I thought this topic deserves a special thread, since it seems to be questionable in a recent thread whether smoking and nicotine addiction are TMS. Of course they are, no if’s, butt’s or um’s? It’s very self depreciating for me in some places, but here goes: I can speak first hand to this horrible addiction that I overcame in 1969. Yes that’s 49 years ago folks. I cured myself, without help without drugs and against a family force that were supposed to love me, I have been smoke free all these years. Truth; I had a little relapse around 1978 mentioned below. HOOKED At 16 I started smoking. It was 1964; my parents were on an overseas tour with the British forces in Libya. I must have missed Humphrey my teddy bear, who had nurtured me up to this time. I believe he was put into storage in the UK, as teddies were frowned upon in British Boarding schools! http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/nurturing-koala.18077/#post-96098 Cigarettes were very cheap in the NAAFI, on the Army base, and top notch cigarettes like Benson and Hedges king size were common place. King Size tipped were a luxury in UK in the 60’s, and I was in smoker’s heaven on my trips to Libya from boarding school. I smoked in front of my addicted parents for the first time, we exchanged after dinner cigarettes, and smokers know these are the ones that give you the most soothing after you’ve eaten! I was suddenly considered ‘adult’ within my strange family and social boundaries. My parents justified their own habits by encouraging me to join them. NURTURING EFFECT- LACK OF Nurturing connection, YES that’s lack of breast feeding connection, read my Koala story above. There has to be a strong connection to the sucking of cigarettes and breast feeding. Those that chew tobacco are not guiltless, for masticating tobacco in the mouth must be categorized in the same manner. TEEN ENVIRONMENT My years of 16 to 21 were an introduction to alcohol and the pub scene. It was common practice and etiquette to exchange cigarettes with your drinking buddy’s one for one. They were addicts also and you were severely scolded or mocked if you missed exchanging fags. ( Fag, UK slang for cigarette) WORK SMOKING It was quite acceptable to smoke at work. I never witnessed in the drawing office where I worked a fire break out. The office was so full of smoke you couldn’t see a fire anyway, and fire marshals didn’t exist. I remember a few times a kerfuffle when someone sharpened their pencil on someone’s cigarette that smoldered in an ashtray. This often set up quite a bit of laughter especially if the owner of the cigarette was asleep. Everyone smoked; this was my loosing environment, what chance did I have? ADDICT The next few paragraphs are rather nasty; I hope you’ve read this web sites disclaimer. An addict will go to great lengths to fill his needs. Living in the UK I was very poor and found myself digging in ashtrays for remnants of smoked cigarette butts when I ran out. It should be noted that my cigarettes were always fully burnt to the tip; it was inconceivable to me to waste any in those days, I remember the hot glow under my nose and burning my lips as I inhaled the last puff. NICOTINE TESTS I also remember sucking a cigarette through a white handkerchief to see the brown tar that remained. I even did tests and noted the amount of nicotine that was retained in my lungs. I continued to smoke. DENIAL- REPRESSION This denial proved to be a good thing as I gradually became unsettled and then angry at my Jekyll and Hyde addiction, I had a horrible smokers cough, people used to hear me and cringe. I even smoked through colds and bronchitis, after a good cigarette smoke I was able to clear my chest of phlegm with a productive meaningful cough. Despite all these nasty symptoms I lived in fear of not having a cigarette available, can you imagine the shame and conflict of taking antibiotics and smoking at the same time? One day I saw denial in another person. He returned to work from having one lung removed, he now only had 1/2 a cough, nearly passing out as he continued to smoke. He was a really nice guy and we administered glasses of water to revive him, his name was Doug, and I am sure he is now resting six feet under. BANNED Cigarette advertising was banned on ITV the second of two available TV channels in the UK. Living at home I watched my dad ignore the data now being touted against tobacco. His St. Bruno Rough cut tobacco, spittle filled pipes and tobacco pouches were his joy, peace from his snob wife, my mother. Her addiction was Craven ‘A’ tipped. She smoked continually for seventy years, through two pregnancies; a daughter and twins of which I am one, perhaps I was addicted in the womb? Never once did she heed the bans, and never once tried to give up that I know of. She complained when airports put partitions up for smokers to go behind, when they banned smoking in restaurants she was outraged. She lived to be 91, surviving two cancers and beating all the odds. I refer to Dr. Sarno and his statement that the body is strong. THE BEGINNING OF CHANGE I smoked for years without thinking, my favorite were the short ones in packets of ten, the considering logic was the shorter the better for you. I lit up approximately every 20-30 minutes; this was my rate of inhalation, 20 cigs for every 12 waking hours. I never wavered from this figure, if I had one cigarette left at the end of the day I made sure I smoked it, after all, I was going to give it up the next day and wouldn’t need it. I remember my disappointment when my car self drove itself to the gas station to pick up 