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Smoking = Outsourcing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Miller, Jun 9, 2020.

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  1. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    Weird title but bear with me.
    Background: headaches and dizziness + recently anxiety

    I am learning a lot about myself and it's taken me a LONG time to accept that I have unresolved emotions contributing to my symptoms. I did not want to face the fact that I have many regrets, insecurities and guilt/sadness. I'm finally working on those emotions. I am very analytical/intellectual and truthfully do not want to spend time with myself, so I'm forever avoiding meditation, breathing etc. Anyway I'm working on that.

    One of my current hurdles is smoking/vaping. Again, something that I did not connect to my symptoms - if people without symptoms can smoke/vape and feel fine, why should I stop, right? That's just playing into it being something physical?

    But I'm seeing a real pattern - that I smoke/vape to relieve feelings of anxiety and emotion. It's not the same feeling as needing a cigarette like a normal smoker would. It's like I'm outsourcing my emotions to something else.

    I want to stop but it's a habit/compulsion/addiction that I find very very hard to stop. Probably because I don't know how to deal with the emotions myself.

    Not sure if I'm even asking a question or just thinking "out loud" but it's an interesting revelation to me.
  2. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    Actually interested to hear from @Baseball65 as I have read a bit about addiction from you. Hope you don't mind the tag.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    No worries.

    I am always as honest as I can be at any given time.

    I smoke. A LOT. I began smoking when I was 14 years old and my friend died right by my side...went from occasionally smoking a few to 2 packs a day.
    Over my 54 years I have had problems with Opiates (Roxy, Heroin, Pills) Cocaine (enough to kill several touring funk bands) amphetamines, Hallucinogenics and the stray 'new' drugs that came down the pike. I know by admitting this online , since the internet is archived I am surrendering any possible career in politics. Glad that's over....

    Meanwhile. Yes, I smoke. I am a 'real' smoker but upon reading Your post, I don't think at the core my reasons for doing it are any different than the ones you've listed. Escape. I know it's an oral fixation... I also know that it's not WHAT I am smoking, it's the actual act.... I switched to the lightest/shortest cigarettes made when I discovered this (and feel a lot better in spite of Henry Waxman's theory that it's all the same)

    My father (who also had TMS) was an Ivy League 'patches on the elbows' intellectual 'classy' guy...and you can't find a picture without him holding his pipe! Oral fixation? Bad parenting? Oedipal conflict? Your guess is as good as mine. My whole family is smokers too, in an era when we are pariah's...

    I suppose the reason I qualified it with the horror story of Other addictions is harm-benefit ratio? Justification? I can still do everything I want to do physically ... I wish I could run a little faster, but I can still run...not that bad for a 54 year old Tasmanian devil. I can still go first to third on a single.
    I do know that I associate smoking with 'freedom' as far as "You can't tell me what the F to do"... You can only smoke in places where your out of doors, in your own space,etc. I have often thought our family motto should be "You can't tell me what to do, F You" ..... we disagree on politics, religion and everything else but on that one topic we are all the same...very American. Libertarian?

    But yeah... it's not Healthy and I am always moving towards less and lighter. I can go several hours without smoking, but left alone, I always do. I CAN tell you, it has nothing to do with my TMS unless I consider that If I quit I might be more prone...that's how you find out you need a crutch, right? By removing it?

    I have no answer, but I am 'guilty'.
    backhand and Lizzy like this.
  4. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    There was an answer in there for me actually.

    Realised I'm just looking for reasons why I can't get better... Yet again

    I.e. "I can't get better because I smoke and that's how I deal with my emotions... So I unless I stop smoking I'll never find healthy coping mechanisms therefore I'm fucked"

    Excuse my language but my brain is starting to get on my nerves with all these tricks

    I think Steve O said it was getting lost in the details of healing and picking apart the TMS approach. So I guess I'm guilty of that too.

    I dumped TMS healing after "trying" it (aka just reading and doing nothing about it) a couple years back. And now I'm here again!
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have always looked at "Healing Back Pain" Like a school text book .

