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Dr. Bankole Johnson

Dr. Bankole Johnson

Physician, psychiatrist and addiction researcher

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Damian O’Hara

President of Allen Carr North America

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Dr. Cheryl Healton

President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation

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Q&A

If you have questions about this change, you're in the right place. Our editors, experts, and community of change optimists have answers!

Ali2002

Question:Why do I always return to smoking even though with all my heart I do not want to smoke? What is wrong with me?

I have quit several times and it is staying stopped that is my problem. I quit with every intention of never going back and for some reason I always do. I need and want to quit for good and do not want to ever smoke again. This insanity of back and forth I do not understand. I know anything I say is an excuse. I smoked becuse I was sad, angry, bored...etc. My health and family is much more important to me than smoking. So why can I not stay stopped?

Asked by Ali2002 on 8/2/10 2 Answers»
Quit2BFree

Answer:

Because as nicotine addicts we trained ourselves very well at usually a young age that Feeling = Smoke. Feel Happy = Smoke, Feel Sad = Smoke, Feel Angry = Smoke ... and so on.
Addiction is insane. Why else would normally happy, well adjusted people actually pay daily to suck back toxins and chemicals that we know hurt us?
For me learning all I could about this addiction, my triggers, learning new coping skills and really committing to myself that I wouldnt smoke "no matter what" is working. I decided that smoking was no longer an option. Crying was an option, throwing fire darts with my eyes was an option, crawling in bed and covering my head with my blankie was an option but smoking was not.
It takes time, energy and total committment but you can do this. Support groups, learning all you can, reading (a great little book I find so helpful is Out of the Ashes) Most of all patience with yourself as you learn how to live without your addiction. It gets so much easier and so much better over time. You can do this ... you only fail if you give up :)

Answered by: Quit2BFree on 1/22/11
Jamie789

Answer:

I would say: Knowing some things about it, like knowledge about the dopamine system type of thing of the brain. The dopamine, the feel good nero-chemical, the nicotine it triggers to release would be lower, a lot lower in someone who's just quit smoking. So this could make someone depressed or anxious and all that. The thing is: dopamine occurs naturally in the body, normally from things like eating good food, or exersicing. (I've also heard that being in love would trigger dopamine) If you know about this dopamine system, the nicotine triggers it, and it makes you feel good. The actual nicotine isn't what you need. It just triggers a system in the brain, that is/was already there. So, just know that and maybe you're prepared to feel less good. Apparently the nicotine exits the body pretty quickly. Try to get yourself feeling good without a smoke, with music, food, exersice, sunshine, anything. Does that make sense?

Answered by: Jamie789 on 11/21/10
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