10 more short tipped cigarettes on the way to work with the affirmation to give it up on the way home. A never ending cycle of denial controlled me, my brain was possessed. HOPE In the late 60’s I knew change was needed, I had the knowledge and knew nicotine was bad for me. An opportunity presented itself; I had run out of cigarettes and was off to the movies. In those quaint days you smoked inside the movie theatre, between each seat there was a kidney shaped ashtray provided. I remember being concerned that I would stub a cigarette out on someone’s shoulder, and it was very awkward flicking the ash especially on dark movie scenes. That being said I would not be subjected to this stress point this evening, I had quit! Becoming edgy after about five minutes into the movie I felt very uneasy. My normal habit was to light up when the movie started, but I considered that my quitting had only lasted five minutes; boy did I need something to suck on. So what does a hard core smoker do in this predicament? I wondered into the lobby and bought a bag of good looking lozenges, they would do. In the dark little did I know they were Victory V cough sweets, they had a liquorice flavor dosed with ether and chloroform. I sucked down the whole bag during the movie about a ¼ lb. I believe some measure of aversion therapy may have taken place, on arriving home I had severe vomiting and diarrhea. HOME SMOKING Living at home I was surrounded by smokers. My dad smoked a pipe, my brother French Gauloises or Gitanse brand, and my mother Craven A filter tipped. After dinner a haze collected from the ceiling downwards. I had quit, my duty to myself was paramount, I started walking around our yard to remove myself from the smoke, but most of all the jeering and comments, as my family poked fun at me. Two things became very clear. These people opposed me, I was unloved and disliked for what I had become, an “EX-SMOKER”, the worst kind. For the first time in my life I realized I had control, direction as I saw at the age of 21 what my environment had done to me. Later when I had given up smoking for several years and move away from home, my parents closed up their house of twenty years occupancy, I was called upon to help. The walls and ceilings were covered with a brown tar, white marks remained from removed pictures, and the place stank. SOOTHING I have thought in great depth about the soothing effect from nicotine. From an amateur here is how I think it works: 1/ Our bodies are designed to be buffeted and receive stress-anxiety, primarily to keep us safe. The Atonomic Nervous System that Dr Sarno spoke of performs this in the background 2/ Soothing takes place after stress automatically through the parasympathetic nervous system. 3/ The introduction of Nicotine through our blood stream to the brain upsets this system with soothing overload. 4/ It’s a nice feeling, we are not responsible, everyone is the same, you are not to blame. 5/ Addiction ensues. SOOTHING ALTERNATIVES One might seek ‘Lesser of the two evils’ substitutions for Nicotine, and there is a whole industry based around this topic. Such items could be, alcohol, anxiety drugs, electronic cigarettes etc. if Nicotine patches work for some then we should call them a ‘third evil’ and perhaps they work, but the longest lasting soothing would be addressing the stress that got us addicted in the first place, the same stress that non-smoking TMS patients endure. NATURAL SOOTHING Our bodies do this quietly in the background. I’ve noticed warmth and glow in my body after a stress incident is over. I imagine it is the release of natural chemicals, Serotonin Dopamine and endorphins that I know very little about. EXERCISE GLOW Last summer I jogged on the beach and over a week got up to three miles. I noticed later that day a nice glow at the bottom of each full breath. This wasn’t the runners euphoric high this was different for I could induce this glow on demand with a deep breath; I was disappointed when this glow disappeared the next day. Perhaps I had tapped into a natural soothing. I think we have a whole realm of natural soothing going on that just needs recognizing to enjoy. PSYCHOLOGY Psychology is the shroud for denial as our reasoning becomes faulted. Although we hear facts and figures that make sense, they are repressed. TMS RELAPSE Around 1978 my mother in law while visiting to the USA brought me 200 duty free cigarettes sold on her flight over. I had been smoke free for 10 years or so, but was extremely stressed doing 14 hour days, driving two hours each way. I forget the exact details, it wasn’t quite closet smoking, and I used to go to the bottom of the garden out of sight of my wife and children. I angered one day and needed an affirmation to quit. I got the remaining cigarettes, cut them up and flushed them down the toilet (apologies to the environment). Since then I haven’t had to put in any effort whatsoever in maintaining a Nicotine free life. MY WIFE’ RECENT STROKE (Unrelated to Nicotine, Our Worst Nightmare) Cigarette Smoking- Ref Stroke Prevention Pamphlet: Smoking almost doubles a person’s risk of an ischemic stroke. Smoking damages blocked vessels, raises blood pressure, and makes blood thicker and more likely to clot. Quitting smoking at any age reduces the relative of stroke immediately. It also reduces the risk of lung disease, heart disease, and a number of cancers. I am not critical of smokers any more, I had to be for while during my recovery. I am now compassionate, understanding and have a love for my fellow mankind that wishes they could be as happy as I without Nicotine.