    Right after the crescendo on page 82, it goes into Q's and A's and one of them is the really common "But I can't change _____(blank) "......"How am I ever gonna get better?"

    Being in another program where I have to regularly inspect my shortcomings, I can assure you they are manifold and durable. A lot of them have been slow in the going, BUT All I needed to get rid of the pain was the Three R's.
    Refute the diagnosis
    Re=educate myself
    Return to activity

    #2 there is the most important... because it kinda has 1 and 3 hidden it it. When I have any new deal, In that split second where I used to go "what the hell did I do Now?", I am now conditioned to go "What the Hell is bugging me Now?"

    that little change is the keystone to recovery, for as Sarno said, he doesn't treat pain which is a symptom, but rather the cause.

    I don't think anxiety is a cause of TMS. It is another symptom...I have seen people here worrying about diet, smoking, alcohol and sex .... just another trick of our mind to keep us from the real culprit. Repressed rage.

    I thought about your post yesterday. While I was sanding a monstrous ceiling and miserable... I actually didn't stop to smoke as often....just focused on how what I am doing SUCKS. Thank You. I also got a lot more done than I planned on....

    this is strange stuff
    backhand likes this.
  6. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

  7. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    Interesting @andy64tms and @Baseball65

    I started smoking in my teens, "quit" 5 years ago in the sense that I replaced it with vaping

    Then recently someone offered me a cigarette and I was hooked again... so annoying

    @andy64tms Re. your points around the autonomic nervous system... I truly believe that I smoke to relieve emotional discomfort or as some kind of response to perceived stress

    I don't technically believe I can't recover from TMS because I smoke... but I do notice that where I reach for a cigarette, I could be dealing with my feelings in a more productive way. For example everything I've read suggests that anxiety really just needs to be left alone to resolve itself, but I keep "reacting" to it by smoking. Also any underlying emotional tension is also being responded to with smoking or vaping on many occasions

    Again, not saying this means I can't recover but I think it's hindering me a bit, as I'm not teaching my brain that it's safe... I'm teaching my brain to keep repressing and go smoke instead... maybe

    Plus the effect on my self-esteem every time I "let myself down" by smoking when I know I shouldn't...
  8. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Miller, Baseball, for me smoking had EVERYTHING to do with TMS. This addiction was my lifeline. Later alcohol did the same thing for me. Any kind of substance that covers up deep repressed emotions, or even daily grinding unrepressed emotions, is a complete cover up or Dr Sarno’s “REPRESSION”.

    I am surprised that both of you smoke, for a person that is willing to look into their deep buried emotions would see that smoking is the response to the daily anxieties we all have to face, classic TMS.
  9. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    I think that's my point - perhaps I'm not actually that willing to look at my deep buried emotions

    And @Baseball65 seems happy with the knowledge that his emotions caused him physical pain, which he no longer suffers, whether he smokes or not. So I guess he's happy with his outcome from TMS work? I can't speak for him obviously

    Personally I read a few times that smoking is not the cause of TMS so I discounted it as being a problem per se... Now I'm starting to understand it is a symptom/distraction of TMS it put things in a different light
  10. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    How about the other side of it? Baseball doesn’t seem to have conflict to remain a smoker. You seem to be in conflict though, with the statement:

    “Plus the effect on my self-esteem every time I "let myself down" by smoking when I know I shouldn't... "

    I know this feeling well as my section about only buying 10 cigs in the morning and 10 on the way home from work at night, who was I kidding? How many days, weeks and years did I kid myself? I let myself down every day, believing I would quit at work.

    Removing internal conflict of any kind is very difficult, you have to ask yourself over and over: Am I being honest with the person that really counts? – Yourself.

    Ref my section: "The Beginning of change" in my previously attached post.
  11. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    Ugh @andy64tms it feels like the emotional/personality component of this gets more complicated by the day... Not sure I'll ever understand myself!
  12. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just came across this thread while searching for “Steve O” - related to something else! But I’ll chime in because this is an interesting topic.

