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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
April 2, 2010
If you started smoking at a young age and have smoked for many years, you’re very likely addicted to nicotine. Researchers are now saying that by the time someone smokes 100 cigarettes, they’re addicted. The dictionary describes addiction as, “a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a potentially harmful drug.” For smokers, addiction is more than that.
The physiological (or physical) dependence is probably the easiest to understand and evident everywhere. Anytime I see someone smoking outside in the snow or huddled under an umbrella in the pouring rain, I say to myself, “That’s the picture of addition.”
The psychological (or mental) dependence is a little trickier to understand and that’s one of the reasons quitting is so difficult for so many people. Once you quit, nicotine is physically out of your system within a few days. So if that’s the case, why isn’t the addiction broken after a few days? Smoking becomes an automatic behavior. My guess is that you have lighted up without thinking about it for years. Certain behaviors become associated with smoking—talking on the phone, driving, even sitting at the computer. You become so used to using one hand to smoke that when you quit, you realize you really have two hands available to do things!
There’s also a social part of the addiction that can be tricky to overcome. You might associate smoking with belonging to a group. Many times at work, your smoke break is with your office buddies. Conversations during breaks form friendships. Remember when you first started smoking? Most people start with a friend showing them how to smoke. A lot of people are afraid to quit because they’re afraid they’ll lose their friends, or never be able to go out socially with them again.
For more information, refer to the Three Link Chain of Addiction. If you’re in the Basic program, click here. If you’re in the Premium program, click here. Everyone who has quit smoking has broken through all of these parts of addiction and gotten to the other side of freedom. Their lives are healthier, better and richer because they worked hard to get to become smokefree. You can do it, too!
If you’re quitting this week, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Call your buddy, ask your non-smoking friends for support, and if you’re in the Premium program, ask for help on the Message Boards. If you’re one of those veteran members reaching back to offer help, thank you. You make this program so strong. As others reached out to you, you’re giving back by helping those who need your strength now.
Until next time, I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you’re in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put “HELP NOW” in the subject line of your post. If you’re looking to offer help, watch for those, “HELP NOW” posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies friends to offer some assistance as well.