Buddy Systems (From the Freedom message board)
You often hear about buddy systems in substance abuse programs. AA and NA and CA heavily utilize this highly effective and supportive technique. But it is important to understand something about the term "buddy system" These programs are generally "buddying" the newbie with a sponsor more than a buddy.
The sponsor is not a person quitting the same day; it is a person who has likely been quit for a significant time period. Someone who is more stable in their own quit because they have a myriad of time and experiences already under their belt. They are not cured but they are more secure and probably have a deeper understanding of not only what quitting is like, but more important what it is like not to be using after an extended time period. This is the message that the person in the middle of a quit needs to hear. Not just what today is like, they know that already. Talking with people only in this stage of the game is just sharing misery. What is more important for the person in withdrawal is to understand the importance of overcoming this time period. To hang in to see what next week, next month or even next year will be like, if they just don’t smoke for these time periods. Who better to deliver this message than people off these amounts of time?
Smokers who never quit smoking know what it is like to smoke. Smokers who are in the middle of their first week of quitting know what it is like to smoke and what it is like to be in withdrawal. But smokers who are off for longer time periods know what it is like to smoke, quit, and stay off. They know there is life after smoking, life after withdrawal. The people who even know more are those who have smoked, quit, went through withdrawal, stayed off months or maybe years, relapsed, quit again, and are now off a long time. They have more experience than anyone does and likely a deeper appreciation of the addiction and recognition of how precious and fragile their quit actually is. They still have to work at it, but it is among the most worthwhile work that they do any given day.
These people are here, and for you newbies. I am using "newbie" here as people in the first few days of their quit, even if they have been here in the past, this is a new quit for them. If you want real support, turn to the longer-term ex-smokers. They will help you in ways that you may not yet be able to help each other. But take heart here, this is not saying that you won’t be able to help others too. But your primary focus needs to be on your own quit now.
Keep in mind, you will only be a smoker in the middle of a quit for a short time period. Pretty soon you will be the seasoned veteran. When this happens, remember how past seasoned veterans helped you and pass along the support. This community should only grow larger over time. Staying to help others will help secure your own quit too. Many programs use the phrase, "To keep it, you have to give it away." No where is this more true than dealing with addictions. And never lose sight that smoking is an addiction. Whether today is your first day, your hundredth day or your thousandth day, the trick to beating your addiction for today is the same, never take another puff!
There is only one kind of person that you should lock in as your one and only buddy--a person who you know beyond any shadow of a doubt will never take nicotine again, who you also know beyond the shadow of a doubt is going to outlive you so that they are always around to support your quit and who you have total access to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will have that kind of access to the rest of your life. The fact is that you don't know this about any single individual.
Your quit has got to be contingent on you and nobody else. Another string that addresses this concept is the one on Crutches to Quit Smoking. There it explains how even Freedom as a whole cannot be your one crutch or buddy system for there are times that even we will not be available due to technological glitches at our end or at yours.
So recognize that you have to count on yourself. Learn as much as you can and be armed with as much ammunition and understanding as you can possibly muster to talk yourself through those occasional thoughts or urges that may materialize. Have your reasons for first quitting and your reasons for wanting to stay smoke free at your disposal so that you are always keeping yourself reminded as to why you are now committed to never take another puff!
No one here should ever feel contingent on any one person or even on the whole board. The board cannot be a crutch. For technical reasons, your computer can break, you could lose power, your Internet connection can go down, or MSN can take Freedom down for maintenance. There have been times where Freedom was unreachable for hours and I even think at some point we had days where it was almost impossible to get into Freedom.
If you feel tied to the board for success your quit can be jeopardized by a technological glitch. If you are tied to any one person--that person could lose their Internet connection, or relapse, or get sick or may even pass away. There are just too many variables if your quit is tied to another that can undermine your quit.
Freedom is a tool to help you with your quit. We are giving you an addiction education. But you need to keep these lessons with you, incorporate the education into your general knowledge and way of life. Your success is contingent on you and you alone. Your quit is contingent on only you remembering that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!
Joel's Reinforcement Library
My Support Group is Responsible!
|Case 1:||Case 2:|
|“How do you expect me to quit smoking? All of my family, friends, and work associates smoke. Whenever I try to quit they all try to sabotage my efforts. With support like that, I can't quit smoking!”||“I know I will quit. Nobody wants me to smoke. My kids beg me to stop, my husband hates it when I smoke, and we're not allowed to smoke at work. I feel like a social outcast wherever I go. With all those people on my back, I know I won't fail in quitting!”|
In both of the above cases, the smoker is wrong in their assessment of whether or not they can actually quit smoking. Success in quitting smoking is not primarily determined by significant others. It is based on the strength of the smoker's own desire to quit.
In case one, the smoker is blaming his failure on lack of support and actual sabotage attempts by others. But not one of these people physically forced a lit cigarette into his mouth and made him inhale. Considering that the only way he could reinforce his nicotine addiction is by inhaling a cigarette, none of his smoking associates had the final say on his success or failure.
Case two, on the other hand, was working under the false assumption that quitting smoking would be a breeze since everybody would support her because they hated her smoking. Not once, though, did she say that she actually wanted to stop for herself. She was stopping because everyone else wanted her to. In essence, she was depriving herself of her cigarettes to make everybody else happy. While she may not have lit up when surrounded by others, sooner or later she would be alone. With no one around, what personal reason does she have to strengthen her resolve not to take a cigarette?
When you joined our clinic, you may have initially blamed others for your failure or erroneously credited the clinic and others with your success. No one failed or succeeded for you. You did it. While significant others can influence how easy or difficult quitting will be, your own personal resolve is the major determinant of success or failure.
If you failed when you tried in the past, stop blaming others. Realize that your personal desire to stop was not strong enough to overcome the powerful grip cigarettes exerted on you. Rather than making one half hearted attempt after another, make a personal assessment of why you smoke and why you wish to stop. If your personal reasons are good enough, then try to stop. As long as your ammunition is strong, no one will be able to make you smoke.
On the other hand, if you quit, don't feel that the clinic or any one else made you do it. You broke free from a powerful addiction. You did it by making up your own mind, throwing out your cigarettes, and refusing to take another one no matter how much temptation you faced. For this you should be proud. And to maintain that pride for the rest of your life - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!