smoking while drinking, but I guess a positive result of quitting smoking is I don't drink much anymore!



 



Sarah, you can do it!  When you're ready, you'll know it's time and you can count on that you'll have all of us to help support you!  :)

Mary - posted on 01/12/2010

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Hmmm...seems as if I missed something!

I agree with Sara and Krista that reformed smokers are some of the worst when it comes intolerance. There seems to be a common mentality of "I did it without too much hassle - so can you!". I really try to avoid being that way myself, but I confess to being just a tad inwardly judgemental when I'm at work, and a smoker comes in for some lame reason and is "just so worried that the baby is ok". I stuggle to keep my tongue under control...and must remind myself that what made it easy for me to quit was that I was a world-class hurler while pregnant...and just the smell on someone else set me off. Not everyone has that additional "aid".

Sarah - posted on 01/12/2010

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Thanks Krista! I hate that feeling of panic when i think i don't have enough cigarettes to last me. Makes me feel like a right idiot, but it is literally a full on panic!
You're spot on saying it's like being a slave to the damn things, amazing really how a little white stick that you set fire to, can become such a huge part of your day!!
92% ready now!! lol :)

Krista - posted on 01/12/2010

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Quoting Sarah:

HAHAHA! Thanks Jo! The thing that stops me most, is not being able to imagine NOT smoking, if that makes sense? I just can't visualise me without a cigarette! Sad i know, but true!
Good to know someone has faith in me tho! Think i'm 91% ready now! :)


I was the same way, hon. Before I quit, I thought to myself "What do non-smokers DO with their hands, then?"  I couldn't imagine going out for a beer, and between beers, just sitting there like a lunk. But after I quit, I realized what a slave I'd been to the smokes -- always checking around 7pm to make sure I had enough for that night and the next morning, because heaven forbid that I run out; having to stand outside on the deck at parties while most everybody else was inside; knowing perfectly well that I was ruining my health but doing it anyway -- it sucked.  Quitting was hard. I had the patch, which helped a LOT with the physical addiction, but breaking the habit part of it was a lot harder, because smoking was such a big part of my day. But strangely, once you've gotten over that hump, you actually do find other things to do with your time, honest. Have I been tempted to start again? Sometimes. But I know Keith would be hugely disappointed and angry with me if I did -- so it's not worth it. 

Sarah - posted on 01/12/2010

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HAHAHA! Thanks Jo! The thing that stops me most, is not being able to imagine NOT smoking, if that makes sense? I just can't visualise me without a cigarette! Sad i know, but true!
Good to know someone has faith in me tho! Think i'm 91% ready now! :)

?? - posted on 01/12/2010

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You will prove em wrong Sarah :) I'm proud of you for being 90% ready! And when you hit 100% I will be, I may very well be already, your #1 cheerleader!! I know you can do it and I know you will do it!!! Don't let ANYONE tell you otherwise, tell em to go lick a donkey's sour lemon !

Sarah - posted on 01/12/2010

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JO: Don't worry, i know none of this is aimed at me in particular. Also, as a smoker, i knew that i'd get some posts that made me feel bad.......!!!

Not sure what went on with Katherine as the post seems to have disappeared!

Also, i want to point out that i'm sure some people ARE supportive of smokers trying to quit......i just haven't come across many! LOL!
I guess a lot of it is that my husband 'just quit' as in, he went cold turkey and didn't want any help. He expects me to be the same way.

I'm not the type to offer excuses, i KNOW it's a horrible thing to smoke, especially having kids (tho i smoke outside etc etc) I'm not one of these people who 'gives up' every 5 minutes in a half hearted way. I'd rather feel 100% ready to do it properly. (I'm like 90% ready at the moment! lol!)
I guess whenever i say to people, 'i really want to give up' they all just roll their eyes, laugh, say 'yeah right' or 'you'll never do it' i feel like i've failed before i've even begun!
I'm not the type to think, 'no sod you! i'll prove you wrong!' i tend to think 'yeah you're probably right' feel really crap and reach for a cigarette!

Hope some of that makes sense!
:)

[deleted account]

I guess because it was easy for me to quit while I was pregnant, I have little sympathy for those who don't. Granted, I picked it back up after Colin was born-he was a preemie, I was in grad school...It was super-stressful. So I do know that it can become a way to deal with problems. But I do think that the fact that it generally doesn't start out that way plays into the reason that many people have little sympathy for smokers who can't/don't quit. There are also lots of programs for heavy drug addicts and alcoholics, but smokers just get patches and nicotine gum-so the media portrays it as being easier to quit smoking than to quit doing other things. It's also less easy to see the deterioration with cigarettes-with an alcoholic, say, people start to notice that the addict cannot function without alcohol and with heavy, expensive drugs, all their money becomes tied up in making sure they get their next fix. With cigarettes, it's harder to see the degree of addiction in most people.

?? - posted on 01/11/2010

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ah shit, I just re-read what I wrote last night. I hope you didn't take what I said as directed at you Sarah :( I meant you in general not you, you, Sarah!

