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Junkie Thinking

Like the world's most aggressive cancer, junkie thinking can be a powerful force for personal betrayal. Instead of remaining patient and riding out the bumps during this temporary period of re-adjustment called recovery, you'll see posts from members where relapse thinking is beginning to take root and seriously infect their judgement.

Countless times in Turkeyville and Freedom posts we've seen members share honest facts associated with utterly terrible and emotionally brutal life situations. We then watch as they stand back and almost dare the group to tell them that they don't have sufficient justification to again put nicotine into their body. Well guess what, we don't buy it and neither do you! Picture of a man injecting a cigarette into his arm

There is no legitimate justification for relapse, none, period. Every bit as much a mental illness as alcoholism, there's zero justification for continuing to live life as an actively feeding addict.

Five pounds, ten pounds, twenty or thirty, the health risks don't begin to compare. You lost your job or face devastating financial crisis and you're down to your very last penny. Yet you'll find money to feed an expensive addiction? Forget it! You held your mom in your arms as she passed from this life and the depression that's followed has had you sitting in a recliner for weeks. You need medical help, not nicotine. Flushing your hard work, dreams and healing down the toilet as you add active drug addiction to your list of problems defies logic and reason.

The nicotine addiction feeding cycle: falling blood serum nicotine level, crave, inhale, aaah wanting relief sensation To use the circumstances of one's life as our mind's excuse for putting nicotine back into these healing bodies is wrong. Recovery isn't a problem, it's a solution. Nicotine use does not relax stress, it only relaxes its own absence. No sooner did we use it than the amount remaining in our blood began to once again decline until the anxiety for the next fix caused the cycle to be repeated, again and again, until death would we have parted.

Please don't think us heartless when we put your recovery, health, and life above serious concerns about your weight, finances, loved ones, your job, friends, relationships, a smoking friend, relative or spouse, or even the death of the person that you hold dearest. All we ask is that you be honest with yourself.

Honesty would make you see that pounding your thumb with a hammer in response to your problems (with the risk that injury would be so great that amputation becomes necessary) makes far more sense than assuming the 50/50 risk of a very early grave that comes with being unable to keep your recovery alive.

Recovery is our temporary stepping stone back to that deep deep sense of calmness and comfort that our minds' enjoyed immediately before nicotine took control of our lives. Our endless lifetime cycle of nicotine feedings has been an extremely draining experience both physically and emotionally - for some more than others.

Do you remember the deep and rich sense of almost constant calmness that filled your mind mmediately prior to smoking nicotine for the very first time? Emotionally your resided somewhere between that nicotine/dopamine "aahhhh" sensation that arrived within 8 to 10 seconds of a single powerful puff, and the profound anxiety and depressed state of badly needing another fix ("Where are my cigarettes!!!!).

Prior to our first encounter with nicotine, there was no perpetual cycle of dopamine high and lows. It was just us enjoying the normal healthy dopamine flow that arrives with a big hug, a deep breath, a cold glass of water, accomplishment, great tasting food or during sexual relations. Quitting is nothing more than once again adjusting to who we were before nicotine took our mind's dopamine circuits permanent hostage.

If you're still having triggered craves or find your mind flooded in a sea of smoking related thoughts, keep in mind that this isn't how it feels to be the real "you" or to be an ex-smoker. This is how it feels during that temporary period of adjustment called "recovery," which transports each of us home!

Give yourself a chance to meet the real you again/ You won't be disappointed. Like a healing broken bone, quitting is a process, not an event. It requires that we each develop a bit of patience when it comes to dealing with our dependency. It requires that we stay focused on victory here and now - hour by hour, that next challenge if any, just one day at a time!

Life's challenges have nothing whatsoever to do with once again becoming an active drug addict. See such junkie thinking for just how ridiculous it is. Remember, we're each addicts too. The only difference is that we learned to be patient with our healing so that we could once again meet the person we once were.

There was always a single principle determining the outcome for all.

