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September 2, 2013 Comments (15)

View Giulia's Blog

I was asked to repost this so I am - unfortunately I don't know the author. 

Replay the Relapse

"Those were my wifes stats had she not fallen. Why did she lose her quit.....it really doesn't matter. Could it have been avoided? Who knows. I posted the following for a good friend of mine earlier today and felt that everyone should read it. Here goes:

    Picture yourself a second or two after you stub out that quit-breaking cigarette. The one that you just had to have because the craving was so strong you couldn't hold out any longer, when that voice inside you was saying.. "Go on, life sucks, you may as well smoke a cig.. y'know for your nerves.." or the other one.. "you've got this beat now.. you are in control.. you can have one just now and again.. go on have one for old time's sake.." So you bum a cigarette, and smoke it and in 2 and 1/2 minutes, you stub it out.

    Now what. Your mouth feels like crap. Your lungs are tightening up. You managed to stifle the coughs .. but barely. You began to squint again because the smoke hurt your eyes. and your fingers and clothes smell again. You either want to throw up, grab some mouthwash, take a shower, or have another.. maybe buy a pack.

    But then you realize what you've just done. After all those times when you said you were going to quit, and then when you finally did, and your family and friends were so happy for you - but not exactly over the moon, because after all they've been hopeful before only to see you relapse - all that enthusiasm is now smashed to pieces on the floor. And all the pressure that drove you to grab that cigarette in the first place - it's all still there. Nothing has changed, except now you've added one more problem: you just blew it.

    And then you realize what you've really done. You had invested days, maybe weeks and months, in this quit. You had made a great decision, one of the few things you really and truly felt proud of in your life, and you just blew it. You just blew the quit that you swore to yourself was the last one. You were so positive, so motivated, and encouraged, you were really on top of it, ahead of the game for once, you had taken control of your life and it felt like a whole new beginning.. and you just blew it.

    You look at that stub in the ashtray. The grey ash and the brown edge to the burnt paper, and the tar stain on the end of filter. You remember the thousands of cigarettes you have stubbed out and think about the tar that came into your lungs as smoke. And you think if smoking that one cigarette was worth it. Nothing's better. You feel a little dizzy now as the nicotine hits your body, even a little nauseous - certainly don't feel the pleasure that you remember the adverts and billboards were promoting during your early years as a smoker. In fact it's hard to remember any time when you felt that pleasure.. just another tobacco company lie.. They helped you to become an addict the first time, but when you smoked that cigarette after you quit.. well that was a whole new decision. You made that one all by yourself - there's no pointing fingers now, you know that cigarettes kill, so when you lit that one cigarette, the choice to smoke was all yours - no-one else to blame. And you just blew it.

    It wasn't worth it.. time after time the slippers' and relapsers' lament how they feel like crap, how ashamed they are, how they have lost confidence and hope, how they hate themselves, how much it hurts, how depressed and they cry and hide and cry some more. And now you are one of them.. the quit losers. Lost in the wilderness, not quite a smoker.. yet and not sure you are a quitter, searching for some dignity, some self-respect out of this. All because of that one cigarette. Because you blew it.

    OK, time to come back.. thankfully this was a "Picture yourself..." so none of this really happened. You didn't smoke that cigarette, and your quit is intact. You take a deep breath and you can still fill your lungs without breaking down into a hacking cough. You can smile, because you are still in control. The craving passes and you can shake your head a little and give yourself a little pat on the back at your success. You remained true the promise you made to yourself on day one. Because none of this really happened.

    Did it ?"

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That spurred me on to write my own Replay the Relapse back in '08.

"My mind tells me I want to smoke....so I get my purse.....get my car keys (or if I’m out in the car I go to a gas station)....I walk in....I’m already feeling guilty....but my craving is taking hold of me....I ask for a pack of Marlboro Lights Box...there’s a little angel on my shoulder tapping me trying to get my attention....I don’t feel good about asking for a pack....but I want it...asking for a pack - saying those words makes me know I’m about to fail....but I think I will just smoke one....but I secretly know if I do, I will smoke the whole pack...one part of me is screaming not to...the other part is simply a gut reaction that has no basis in choosing....it’s simply a want...but it’s screaming louder...the pack is presented to me...I put the money down...and take the pack...I unwrap it on the way to the car...because I can’t wait...I put the wrapper in my pocket because I don’t want my husband to see it...I’ll throw it out later...I turn the car on auxiliary and open the window because a car closed up full of smoke is unpleasant...I am no longer thinking, I no longer feel the angel’s tap...it is just pure feeling...I have lost all control...I take a match from my visor which I’ve left there and light the cigarette...and inhale - gently...because I know that I haven’t smoked in a while and it will seem harsh...and ah God it tastes good...well, perhaps not as good as it was, it is a bit harsh and does make me a little dizzy...oh and slightly nauseous...but I know that will pass soon enough...and by the end of the cigarette, which I smoke down to practically nothing but the filter, I’ve gotten used to it again...what doesn’t occur to me is that I’m now hooked again...that that’s all it took...I think  "that’s it, I’m only smoking this one"...and then I get home having secreted the pack somewhere in my purse...and I know it’s there...and it starts calling me like a siren, niggling at my mind...and you all know the rest of the story....".