Sarah - posted on 01/11/2010

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Thanks Mary and Sara, i think you've said what i trying to, just more eloquently!!



As i said before, i'm not trying to advocate smoking, or come up with excuses as to why i haven't quit (simple reason is, i just don't have the willpower......at the moment....i'm thinking more about just quitting!) i just think that smokers get a particularly hard time from people when trying to quit.



I know there's plenty of stop smoking aids out there, but actual human support from friends, family and acquaintances, seems very hard to come by. :)

?? - posted on 01/11/2010

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I agree 100% that EVERYONE needs to be more supportive of people who are trying to quit smoking. My #1 issue with the support factor is that you can give support in thousands of ways to a smoker but inevitably it is 100% up to the person smoking to want to quit for that support to mean anything.



Don't get me wrong, I KNOW that goes for ANY addiction -- but there is a HUGE difference between deciding to quit smoking, gradually quitting, slowing down the intake and finally quitting and deciding to... stop shooting up heroin!



Quitting drugs, alcohol, hoarding there is an ultimatum there is no... easing off the addiction. There really is ONLY cold turkey. And along with beating those addictions, each individual HAS TO deal with whatever it is that made them dig themselves that deep of a hole to begin with.



Smoking, you have to learn coping mechanisms, or even figuring out something that smoking addiction can be replaced by that is more healthy than having a smoke. Having a bad day, do some knitting. Boss pissed you off, tear up some paper. Those things are generally easy to replace the need for a cigarette. Being raped and beaten by your father... not quite as easy to deal with. Feeling abandoned and unloved there fore unwanted and worthless... not quite as easy to deal with.



Quitting smoking has 982349018329012839012381 billion aids. Therapy, fake cigarettes, different kinds of pills that do different things, patches, gum, etc etc etc. None of which include INTENSIVE therapy, a complete and total start over of your life from the ground up, or even medical detox so that your body doesn't go into violent convulsions unsure how to deal without the morphine.



You get the picture right? lol I'm not saying EVERY instance is like that, but there is just a huge huge huge difference between being completely 100% medically dependant, emotionally and physically, on a drug ........ and needing a cigarette cause you're addicted to the nicotine that more often than not will not have any sort of adverse affect on living life if you don't get it - no matter how much we think we're going to absolutely freakin DIE if we don't have a cigarette NOW NOW NOWWWWWW !!!!



The other thing that generally rubs people the wrong way.... "I'm cutting down" lasts FORRRRRR EVVVVVVVVER for some people. I know for me - "I'm cutting down" meant I smoked maybe half as much as I used too but still a lot and I just spread them out, so it actually seemed like I was smoking more, but I would say "Oh I only had half" so it made me feel better about it... even though I wasn't really cutting down all that much, I was basically lying about it.



I have all the sympathy in the world for people who are GENUINELY trying to quit. People who are givin me lip service though, saying "I'm cutting down" but then keep the whole cutting down thing going for 5 years - obviously that method isn't working for them, they should be looking elsewhere. I can be supportive, but I'm not gonna hold their hand 100% of the time.





People who (successfully) beat their drug and alcohol addictions... they can't 'cut down' for 5 years and people actually believe that shit. Especially real addicts, not people who just have a drink here n there or use recreational drugs, people who are truly addicted to drugs and alcohol - I would say the percentage is very high of people who HAVE TO do it cold turkey in order for their sobriety to be successful.



Smoking though, it's different. There are so many ways to wean yourself off of it, using various methods to adapt that really mainly come from each individual's will power.



It sure as hell is NOT easy to quit. I am very proud of anyone who can quit and stay quit! And I don't hold it against people who can't quit, but if you're not trying, really truly trying to quit, well then you kinda have to expect people to tell you to stfu when you whine about not being able to quit lol

Sarah - posted on 01/11/2010

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I totally understand the point about cigarettes not usually being an addiction stemmed from some emotional trauma or whatever, and i guess it makes sense that it would be a reason for people to be less sympathetic towards it.
However, a lot of people, such as myself, started smoking in their teens or whatever. I've been smoking for over 10 years now (god i feel old lol!) trying to break a 10 year habit and addiction is HARD. I started as a stupid kid, who thought she'd live forever, and wouldn't get addicted and blah blah blah. Now i'm adult, and i realise that starting was the dumbest thing ever but 10 years have gone by you know?

As someone else mentioned, smoking may not have started as a result of an emotional problem, but it's how i deal with those things now.

Cigarettes are seriously addictive, it's HARD and emotional, and tough, and miserable and downright depressing when you're trying to give up. To see people who basically say 'just quit' 'stop whining' 'it's you're own fault' etc etc. just makes things even worse.

I guess i still think that people in general could be more supportive of people trying to quit. If someone goes on a diet, everyone is helpful and supportive and encouraging, i don't see why someone trying to give up smoking should be treated any different really.