An imagine stating the Law of Addiction

Baby steps - patience - you're coming home.

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!
John (Gold)

Excerpts from Freedom's Junkie Thinking Threads

#01 | 15 March 2000 | Joanne

Junkie Thinking When it comes to addictive behavior and thought processes, the smoker is right up there with the cocaine or heroine addict. Especially in the early stages of quitting smoking do we tend to crave "Just One". Unfortunately, that is nothing but the mind of the addict rationalizing the next of many fixes. (Excerpted from Patricia Allison's book "Hooked But Not Helpless") Find out why "Just One" can never be an option...

JUNKIE THINKING: "One Puff won't hurt"
RESPONSE: "One puff will always hurt me, and it always will because I'm not a social smoker. One puff and I'll be smoking compulsively again."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I only want one."
RESPONSE: "I have never wanted only one. In fact, I want 20-30 a day every day. I want them all."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I'll just be a social smoker."
RESPONSE: "I'm a chronic, compulsive smoker, and once I smoke one I'll quickly be thinking about the next one. Social smokers can take it or leave it. That's not me."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I'm doing so well, one won't hurt me now."
RESPONSE: "The only reason I'm doing so well is because I haven't taken the first one. Yet once I do, I won't be doing well anymore. I'll be smoking again."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I'll just stop again."
RESPONSE: "Sounds easy, but who am I trying to kid? Look how long it too me to stop this time. And once I start, how long will it take before I get sick enough to face withdrawal again? In fact, when I'm back in the grip of compulsion, what guarantee do I have that I'll ever be able to stop again?"

JUNKIE THINKING: "If I slip, I'll keep trying."
RESPONSE: "If I think I can get away with one little "slip" now I'll think I can get away with another little "slip" later on."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I need one to get me through this withdrawal."
RESPONSE: "Smoking will not get me through the discomfort of not smoking. It will only get me back to smoking. One puff stops the process of withdrawal and I'll have to go through it all over again."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I miss smoking right now."
RESPONSE: "Of course I miss something I've been doing every day for most of my life. Bud do I miss the chest pain right now? Do I miss the worry, the embarrassment? I'd rather be an ex-smoker with an occasional desire to smoke, than a smoker with a constant desire to stop doing it."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I really need to smoke now, I'm so upset."
RESPONSE: "Smoking is not going to fix anything. I'll still be upset, I'll just be an upset smoker. I never have to have a cigarette. Smoking is not a need; it's a want. Once the crisis is over, I'll be relieved and grateful I'm still not smoking."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I don't care."
RESPONSE: "What is it exactly that I think that I don't care about? Can I truthfully say I don't care about chest pain? I don't care about gagging in the morning? I don't care about lung cancer? No, I care about these things very much. That's why I stopped smoking in the first place."

JUNKIE THINKING: "What difference does it make, anyway?"
RESPONSE: "It makes a difference in the way I breathe, the way my heart beats, the way I feel about myself. It makes a tremendous difference in every aspect of my physical and emotional health."

#18 | 13 Aug 2002 | OBob Gold

Found these on another Junky Thinking thread...


RESPONSE: Smoking is an "activity" or "something to do" only for
smokers. I'm really not "doing" anything when I smoke except still
sitting/standing there. The rest of the world survives occasional
boredom quite well without inhaling life-challenging chemicals.

JUNKIE THINKING: "But they've been smoking on TV and in the movies for
years! There are even magazines devoted to tobacco products!

RESPONSE: "That's right. They were on TV for years, I wasn't. I'm still
alive; many of them aren't and they departed this vale of tears in
prolonged and painful ways. And the smiling faces in the magazines now
are risking painful and disfiguring surgery later, at which point they
won't be smiling at all."

JUNKIE THINKING: "Its so nice to go out for a 'breath of fresh air' and
a cigarette."

