Reading at other quit sites
Comments from the Freedom from Nicotine board:
For our members and readers who also read or participate at other quit smoking sites
We have members and readers here at Freedom who also read or participate at other online support sites. Recently one of our members posed a question at the board as to why a specific member at another site was still having such a hard time even though the person was off smoking for several months. Actually, we took the post off the board at Freedom because it specifically copied and pasted the post from the member at the other site and we do not allow posts from other sites at our board without prior permission of our managers.
The question though touches on a few important concepts that would be beneficial for us to address for people who do read at other sites. There are some real limitations to reported quit times at most other boards because quit meters at other sites do not often reflect how long the person is actually off nicotine. Some people may still be on NRT or have just very recently got off the nicotine product even though their meters may show a much longer “quit” time.
Then there are the constant discussions that go on at other sites as to whether people should reset their quit meters if they only have a few cigarettes, or one cigarette, or a puff. The debate of what is a slip and what is a relapse is standard and daily fare at most sites. When it comes down to it you just don’t know the accuracy of quit time periods from anyone at most sites by simply reading their quit meters.
We have a string at Freedom titled Tell a newbie how how many seconds a day you still want a cigarette. This is an extremely important string. If you go back and read through the hundreds of responses from people who are off for weeks, months, or even years and you will get a real appreciation of just how infrequent smoking thoughts really are for people who totally break free from nicotine. If you were to pose the exact same question at other sites that have the limitations of variable interpretations of what it means to be truly quit you would likely see many different answers and a wide variety of responses to this very same question.
The problem of defining what is really being quit can even pose problems to people who are not using any form of NRT or had any “slips” (relapses), for by reading the comments of other people who are “off smoking” for days, weeks, months or years and who are still complaining of this symptom and that craving can set up the expectation that quitting is really a long drawn out battle. This sets the stage for either a self-fulfilling prophecy situation or for easily blaming everything that goes wrong in an ex-smoker’s life on the fact that he or she had quit smoking.
If you are you feeling stressed on a particular day weeks into your quit or having a specific physical symptom-it must be because you quit smoking. After all, look at those other people who are feeling stressed or having the same physical symptom the same day who have been off for just as long. We on the other hand try to insure that our readers recognize that if they are feeling stress or are having a physical symptom it is probably because they are just facing one or more stressful situations or are having symptoms to a problem that they had better find the real underlying reason for the cause. The string Life goes on without smoking explores this issue.
Other sites often lack a very thorough educational component helping people to understand important concepts inspiring people to quit or reinforcing their resolve to stay off. We have four major components built into the sites of WhyQuit and Freedom. We try to give our readers the understanding of why they smoke, why they should stop, how to stop, and most importantly, how to stay free from not only smoking but from the control of nicotine. The combination of having all of this information and being truly nicotine free gives our readers a real edge in sustaining their quits and of helping them to have a healthier and happier outlook on their life as a non-smoker. We help them to develop a more positive attitude and this will often minimize the emotional adjustment period people can experience when quitting. We also help them to see early on that they are not depriving themselves of a cigarette as opposed to ridding themselves of smoking. We in essence help to speed up the emotional recovery process for many of our readers.
I sometimes worry about our members participating at other sites for the conventional wisdom advice and different philosophies taught can sometimes sidetrack them in their progress. In a way though I think it can also be helpful for some to read at other sites too as long as they read at these sites with an educated and critical eye. Our members will often see people having an extended hard time and may very well be able to recognize just why these other people are in a perpetual emotional or physical withdrawal state and end up feeling more grateful and protective of their own quits. Our members will also see relapses on a regular basis and realize just how important it is to do everything in their power to make this quit stick.
By the way, we have guidelines as to how to behave as a Freedom member when at other sites. I am going to copy comments we have in Our Mission Statement string that talks about how we don’t want our members stirring up debates at other sites with our materials and philosophies. What we are doing here at Freedom is controversial and we do not believe in stirring up controversies at other sites.
Also I am going to attach a few other links here that I think would be good for people who participate at other sites to read. Again, if you do read at other sites work at developing a critical eye and recognize what you are reading may not be what the person is writing. You may be reading “nicotine free,” when the writer was saying “smoke free” or even “smoke free except for that one puff here and there that didn’t really count.”
Again, read these additional links below, They will help to prepare you to read anywhere and to recognize the real advantage you have in understanding just why you quit and why you are still totally convinced that you want to stick to your personal commitment to never take another puff.
Threads that shows how we are different than other sites:
- I Liked My Other Support Group More
- The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom
- Good news, our members don’t relapse anymore…
- Do members of our board seem to be too happy?
- Misery Love Company
- Quitting can be a very lonely experience
- NRT and Quit Meters
- Limitations with the use of NRT products
Our comments below from Our Mission Statement discuss how to participate at other sites regarding Freedom materials:
From: Joel Sent: 11/12/2004 7:08 AM
We are not the only Internet site on smoking cessation. There are plenty of others. We know that some of our members belong to other sites. We do try to make it clear that we want people who belong to more than one site to be careful how they share materials and information between sites.