Or - the scenario I prefer to imagine:

"My mind tells me I want to smoke...so I get my purse...drive to a gas station...walk in...ask for pack of Marlboro Lights Box and at that moment alarm bells start going off in my head...you can’t do this...DON’T do this. You Don’t want to have To Go Through the QUITTING PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN...YOU DON’T WANT ANOTHER DAY ONE...and as the guy behind the counter is turning back to me with the pack in his hand I literally run out of the place....I get in my car...close the door...and sit there breathing hard because I almost blew it...I was that close...I was that close...and my heart is beating so fast...and I’m gulping air...and I’ve got goose bumps all over my body because adrenaline is pumping through my cells...and I’m not even thinking...just feeling...until slowly it all subsides and thought process comes back and I realize I did it...somehow I did it...I didn’t buy the cigarettes...and I’m rather amazed and a little light headed...and I drive off in wonder with my mouth slightly open....and then remember to thank the little angel on my shoulder...."

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How does your relapse replay go?

Comments (15)

This is SOOOOOO awesome Giulia!  GREAT blog!  Thank you a million times for sharing!  Thank you for taking the time on a holiday to repost!  



Stac2 1236 days ago

As Sheryl just said in the Daily Pledge - "there's no holiday from quitting".

Giulia 1236 days ago

wow-that was even my brand- I'm not going to start carrying a purse though! Seriously, this was a great blog. Thanks!

freeneasy 1236 days ago

Thanks Giulia! 

I never imagine buying cigarettes as my downfall! Probably because my previous quit/quits were all brought down by an "offer" or a "bummed one"/two/six or ten before buying the carton!!! That's probably why I stayed away from my smoking friends for months and I still need an 'escape plan' in place when we're out for a night on the town. The good news, even the thought of going to the store, buying a pack and smoking one makes me feel pretty queasy!

I have had lots of practice with, "No thanks, I quit!", but I continue to be extremely cautious about cocktails! More than two in an evening and I can really start a romance brewing in my twisted little mind! I don't know that I'll ever have a beer again!?! I gave it up a year before I quit (low carb diet) and I am pretty sure that along with the calories, there are at least four cigarettes in every bottle! 

Nyima_1.6.13 1236 days ago

@Nyima - there are at least four cigarettes in every bottle!  Ain't THAT the truth!  One can never be too protective about one's quit when imbibing alcohol.

Giulia 1236 days ago

Wow! Thank you for posting this!

Polynha1 1236 days ago

Excellent post Giulia! I have played it out in my head many times. It helps to get all the way to the end where I am a smoker again, stinky, coughing, overfocusing on the next one. That helps a lot. 

It helps to remember all the times I said 'no thanks, I quit', to my Alzheimers father before he was forced to quit in his nursing home. It was so easy for me to say no thanks to him because he couldn't remember that I quit and I always went into his company armed with knowledge that it was easy to just say no.

Just say NO. Simple. You told me not to make it hard so I am keeping it simple :) Thanks! 

Jules7 1236 days ago

Thanks for the post.  I have been romancing the cig, avoided the temptations and this blog reminds me that I am doing the right thing.  NOPE.



Maryjo1953 1236 days ago

My relapse was word for word your post!   I'm sitting here in tears reading and reliving my downfall. Please post this once a week on my page, Giulia! Thank you, Bee Jay

Bee_Jay 1236 days ago

Thank you so much for this post.    It could be my story.   But I have decided that I WILL NOT relapse this time.   I will continue to look out, be aware and say No over and over again as long and as often as I need to.


smorgy8513 1236 days ago

This is SO factual...... it happens in the seconds before any relapse.  I have felt it before.  At one point... the mind shuts completely down...why?  Guarding us from the doom we are about to enter?  Why do we, at some point just stop thinking... and just act?  It happened to me in January.  I completely gave myself permission..mentally.... to have a few puffs.  In the blink of an eye..... my quit was ruined.  Once I 'gave' myself the 'go ahead'  I shut down.  Mind shut off. This is the pivotial part of protecting your quit.


Wonderful blog, Giulia!!!!

Kris54 1235 days ago

I haven't even been having smoking thoughts for the past couple of weeks (thank goodness) and reading this again STILL helps.  It is just plain good this blog.

Stac2 1206 days ago

so true , every word every thought

i have felt

Wishingstar_Renee 1192 days ago

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