Teaching of conventional wisdom at Freedom

Video discussing how we try to make sure everything written on the Freedom site is designed to give information that is accurate and tried and true as opposed to simple conventional wisdom strategies that while they may help some, may very well undercut others.

Conventional Wisdom and Quitting Smoking

(Comments originally from the Freedom from Nicotine Board)

We always want to be careful about giving advice that is considered conventional wisdom, sounds great on paper, and is basically wrong for most people trying to quit smoking.

Things like the idea of feeling you have to wait till a certain day of the week, or prepare for a certain time period gives many people the excuse to put off a quit that they may be ready to do at the point in time that they show up. Putting off a quit to the “right time” has caused many a smoker to put it off till death.

Some people advise people to sleep through the quitting process. Sleeping as much as you can teaches a smoker in the midst of a quit how to be a prisoner in bed as opposed to how to start to live life as soon as he or she can. Some people, if totally exhausted or sleepy from the withdrawals may need the sleep, but they are not the majority. If a person is tired and needs sleep, staying in bed is fine–but if they are doing it as an escape, they are slowing up their psychological adjustments more than helping them. There are plenty of other such tidbits of wisdom out there, such as carry cigarettes to show how strong you are or give up coffee or change all of your daily routines that have many advocates but is still not necessarily right for the majority of people.

We have a Quit Smoking Tip Sheet that gives a few tried and true techniques, not all inclusive by any means, but a starting point. Keep in mind, this list in controversial in most places, especially when considering the first line reads “Quit cold turkey. In the long run it’s the easiest and most effective technique of smoking cessation.” Controversial elsewhere or not, it is key to note that this concept and a few others are the reasons that our members joined up at Freedom and have stayed here.

Most people are here because they like the focus we put on our simplicity to quitting. I think many if not most have been to other sites and realized that idea of anything that works for you is fine just didn’t seem to work for them. If you think other sites have an edge, go and read at them for a few days. Read carefully what is often going on. You will often see numerous relapses that are down played as not being big mistakes, and you will also likely see people who are complaining a lot more of physical and emotional problems much longer than the average participant here at Freedom. We are trying to help people get adjusted both mentally and physically the fastest they can to life as an ex-smoker.

We want to caution our newest members to read here and learn as much as you can and not to be so quick to throw in quitting advice that you have picked up elsewhere–either at other sites or in your real world encounters. We want people to come to Freedom to first learn how to quit before they shift their attentions on how to teach people to quit. Although in truth, the real reason people should be here should always be to enforce his or her own personal quit even more than influencing others–each and every members quit and life depends on this goal. Any advice that is telling people that they must somehow shift their way of life in order to start or sustain a quit may not be accurate for most people.

The bottom line of quitting is, the sooner people realize that everything they could do as a smoker they can now do as an ex-smoker–the sooner they realize that there is life without smoking. They will also find out there may be many things that they can now do better without smoking and that life is basically better on many fronts from them having quit smoking. The faster people get back to their life–the sooner they will break triggers and habits and the sooner they will realize that they can do anything as an ex-smoker as long as they always remember to never take another puff!

Additional commentary from that string:

We do come from a very different slant than most other boards. I suspect it is hard for our members to read what goes on at other sites without wanting to “correct” them on some of their views. But understand the members of those sites cringe when they read what we say here too.

A slip is a relapse sounds as absurd to them as a slip not being a relapse sounds to us. Pulling posting privileges if a person posts a relapse makes them think that we are intolerant and elitists. I guess in a way we are–we only want people who are wanting to quit and are willing to put in a 100 percent effort and commitment. The other boards are much more tolerant than us–they are willing to work with anybody no matter how much or how little effort they are willing to put into quitting and no matter how many it takes for them to get a quit right.

Our members are here though because they want to finally get smoking permanently over with and they see us as their best shot for treating nicotine as the addiction it is and they see us as their best chance of permanent success. They are here because they have accepted the premise that there is no real legitimate reason to relapse. We are glad they see us that way–it is how we see ourselves too. But it is not our place to try to convert any other site to our ways of thinking any more than it is their right to try to change us.

If someone from another site came to us and told us we were all wrong about quitting cold turkey and our relapse policy we would delete the post and say we don’t want to divert our board from attention of quitting smoking. We should then not try to divert the attention of other sites or raise controversies elsewhere either then. By sticking with this policy they may call us intolerant but they should never be able to call us hypocrites.

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I saw where one of our newest members mentioned how she was printing out materials from other websites and also mentioned how she had done quite a bit of research on how to quit smoking. I thought I had better get this string up. I was actually surprised to see how I left out one major example of the kind of advice that is often given at other sites, as well as in most professional programs and professionally produced literature on smoking cessation–the concept of “Don’t let a slip put you back to using.” This line pretty much undercuts whatever valuable advice may be given in such pieces. The message should never be not to let a slip put you back to using. The message that needs to be understood if you want to keep a quit is, ”DON’T SLIP!” For a “slip” is a relapse and a relapse carries the major consequences of either having to quit smoking again or smoking till cigarettes cripple and kill you. These are both lousy options. Simply reworded, to stay smoke free always remember to never take another puff!

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Every now and then I see a post that has the line line, “I’ve heard that…,” or “I’ve seen somewhere…”, or “I’ve read at another site…,” or even “My doctor says…,”and then goes on to tell of some of conventional wisdom or folk tale for all to read and maybe get the impression that there is some validity to the specific quitting advice claim. This kind of post is likely standard fare at many other Internet Support Sites but we are not set up to be a standard Internet Support Site. We are set up to be an educational forum that also happens to offer support. We really make a concerted effort at Freedom to make sure that all of the concepts presented have some real value and validity.

It is one thing for a person to write that they have heard or read something and want to know if it is valid, but to just write out the comment as advice or as a fact because they have heard it that it must be true can pose a problem. This string talks about how important it is for people who post here to be cautious on what they pass out as advice that is picked up elsewhere.

I’m not saying that there isn’t some good advice out there, but it is best to clear ideas though our managers first before putting it out as some sort of factual statement. At a minimum, if you heard something elsewhere that you may think is of value, post the idea as a question so as to make it clear that you are just trying to do some fact finding and not trying to give the impression that you are stating a known and valid fact that may impact people reading here at Freedom.