We have a strictly enforced policy about posting links to other sites at Freedom. We won’t let people do it. We also say that any materials that a person may pick up at other sites or in the media or even in professional journals need to be cleared through our management before being allowed on the board (see Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom). 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 string the Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom discusses why we have these controls in place.
Other sites do not necessarily have these controls. Our feelings though are that even though the site may not have strict guidelines in place on posting materials from our site, we want our members to be cautious how they use our materials elsewhere.
Much of what we use here and at WhyQuit can have a great value being used elsewhere. Our why to quit materials and most of our relapse prevention materials can be of great value. But our how to quit materials can often cause great debate and controversy at others sites that advocate multiple methods of smoking cessation. I am attaching a rather lenghty discussion below that we have used numerous times in this string addressing the use of our materials at other sites.
We have a long standing policy on requesting that our members do not do anything to disrupt the operation of other boards. I hope all of our members and even just people who read here honor that request.
Be very cautious on using our cold turkey materials elsewhere. Also, as I said above most of our relapse prevention materials can be beneficial to other sites but there are some that will be problematic. The ones that are not appropriate to post elsewhere are the ones that make the clear distinction that there is absolutely no difference between slips and relapses. That is not a view shared by most other sites and it is clearly not our mission nor our intent to thrust our views on any other site.
Our Mission is to help people who find their way to our site to understand that to quit smoking and to stay permanently free is as simple as just knowing to never take another puff!
From: Joel. Sent: 11/2/2002 5:58 AM
I saw in a discussion that was going last night that some people have come in here after having participated at other sites. I suspect that this is pretty common now a days. We get a little nervous when people come in from other sites, because they often have preconceived notions of how boards should be run and come in ready to share all of the conventional wisdoms they have picked up elsewhere. The string The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom really tries to address these issues head on.
What we do here is quite unconventional. We treat cigarette smoking as an actual drug addiction. Imagine that. Most other sites and most other programs call nicotine an addiction but somehow treat it different than other addictions. What other addiction is treated by administering the exact same drug just via a different route? What other program such as AA, or nicotine anonymous or cocain anonymous delivers the message at every meeting of don’t let a little slip discourage you–it is not like you are drinking or using again?
At the same time though, we don’t want people who have come from other sites to feel that we don’t want them here now. We do want them because we suspect that they are here now because they realized the limitations of the other site at helping them sustain their quits. They often have a deeper appreciation of what we are really doing here.
But again, we are not the site for everyone. The other sites serve as resources for people who don’t want to accept the things that are members do accept. The fact is there are more of those people than there are of people who believe what our members believe. But our mission is to help that minority, the people who want our help. Our mission is not to make other groups adopt our beliefs.
Here is a post addressing this very issue from late last year. The message is as important today as it was back then.
From: Joel. Sent: 12/30/2001 3:38 PM
Today we were notified that a member of our site, who is also a member at another site, put up a direct link at the other site directly to the Freedom board. While we understand the good intentions of the person who did it, we feel that we must point out that such actions can cause problems. One other time I put up a post addressing this issue, but from the opposite side, where one of our members put up a post on our board about another site. I am going to attach that post below. This statement along with our mission statement really explains the potential problems of such practices and why we try not to divert the focus of other sites at the same time as protecting our focus here at Freedom.
The letter from the past:
A new member put up a link to another board, one that has been around for a long time, one that in fact our two founders originally came from. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the exact post that it led to, it did divert people to a site that has many different views, most notably on NRT issues. Since we basically have always had policies in place asking people not to do this, I removed the post and emailed the person letting him know that we don’t put links up here. As a side note I also mentioned it was a pretty good idea not to put our link up at other sites too, for they also have different points of view and are often not thrilled seeing our agenda.
Well I didn’t know at the time I sent that email that letters from my libraries were already posted by this person at a totally different site. And not just any letters, the NRT letters. Talk about making a lot of enemies real fast. There were 10 replies and none of them favorable. Luckily my name wasn’t attached, but I think many knew who I was.
Before I came to Freedom, I was posting at other sites. I was very cautious about not letting my NRT views known, I knew they were not going to believed or appreciated. I always focused on the relapse prevention articles which I felt applied to anyone, no matter how they quit. Even these letters stirred controversy and I ended up leaving these other areas, usually by mutual agreement.
Even when I came to Freedom, I was here almost 5 months before I made my opinions on the matter known, and that was only because I was asked point blank and had no recourse but to answer. I had informed the management prior to this of my view but knew it was not shared and always felt that it was not my place to alter the site.
Anyway, what happened here is history now and our site did become transformed over time. But we must all recognize that the rest of the online world is in a different frame of mind and it is not our right to go change their opinions any more than it is their right to change ours. So please, if you are at other sites stay low key about our views here. You will likely stir up debate that will not convert anyone and just get yourself kicked out.
Convincing the rest of the world is beyond our means. What is important that every one here convinces him or herself. The only thing you have to convince yourself of is that you want to stay smoke free and the way to accomplish this goal is to never take another puff!