    Smoking is an interesting topic to me because I’ve smoked and vaped too much to measure over the last 11.5 years, but I’ve always been able to disregard any physical withdrawal symptoms. And that’s not me bragging - because it makes me sound pretty stupid to participate in something I don’t even “need.” Dumb as a box of rocks. I’ve stopped for nearly 2 years before and can go weeks or months without smoking. This disregard for physical withdrawal is also why I vaped non-nicotine juice (yup, my dumb ass loved 0% nicotine strawberry method) like a total fiend.

    Smoking is something I engage in when I’m bored. I hate boredom. I don’t even feel the nicotine “high” anymore when I do it - unless I’ve had a bit of wine. I look athletic and everyone thinks I’m a serious “health nut.” I genuinely believe the shame I feel from smoking outweighs any withdrawal. Alan Carr suspects that the withdrawal isn’t nearly as bad as we think: https://allencarr.com.au/withdrawalsymptoms/ (Myth 3: You have to suffer from withdrawal)

    I started smoking a few times a week (very rarely daily) again after dating someone who was an occasional smoker in 2018. I can just drop it when I need to… again, NOT flexing here - I’m just dumb. But I genuinely believe that’s because I’d rather deal with withdrawal than have my parents or friends catch me doing it. It no longer feels “relaxing” when you’re self-conscious about it. Whether it was having teammates on my sports team in college bump into me at a bar and ask me if I was serious or getting caught by parents, it was something I was very embarrassed about.

    Just a way I pacified boredom and totally a mind-body dynamic.
  13. NNava

    NNava New Member

    Boredom! Through much meditation and seeking I have come to find what I believe is at the root of my TMS. Boredom and a complete disinterest with life in general. I smoked cigarettes for 15 years, smoked pot longer, quit smoking cigs then got hooked on nicotine gum, had a big liking of any pill that made me feel "different." Geez, anorexia, bulimia, obsessions etc. All of these things I believe were temporary solutions for the complete hollow void I feel towards life. As far back as I can remember I felt hollow. Just muscle through life, get through it. I see people get into hobbies or have interests and I want to feel what they feel. If I get high on something, now life seems interesting. Bottom line is the complete boredom towards life is unbearable and honestly somewhat scary.
    I no longer smoke or use nicotine gum but now I fill that void with food. I also have what dr's call fibromyalgia but it's also TMS. So TMS has simply transformed. Like Steve O says in his book often,.. "And this becomes that." I also understand your saying that people believe you to be a "health nut." When I was smoking I also was training as a boxer and I often would think to myself "if they only knew how shitty you eat and that you smoke a pack a day..." That pressure we feel to appear one way and hold that up makes us feel even more shame when we partake in our guilty pleasures. Always playing in my mind with everything "if they only knew." Lately I've been admitting to my husband that I get up in the middle of the night and stuff my face. I was so ashamed and I thought you know what, it's the secret that keeps me suffering. So I shared with him and guess what? He laughed in a comforting way. He found it funny in the most human way and it eased my shame immediately. Having to always appear to have my shit together while falling apart in secret has been the root of so much of my stress and anxiety. A whole life of hiding myself and I'm learning that sharing my struggles feels good! I'm kind of a mess right now and I'm finally sharing that with people. My biggest fear and I think a lot of us relate to this is that I don't feel like it's ok for me to have struggles or "issues." I'm always saying to myself "Come on Nicole get your shit together." But I feel like the TMS wants me to be ashamed and feel like I need to hide and keep secrets. Because when I share my struggles I face my fear, and the need to appear together fades away when I see that people like sharing their humanity with others and also like when you share yours with them. I'm 40 years old and I've lived my life from this place since I was a little girl due to certain things. It's hard work and at times very uncomfortable. The good thing is we are clearly not alone. I thoroughly am so comforted at reading others experiences and feeling somewhat normal after a lifetime of feeling very abnormal.
    Baseball65 and Dorado like this.
  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Locking this old thread. It's a good one, but it's just attracting spammers now.
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