Are you a regular nicotine user? If so, when you look in the mirror do you see a "real" drug addict looking back? You should! Only about 15% of regular powdered cocaine users are addicted. In contrast, up to 90% of adults and 87% of youth who smoke nicotine at least once daily are chemically dependent under DSM IV mental health standards. The fact that nicotine's dopamine/adrenaline intoxication is an alert and not drunken "high" does not make it any less of a chemical addiction than alcoholism, heroin or crystal meth. Yes, you are dependent upon a drug that is six times more addictive to human's than powdered cocaine.
If drunken intoxication were the yardstick for dependency then far more regular alcohol drinkers than 10% would be addicted while almost no smoker would be hooked. Most dependency experts rank nicotine as earth's most addictive drug. We are "real" drug addicts! Just one puff and up to 50% of our brain's dopamine pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine, temporarily satisfying our mind's "wanting" disorder. And the cycle will repeat itself as constantly falling nicotine reserves soon have the brain wanting for more. When quitting, just one puff and it's back to square one, with relapse all but assured. It's called the Law of Addiction and failure to master it will likely result in death.
Yes, we truly are true drug addicts living life from fix to fix. We inhale puff after puff not because we like smoking but because we don't like what happens when we stop. Every two hours the amount of nicotine remaining in our bloodstream was cut by half. If we waited too long our brain's right insula would begin punishing us with urges, craves and a rising tide of anxieties. Trapped between insula beatings and dopamine "wanting", we invented a long list of reasons for administering that next fix. We don't smoke because of stress, boredom, phone calls, flavor, taste, computers, work, drinking, bathrooms, newspapers, driving, friends, romance, depression or because we just walked out of a store. We smoke because it's time to either elevate sagging blood nicotine level or begin sensing the onset of early withdrawal.
The secret to breaking free and staying free is education, to become smarter than our addiction is strong. It takes just 72 hours to rid the body of all nicotine and for the symptoms of withdrawal to peak in intensity, before beginning to gradually subside. No psychological crave anxiety attack will last longer than the time it took you to smoke a cigarette - about three minutes, but be sure and look at a clock as time distortion can make those minutes feel like hours.
As shown by the above chart, the maximum number of daily anxiety crave episodes experienced by the average quitter is six, which usually occurs on day three (72 hours). In other words, that's 18 minutes of possible significant anxiety on the worst day of recovery (3 minutes x 6 craves). By day ten the average quitter is down to experiencing just 1.4 craves. Sadly, most smokers never take the time to master the principles underlying their dependency upon nicotine.
Let me share a couple of examples of how education can change your thinking. First, you have probably convinced yourself that smoking reduces stress while in truth smoking has never reduced one drop of stress in the history of the world. In fact, nicotine is a stimulant that makes the heart pound faster. Stress generates body acids while nicotine is an alkaloid. Combining the two has the same neutralizing effect as pouring baking soda (an alkaloid like nicotine) on an acid covered battery terminal, except that stress related acids throw the nicotine addict into an immediate state of withdrawal. The "aaah" sensation that arrives within 8 to 10 seconds of a puff of new nicotine is simply nicotine satisfying "want" and relieving its own absence. The underlying stressful event remains unchanged. If the car tire went flat, it's still flat.
One more example. Have you ever felt like you couldn't concentrate or think clearly while trying to quit smoking? The most common cause of concentration difficulty when quitting is low blood sugar caused by the fact that nicotine had assumed some control over regulating brain glucose levels via adrenaline releasing stored sugars and fats. This symptom is often overcome by drinking fruit juices during the first few days (cranberry is excellent) and by spreading our normal food intake out a bit more evenly over the entire day. Don't skip breakfast or lunch but don't eat more food either, just eat a bit less more frequently.
Which cigarette in which pack will provide the irritant or spark that gives birth to that very first cancerous cell? Cancer has a beginning and so does disease. Which cigarette is it? Which one is the trigger for emphysema? Which one contains the nicotine that constricts a vessel that produces a paralyzing stroke or instant death? Which carton contains the massive heart attack? When will the damage become irreversible?
You may have successfully tuned out all the health warnings for years. But with each passing year the odds of becoming one of the five million that tobacco claims annually increases. Take your own poll. Visit any cancer treatment ward and ask each patient if they were smokers. Among men, 22 out of 23 will say "yes." But lung cancer isn't smoking's biggest killer, it's circulatory disease.
It's a whole new life being nicotine free! Don't believe what they tell you about quitting. There's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - it's better than gold. It's the "real," you, a calm and comfortable free spirit who calls all the shots. It's a return of our dignity and the birth of new found self-respect. To stand in front of that mirror and be proud of who we see, to grow to like then love who we've become.
Our body's healing magic is beauty to behold. We've tried to convince ourselves that it's too late yet we pray we're wrong. Within ninety days of quitting you could experience up to a 30 percent increase in the overall function of your lungs. Day after day, week after week, month after month to feel yourself grow stronger. To climb without panting, to exercise an entire hour, to hear the wheeze and cough no more, or be told that your snore has gone. To smell, taste, to eat slowly, to remain, to relax and not need, to drive for hours or days, to smile, to stay, to hug, to breathe, to hopefully live as long as intended! Freedom has always been within our reach, we just never took the time to master our addiction.
Your next 20 nicotine fixes will take at least an hour to inhale. Why not devote that hour toward learning. If you'll just sit, watch, click and read the words at the following link it may forever change your life. I think you'll be amazed at how little you actually knew about the drug that controlled us. All your former quits likely had one thing in common - you fought in darkness. The trained and prepared mind does well in battle. Educate your desire! Turn on the lights! It's time to take back control! Click on the next four words!
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