RESPONSE: "Fresh air? I've got to be kidding. And face it, sunny days
are one thing, but how many days do I huddle out in the rain with the
rain hitting the cigarette and turning the cigarette paper that
disgusting yellow color? How many times is it windy and it takes forever
to keep a match or lighter lit long enough to light the cigarette, and
then how often does a gust of wind come up and blow the ashes into my
eyes? And when its icy outside, freezing my face off is bad enough, but
when it defrosts, there's this bizarre yellow condensation around my
nostrils. Now THAT'S attractive."

JUNKIE THINKING: "Smoking makes work go faster."

RESPONSE: "Most jobs where you work indoors are in companies which ban
smoking in the workplace. Some companies won't hire me if I smoke. And everytime I stop for a smoke it actually prolongs my work, since I'm not busy accomplishing it."

#20 | 09 Dec 2002 | OBob Gold

TDQ, hope you don't mind me pasting your inner junkie (IJ) debate here. Good stuff.... tea cup em

IJ: Listen to that wheeze--I never wheezed this badly when I was smoking...
ME: Yes, I did. And when I smoked, I was constantly using bronchodilators helpfully supplied by the tobacco companies...
IJ: Um. Yeah. I forgot about that....

Being Honest About Our Addiction
There is no legitimate reason to relapse

IJ: Man, with all these coughs, sniffles, and sneezes, I can't smell anything, taste much, or breathe properly. Might as well be smoking...
ME: Yeah? And the coughs, sniffles, and sneezes will feel better with tobacco smoke added?
IJ. Er. Well...maybe not....

Is it true that everything smells and tastes better when you quit smoking?
What did you love about smoking?

IJ: God, I'm under so much stress right now...if I could have just one cigarette, I'd feel so much better.
ME: Maybe, but the next 25 will be really expensive. And once the habit's reestablished, you'll be spending $150.00 a month you don't have.
IJ: Oh. Never mind.

Fixating on a cigarette.
The One Puff Files

# 24 | 06 May 2003 | qwerty (green)

Thanks Joanne and OBob! This is an excellent thread, especially for us newbies. Reminders are always helpful. I have a minor variation of the first one in Joanne's list, one I've played out over the last several days (but only a few times).

Junkie Thinking: "One puff will be so incredibly good, so completely wonderful, better than any fantasy you've ever had, a thousand times better than the best cigaratte you can remember."

Response: "Sit down and be quiet, you big liar! I know the truth, cause I'm busy reading Freedom posts right now."

2 weeks, 1 day

#25 | 06 May 2003 | BillW Gold

Hi Joanne! Great thread!

Junkie thinking may never fully go away, but the intensity of the battle sure changes! This one happened the evening after I made Gold.......

JUNKIE THINKING: Well, you've gone a whole year, and shown you can do it if you want. Now we can go back to smoking!
RESPONSE: Laughter..... pure, free, unforced laughter; rising up spontaneously from a bottomless well of joy and gratitude......

For those of you still in the battle...... You can win this!


#27 | 25 May 2003 | John Gold

Junkie Self Conditioning
  1. I do not do things that I do not like to do
  2. I smoke lots and lots and lots of cigarettes
  3. Thus, I must really really enjoy smoking
Honest Self Conditioning
  1. I do not do things that I do not like to do
  2. I smoke lots and lots and lots of cigarettes
  3. But my brain reward pathways quickly became chemically married to nicotine (and its two hour chemical half-life) and the only alterative I saw prior to each mandatory feeding was chemical withdawal and recovery. At the moment, smoking nicotine seemed like the quicker solution but in truth it wasn't the solution, it was my entire problem!

#34 | 17 Nov 2003 | Jeff 74 Gold

Sometimes, I make myself laugh my visualizing the internal conflict between the junkie and the non-smoker inside me. This visualization makes me laugh and usually takes my mind off of the urge. I imagine the scene from "Liar, Liar" with Jim Carrey. The part with him trying to say the blue pen is another color. I see myself wrestling with a cigarette saying "smoke it smoke it." It works for me.

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