Joe Cruse I Don't Smoke
Addiction News and Tips February 2010

Have you noticed there is a great deal of interest in the arena of smoking cessation?  Perhaps you are not directly affected by the use of nicotine, but you may be just one degree away from someone who is. The word arena indicates that a conflict or a contest of some kind is going on... and there is... 
 
There is the conflict between the smoker and his/her cigarette, pipe, cigar, plug or snuff; there is a conflict within the nicotine addict; there is a conflict between the smoker and his/her family members, friends, co-workers, and other loved ones; there is a conflict between nicotine addiction and treatment/rehab programs and counselors who have difficulty effectively challenging nicotine addiction; there is the conflict between tobacco companies and government regulators. And there are more.  
 
If one were to start writing a newsletter about addiction recovery and especially nicotine addiction recovery, there are a lot of different audiences to speak to.  But if such a newsletter had enough interesting information and help, enough human interest stories, enough whimsy and enough advanced guideposts to delve into more specific subjects, it might serve varied groups quite well...
 
Let's give it a try.  We are providing a sign-up link and we will attach a blog link where you can let us know later if we are getting the job done...
 
Let's give it a try.  We are providing a sign-up link and we will attach a blog link where you can let us know later if we are getting the job done...
IN THIS ISSUE
ADDICTIONS
A STORY
DEBATES
RECOVERY TIPS AND WHIMSY
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QUICK REFERENCE
ADDICTIONS Subtle Denial
 
"Why can't you see what you are doing to yourself!?  Why won't you listen?" 
 
These are the questions people frequently ask a person who continues down a dangerous and eventually destructive path of using mind and mood altering substances regardless of the consequences.  People ask it of the smoker who coughs incessantly, they ask it of the drinker who is headed to court with their second DUI, they ask it of the user who has run out of money one week after payday.
 
If someone criticizes the addict's use of their drug(s) of choice (the drugs they believe do something special for them), they use subtle denial tactics to disagree.  
 
They rationalize: " That would never have happened if..."
They minimize: "Cigarettes aren't nearly as bad as alcohol or drugs..."
They compare: "I'm not nearly as bad as Charlie, he should quit!"...
They bargain: "I would cut down if you..." 
They postpone: "I can't quit until...  or before..."
They justify: "If you had a job like mine"... or  "...it is one of the few pleasures I have..." or  "...all my friends do it."  
 
These comments are frustrating to you. You know denial is in the room when you hear them precede each comment with, "Yea, but..."  (Try this, go back and precede each of the quotes given above with "Yea, but..."). "Yea but..." is the mantra of subtle denial.
 
The external world, where the reality of things exists, is not as accessible to the user, drinker, and smoker.  When they are not under the influence of a cigarette, drink or a drug they are still hampered by the effects of having used recently or by the major preoccupation with the next use.  Logical thought is difficult.  Full reality is unavailable and not visible.  Nicotine is the most subtle reality bender; alcohol, meth and heroin are the most obvious. 
 
Logical left minded function and comfortable right minded mood function involves accurate perception of reality (external world) and feelings (internal world).   The addict has found ways to change reality and mood and they fiercely defend it even though it is inaccurate and leads to complications.  They cannot live up to their full potential.
 
Denial is the addict's armor and it comes in three thicknesses, Early or unknowing denial, they just don't know.  Later, unthinking denial, they just don't evaluate what they are doing; it becomes a 'natural' part of their lifestyle.  And lastly, desperate denial, they noisily debate the existence of a problem.  This layer of denial is no longer subtle.  It takes effort and patience to break through denial.  It may require special help from professionals and loved ones, and any other source that can be called upon to help. 
A STORY Slogan Stories
 
People in recovery from an addiction find what are called 12-step meetings for ongoing support.  Often, the meeting rooms have slogans on the walls to serve as guideposts of recovery.  One Day At A Time and Easy Does It are common examples you may have seen on bumper stickers.  There are many appropriate slogans and many stories to go along with them.   One such is a story about the young man who was celebrating his first full year of recovery from alcoholism and while he was stating his gratitude to the large group, he talked about the good messages he had received from the many slogans posted around the room.  While he did that he got up and started rearranging some of the slogans until he had them in this order: TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE; BE HAPPY; HAPPY, JOYOUS, AND FREE; THINK, THINK, THINK; BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD...; FIRST THINGS FIRST; JUST FOR TODAY; LIVE AND LET LIVE; EASY DOES IT; ONE DAY AT A TIME...
 
Then he instructed us to read the additional message now found in the first words of the slogans and all the words in the last one.  The result:  "TO BE HAPPY THINK, BUT FIRST, LIVE EASY ONE DAY AT A TIME"
DEBATES Nicotine as a Subtle Addiction
Question Mark 
Over the years there has been a great deal of confusion and argument regarding the accurate description of addiction.  For many years there was the argument that addiction was a mis-behavior vs. a disease or disorder. Then later, how can we describe the disorder, then how to measure the severity of the disorder, and when, where and how to treat the disorder?  The treatment field is answering many of these questions today.  So, why does nicotine appear to be a less serious addiction?  Perhaps, it is because we compare the symptoms of nicotine addiction with the complications of other drug addictions.
 
RECOVERY TIPS AND WHIMSY
"WHAT 'A YER SMOKIN"? CHALK?
 
That's what old time movie star, Jean Arthur, asked Gary Cooper in a frontier movie when she saw him smoking a cigarette.  Cigarettes had just started to compete with pipes and cigars. Cigarettes became very important in the movies and they saw a lot of action and meant a lot of things about the smoker:  debonaire and suave, tough, sultry, grownup etc.  Heros smoked, athletes smoked, even doctors endorsed Camel Cigarettes... and then there was the Marlboro Man.  He is dead, now, the man who played the original Marlboro Man.  His family sued the tobacco company in 1999. He became the champion of many cases, including the governmant's cases against the tobacco companies.  Times change.  An entire industry is under attack for the product they manufacture.  And yet the battle goes on with restrictions on advertising, distribution, and clean air acts that decree where there is no smoking.  It is a difficult problem for all concerned, but there is no doubt that tobacco, personified by the cigarette, has its back to the wall.
 
P.S. "I Don't Smoke!" can be a do it yourself, but not by yourself, stand-alone book. You can get it online, 20% off, at www.hcibooks.com
 
Sincerely,
 
Joe Cruse
Woodshaven, Inc.
Woodshaven, Inc. | 2117 Boundary Oak Dr. | Las Vegas | NV | 89134