"Help! It's an emergency. I've relapsed!"
Video explains the great advantage of reaching out for assistance before taking a puff rather than seeking help after relapsed.
When I used to run stop smoking clinics, everyone had my phone number and pager numbers to reach me 24 hours a day. I always told people that in case of an emergency, call me anytime day or night. I actually told them it didn’t even have to be an emergency. If in the middle of the night a clinic participant woke-up and felt good and just wanted to say hello and that everything was fine, that was fine with me too. My family hated this part of my nature, but had learned to live with it. Luckily, not many of them took me up on this offer but the option always existed. I just wanted them to get the sense that there was help available to them when it was needed. I had no problem with anyone calling for help at any time, when help could have actually been given.
But calling me in the middle of the night to tell me about a relapse was totally unnecessary. Paging me in the middle of the day and maybe interrupting my dinner or a television show, or even an interesting commercial to announce a relapse was also unnecessary. Once a puff is taken there was no emergency anymore or no real sense of urgency. Nothing was on the line now. The quit was already blown.
There was no real significance to the second, third or even tenth cigarette, they were all the result of the first puff, as are all the other hundreds of thousands and maybe more than a million that were destined to follow. Is it that I didn’t want to know about the relapse? Not at all. I told them they are more than welcome to send me a post card, third class if possible. It would get to me eventually and I could have updated my records, but there was no need for me to actually have to be woken up and lose a second of sleep for such an announcement.
Today, many more people quit with the help of online support sites than participate in live stop smoking clinics. The support offered at these online message boards can work in a similar manner. If a person ever feels that his or her resolve or quit is in someway in jeopardy, he or she can post about it at the board. It may take a little time before someone gets back to the person but if the site is large enough, usually not that long. While waiting the person has plenty of resource materials available on the Internet that he or she can access to help secure his or her own quit. He or she can read their board’s posts, or utilize our self-help videos or other resources at WhyQuit.com. There are plenty of resources available to reinforce anyone’s resolve, anyone who wants their resolve reinforced that is.
The bottom line is that the people should search out information or post at his or her site before he or she relapses. The odds are that if the person refocuses his or her thoughts, a reply to his or her message will not even be necessary, just a nice reminder that someone cares. But the person will have already passed the crisis state. It usually doesn’t take that long.
If the situation that causes the the person to feel that his or her quit is somehow in jeopardy was some sort of external real life trauma, even if he or she doesn’t relapse there may still be an ongoing trauma in the person’s life, but that problem was going to be happening whether he or she was an active smoker, an ex-smoker, or even if he or she had never smoked a day in his or her life. But if he or she thinks about the real situation he or she will realize that relapsing to a deadly addiction will not in any way, shape or form help resolve the existing problem. It will just give the person an additional life threatening problem that he or she will also need to contend with.
If the person’s relapse eventually results in his or her premature death, everyone he or she knows and leaves behind will have to live with some kind of grief and frustrations too. Does the person really want all of his children, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, and just plain acquaintances to feel the need or acceptance to relapse to a deadly drug addiction in his or her memory? If not, he or she can teach all of these people a valuable lesson while he or she is still alive? It is the same lesson that he or she can teach to his or herself every day. The lesson–that he or she can stay off smoking under any and all circumstances as long as he or she always remembers to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
- Relapse prevention resources
- You’ve relapsed, now what?
- Why I no longer conduct stop smoking clinics