Talk:The GUS Library

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An excellent tale: by Positronicus on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 10:38:13 PM EDT.

Be strong! (An unusual response) (3+ / 0-) Recommended by: flumptytail, ChocolateChris, trs

I quit 10 years ago & know how tough it can be. Please be ready to fight back should you ever be tempted to yield. Not one! Not ever!

In my long-ago support group we had a myth, or a legend, that there were three significant hurdles to clear -- at three days, three weeks, and three months. Each of these hurdles was related to some particular stress-related psychological barrier, and were consequently known as demons. You had to defeat your various demons to get to the goal.

For a long time I didn't really understand the psychological content of quitting, but as I approached the end stage, with hindsight, I did. My attempt to explain the various psychological challenges took the form of a story:

(UPDATE: An illustrated version of the story is available here. PDF version here)

The Fourth Demon

The nighttime scene: a campfire in the woods, somewhere in the wilderness of Middle Earth. A small band of travelers are resting, spending another evening together on their long journey, yet listening with keen ears, lest some mischievous Forest Troll fancy a little evening entertainment. The eldest member of the party speaks.

"Our legend has it, in the lore of quitterdom, that we are visited by three Major Demons. The first, on Day 3, appears in the form of a thundering herd of Screaming Cravings, known collectively as the Nicotine Withdrawal Syndrome, and has trampled the quits of many of our tribe beneath the sharp edges of its countless hooves. The second, on Week 3, is a mysterious demon with no name, or many names, and appears to each of us differently. Some members of the council believe this demon is called Seemingly Insurmountable Life Problem -- it beckons us to Escape, smothering our emotions and our reason with drugs. The third demon, in Month 3, is known as Exhaustion, and is often accompanied by his servants Negligence, Overconfidence, and False Security.

"Always remember, we are battling for our lives against addiction, the most devious of all demons afflicting mortal man, and his agents are numerous, cunning, and powerful. Even his Minor Demons can be deadly, and you must learn to fight Perceived-Social-Obligation, Found-Smoke, and the most persistent of them all, I'll-Just-Have-One. There are many, many others.

"Yet what Grim Reaper of Death, worthy of his Name, would be without a Fourth Horseman? Some members of the council believe there is a Fourth Major Demon, and that He sends it to torment our brethren with alarming frequency. Like the second demon, it has not just one countenance, but many, and can challenge the strongest among us with its terrifying power. Listen closely, for battling this demon will require all the wit you possess. The name of this demon is Major Emotional Trauma.

"Here are the facts, as they appeared to us, as evidence of this demon. Though there were but three of us at council, between us, within the first year of our quits we endured:

- mother dying of emphysema

- father dying of heart attack

- diagnosis of brain tumor, brain surgery, and recovery

- diagnosis of heart disease & accompanying heart surgery

- loss of job, leaving self, wife, and 2 kids with no income

- only child leaving for college

"And there is the proof, my friends, the proof that there is no depravity beyond the reach of the Dark Lord Nicodemon and his Four Major Demons. The stakes are high -- they want nothing less than your life -- for addiction, for disease, and for death. That is the sentence before you. They want your soul, and they will not lightly let you go free.

"Rest well tonight, fellow travelers, for the morrow brings a visitation by who knows what foul demon. Stay as you are, as One Fellowship, banded together against the agents of the Dark Lord, for by your collective wisdom, you may yet survive."

Congratulations! You have already survived the sharp assaults of the first demon, and have proved your mettle against the deadly forces of addiction. Keep going!

Another great story from the comments of positronicus 9-23-09. He wanted you to know. Bryan Curtis started smoking at 13, never thinking that 20 years later it would kill him and leave a wife and children alone. In his last weeks, he set out with a message for young people. [1]

Morague posted this story 02-19-2010

'The Nicotine Addiction Story

Nicotine is probably the most addictive of all drugs we know of. The addiction process is very complicated, with dopamine receptors, neurotransmitters, etc. This illustration is an oversimplification of the process, but helps smokers to understand the reason for the difficulty in quitting. Imagine that you have a factory in your brain which makes acetyl choline (you really do, but it doesn't quite work this way.) The acetyl choline workers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, no vacations, no union representation. Acetyl choline is an essential part of our nervous system and without it we could not function very well (ask a smoker who is trying to quit how they feel and you will know how acetyl choline works.) These factory workers work day and night and produce as much acetyl choline as the body needs. That amount is determined by the foreman who does continual blood testing to make sure there is an adequate amount available. After about 10 or 12 years you decided to try a little tobacco (either smokeless or smoking.) In 7 seconds the nicotine is in the brain and the foreman cannot tell the difference between acetyl choline and nicotine. He announces to everyone, "I don't know what is going on, but there is plenty of acetyl choline available. It looks like you can take a break." The factory workers go out on the lawn, in the sunshine and have a glorious time. They are only out there about 30 minutes and the foreman calls them back in. He tells them that the acetyl choline levels have dropped and they will have to resume production. The factory workers continue to work 24 hours a day, but they also remember how nice it was out on the lawn. You decided to have another cigarette. The foreman hardly gets the words out of his mouth and the factory workers are all out on the lawn. Again because the half-life of nicotine is just one half hour, they are soon called back in. You try tobacco again, with their encouragement — and again — and again. Pretty soon you are smoking quite regularly and the factory workers are on the lawn most of the time, having a wonderful time. So you become fully hooked and smoke on a regular basis. The factory foreman tells the workers, "You haven't been needed for quite some time. Why don't you go on vacation. I'll call you if you are needed." So they take off to the Caribbean. They are there for many years. Finally you decide you've got to quit smoking. You stop. The foreman checks the blood levels and panics. He starts trying to round everybody up, by sending letters and telegrams and making phone calls. The factory workers have to say goodbye to all their friends, find their cool-weather clothes, make airline reservations and prepare to leave. They are not happy and they let the foreman know that. He passes that information on to you and you give in and start smoking again. One day you finally make it. You quit. It takes one month for the factory workers to get home and start working again — but they never forget the Caribbean.
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