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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
March 28, 2011
Three Link Chain of Addiction
If you started smoking at a young age, 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. That’s why Freedom From Smoking Online uses the Three Link Chain of Addiction. We believe there are physical, mental and social aspects to a smoker’s addiction.
The physical dependence on nicotine 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 trying to satisfy their craving, I tell myself, “That’s the picture of addiction.”
The psychological dependence is a little trickier to understand and that’s one of the reasons why quitting is so difficult for so many people. Once you quit, nicotine is physically out of your system within a few days. So why isn’t the addiction broken after a few days? It’s because smoking becomes an automatic behavior over time. You have probably lighted up without thinking about it for years. Certain behaviors become associated with smoking—talking on the phone, driving, even sitting at the computer. It’s very common for smokers to light up whenever they feel stressed. You may have found yourself lighting up when you had a cigarette already burning in an ashtray.
The social link to addiction is also tricky to overcome. You may associate smoking with belonging to a group. Many times at work, you might spend your break smoking with your buddies. Those conversations during breaks eventually lead to friendships. Remember when you first started smoking? Most people start when a friend shows 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.
Refer to the Three Link Chain of Addiction in Module 1. People who quit smoking have broken through all of these parts of addiction and gotten to the freedom on the other side. Their lives are healthier, better, richer because they worked hard to gain that freedom. You can do it, too!
If you’re quitting this week, reach out for help. Call your buddy, ask your non-smoking friends for support, and reach out 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 reaching out to 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 to offer some assistance as well.