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The End of my Addiction

Smoking and alcoholism


KUYA
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http://www.alcoholmd.com/alcoholcigs.htm

This article is the perfect prelude to my story.

There is an attitude towards smoking that because it is not mood altering it is not as important to quit as 'proper' drugs.

I call bullshit on this!

If 85% of alcoholics smoke then I would contend that not only is it vital for alcoholics to quit but that smoking may well be a major factor in their alcoholism.

 

MY STORY

I came to the previous forum as a chronic daily drinker and smoker. I was anorexic as a teenager and started smoking to avoid eating. At 18 I went to my doctor complaining of insomnia. He told me to drop the smoking and coffee. I did not listen!

So ensued a lifetime of insomnia.

Around 20 I discovered that a good hit of alcohol knocked me out so I had a pattern of not sleeping all week then drinking and sleeping all weekend.

This worked OK until I started work at 24 when I could not function in my job on no sleep so started to drink every day. I was already smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

The scene was set for me 26 years ago after enduring an extremely violent relationship. I was 30 years old and now had fear and fury to add into my insomnia. The drinking increased.

I have not, however, suffered any major life problems due to drinking, no DUI, blackouts, career or health problems, but my intake of 11 units per day and 40 cigarettes per day were scary. 

As I have said elsewhere I took tons of supplements that I believe kept me healthyish. But I was fat, bloated, tired, constantly anxious and downright scared as I compulsively tipped this poison down my throat.

8 years ago I went to an addiction counselor and she told me that smoking was my primary addiction. To be honest I was not really listening as I felt otherwise and was determined to deal with my drinking as I was sure it was the cause of my anxiety and fatigue.

So 3 years ago I quit drinking and waited to feel amazing. I found quitting drinking (cold turkey) a piece of piss. I suffered no ill effects or withdrawals and after 6 weeks sober never looked back.

I felt healthier, for sure, but after two years I felt flat, still tired and, frankly, disappointed. My insomnia was, of course, back to pre-drinking levels...it was horrible. My doctor said "At your age, with your smoking, of course you are tired" 

I tried to quit smoking and managed 9 days, relapsed and was stuck in a horrible cycle of managing a couple days every couple of weeks for the next TWO YEARS. I couldn't understand why the person who quit drinking without missing a heartbeat couldn't quit smoking.

Then a year ago, over Easter I shut myself away for 3 days and went cold turkey. I joined a smoking forum and stuck at it.

It was a fucking nightmare compared to alcohol.

Intense withdrawals, out of body feelings, mood swings that scared me (and my kids) depression so deep that I was having suicidal thoughts. It took about 8 months to settle and gradually the magic happened. I started to feel a calm and focus I had never known before. My life has turned around in terms of quality, energy outlook. I no longer have this sense of pointlessness.

 

Some people may wonder why bother sharing this on an alcohol forum but I am sure many will see the relevance.

If you are still a smoker it may be far more important to quit than simply as another health concern, it may actually change you to the point that alcohol becomes easier to control and/or quit.

I think smoking was MY primary addiction (as my counselor had said). It may or may not be yours but the effects on your brain, particularly if you are a heavy smoker are far more than is accepted for a 'non mood altering' drug.

 

I would be interested to poll the percentage of smokers past and present when we have a few more members.

 

 

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Do you guys in the USA not use e-cigarettes? My son gave up smoking after 20 years with one of these without any problems, & there is a big discussion here on whether they should be available on the NHS. The big tobacco companies are also into producing them as they can see their revenue going down the pan as so many people have switched to them. There's some concern you can get addicted to your e-cig, of course.....

 

DOI - never been a smoker. Tried it, couldn't see the appeal. Yeah, I know, lucky me, if only I had had the same response to my first drink.

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@Molly78 I quit smoking with ease using e-cigs about 2 1/2 years ago, and gradually tapered down the e-cig nicotine level. I still puff on my e-cig pen a few times in the evenings, maybe the equivalent of a couple of cigarettes' worth, but I wouldn't say I'm addicted to nicotine anymore at this point. E-cigs get a lot of bad press in the US, but they really do help people quit cigarettes. I've known many people who finally quit smoking that way.