It's was every addicts choice to pick up the smokes, eat the cake, shoot up the heroin, i'm not saying it's not their fault. But whatever ever the reason for starting, and whatever the addiction, i think people should support others in their road to recovery. :)

Michelle - posted on 01/10/2010

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I think that the largest reason that people support and help people with some addictions and not others is the reason and need for the addiction. Some people have true mental problems that lead them to their addictions-- ie hoarding and people with true medical problems who are addicted to painkillers. However, people who do it to themselves-- alcoholics, meth addicts, etc. -- I find hard to understand and feel sympathy for.
I try very hard to understand and be patient with ALL addictions, but I recognize that some are easier to empathize with than others. The reason that I try is that I am a smoker, and I know how hard it is to quit-- nearly impossible. I'll even admit this-- I mostly quit smoking while pregnant, but I did slip a few times and give in. I felt horribly guilty every time I did, but there comes a point where the mental addiction overwhelms you.
So.... to sum-- I think people support some and don't support others based on whether or not they in any way brought it upon themselves. (this is saying people in general, not necessarily my opinion or belief for specific addictions)

Kendra - posted on 01/10/2010

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I think most addictions when dealing with drugs or alcohol, including cigarettes are emotional crutches and still start out from trying to "be cool" or fit in. Most people with a normal background don't hit an emotional pitfall and decide to start smoking crack. Emotional pitfalls can make you fall back on crack....or alcohol....or cigarettes. So at some point in your life you were already exposed to it. Be it your parents, your friends, kids at school, etc. I think the difference with smoking is the fact that it's accepted and still so hated!! :o) It's also legal which means you see them doing it, which also means you have to live with it and so this gives more reason to develop an attitude. Especially if you dislike smoke. I think that's also true with drinking. You see someone having one drink and you move on. You see someone falling off a bar stool and you're pissy with a "get a life" attitude. Gone went the sympathy.

So there :o) My opinion is people are less sympathetic with issues that they see and deal with everyday. Most of us don't have loads of people that are hoarders or crack addicts in our lives so we feel it's more out of the norm, more of a problem and we are more sympathetic.

Isobel - posted on 01/10/2010

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I'm a smoker...and I've quit twice (both times I was pregnant). The minute they were born though (and I felt like I owned my own body again) I started again. I'm actually down to about two or three a day, and plan to quit, but like many know, it's easier said than done.

There may be no emotional reason to START smoking, but it quickly becomes the way you deal with all stressful and emotional issues. Had a fight with the hubby...I need a smoke. Rough day at work...I need a smoke. Had to deal with the MIL...I need a smoke.

I try to have patience with all addictions...cause I know the physical and mental pain it takes to break one.

[deleted account]

I think, as Jo said, that it has to do with the emotional reasons behind the addiction. Often, addicts are trying to cover pain using alcohol or drugs (or even hoarding)-but with cigarettes, it's just something you pick up most of the time. Also, as far as the difference between those threads go...I haven't read the hoarding thread to know what its deal is, but the smoking thread is specifically about smoking while pregnant. People come down just as hard on mothers who do heavy drugs and drink alcohol (if not harder) than what happened in that smoking thread.

Jaime - posted on 01/10/2010

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From the perspective of realism, yes it is quite simply 'just quit and get over it' for a lot of things...be it cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, excessive food-eating, gambling, etc... But, because we are emotional beings, it's just not that simple and I definitely feel that there should be at the very least, empathy for the sometimes uncontrollable circumstances that lead to addiction. That is not to say that people should use their past circumstances as an excuse or a crutch to justify their addiction...but addiction is not a cut and dry situation. There are lots of people that can make up in their mind to do something, and then just do it...but for the majority, life situations, stress and the state of one's emotions all make up the strong current that willpower swims against. I can't stop eating chocolate...at least not emotionally...it's as simple as not buying it, but if I've had a particularly stressful day, I'm not in a position to summon my willpower against the craving...and thus, I give in. My fault---completely, avoidable---absolutely, impossible to resist--not at all, habit---FUCK YES! And that, I believe, has much to do with why it is so damn difficult to quit...when you've behaved or lived a certain way for so long it becomes a habit. Not all habits are bad...but when they are bad, then it's much worse for one's livelihood. A person can live comfortably-miserable in their 'destructive comfort zone' of habitual addiction; from food to drugs to shopping and spending beyond all financial means, wanting to break the cycle, but having absolutely no clue how to do it. Saying "I will quit" and actually doing it are completely different. It would be great if it were as easy as 'quit and get over it', but it's more complex than that on an emotional scale. We have to let go of the circumstances that lead to addiction and rewire our emotions so that we are strong enough to withstand the habitual want to divert back to our 'old ways' and then we have to maintain that for the rest of our lives, because even when we stop physically, our mental and emotional state is what triggers the onset of addiction and if we haven't got the coping skills, then we are lost...



I think sometimes people just get tired of hearing others cry the blues about how hard it is to quit something and they think "well it's easy, just quit", without realizing that people don't just wake up one day and say "hey, I think I'll go get me some crack and start smoking it" without some kind of mental or emotional prompting. With that said, I'm glad that such things as rehab and addictions counseling exist, along with anonymous support groups so that the people who suffer hard addictions will have an empathetic outlet to grab on to in the hopes of overstepping all of the emotional baggage that leaves them stranded in their own head space.

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