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3 hours ago, Felina said:

@Molly78 I quit smoking with ease using e-cigs about 2 1/2 years ago, and gradually tapered down the e-cig nicotine level. I still puff on my e-cig pen a few times in the evenings, maybe the equivalent of a couple of cigarettes' worth, but I wouldn't say I'm addicted to nicotine anymore at this point. E-cigs get a lot of bad press in the US, but they really do help people quit cigarettes. I've known many people who finally quit smoking that way.

If you are using nicotine in ecigs then you are still addicted. I have no doubt they are better than cigarettes though.

As someone who smoked 40 a day it would be like me going from  a fifth of vodka a day to a couple of beers a day. Much better! But not quit

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13 hours ago, Molly78 said:

Do you guys in the USA not use e-cigarettes? My son gave up smoking after 20 years with one of these without any problems, & there is a big discussion here on whether they should be available on the NHS. The big tobacco companies are also into producing them as they can see their revenue going down the pan as so many people have switched to them. There's some concern you can get addicted to your e-cig, of course.....

 

DOI - never been a smoker. Tried it, couldn't see the appeal. Yeah, I know, lucky me, if only I had had the same response to my first drink.

If they contain nicotine then you are still addicted. They are MUCH healthier than cigarettes but they do not contain aldehyde (the more addictive drug in cigarettes) and many people go back to smoking for this reason.

After a very hard year I am glad to be free of it. I also saved $18000 on the cigarettes and whatever petrol I would have spent fetching them

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Thanks for your story, Kuya.
(Side note: Will you put it on the Share Your Story part of the forum? http://www.theendofmyaddiction.org/forum/185-individual-stories-click-for-full-listings/)

I hear ya' about the cigarette addiction. Interesting article and website.

I am scared to even try to quit, while trying to get rid of AL, because, as it says at the bottom of the page, "Coping Hypothesis: Tobacco may decrease the incidence of relapse by serving as a means of coping with alcohol urges." It also says that smoking may increase the urge to drink and chance of relapse, but that hasn't been my experience OR what I've seen/read/heard anecdotally. 

On 4/6/2016 at 10:16 PM, KUYA said:

Then a year ago, over Easter I shut myself away for 3 days and went cold turkey. I joined a smoking forum and stuck at it.

It was a fucking nightmare compared to alcohol.

Intense withdrawals, out of body feelings, mood swings that scared me (and my kids) depression so deep that I was having suicidal thoughts. It took about 8 months to settle and gradually the magic happened. I started to feel a calm and focus I had never known before. My life has turned around in terms of quality, energy outlook. I no longer have this sense of pointlessness.

That's another reason I have no interest in trying to quit smoking any time soon. That said, I read an article, I think from the WHO (World Health Organization) that showed clearly that cigarettes are more deadly than any other addiction in many, many ways. Kills more people, kills them quicker, makes 'em sicker, the list goes on and on. I've never been able to find the article/report again, but wish I could.

One very annoying thing about that website you linked to...I clicked on the "Medical Treatment for Alcoholism" link and it's full of misinformation - outdated, incorrect, perpetuating the stereotypes that medical researchers and scholars KNOW and have PROVEN are simply not true. <heavy, heavy, sigh> I'll get off my soapbox now. But here's an example: 

"Alcohol dependence is incurable in that the user can never return to non-addicted use. However, alcohol dependence can be brought into long-term, even permanent remission through abstinence from all psychoactive drugs and adoption of a program of supportive recovery, such as that found in the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship."

http://www.alcoholmd.com/medical_treatment.htm 

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I bought an e-cig, actually a couple of different kinds, but using them gives me a terrible sore throat. Once I've got some good, solid, contented sober time I'm going to go back to trying to use it to quit, because I know so many people who have used them to quit for good. Also, as a side note, it's not like a nurse gets smoke breaks in a 12 hour shift! I've used a patch combined with lozenges to get through my clinicals, but that obviously isn't a long term solution. The cigs have GOT to go! But one thing at a time...And my plate's pretty damn full at the moment. 

Thanks for starting the thread, Kuya. 

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