Buddhism and smoking, what's your thoughts?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Kim OHara
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:28 pm

Hi, Manas,
I gave up - years ago - by rationing myself and gradually reducing the ration from 20 per day down to (I think) 5 and switching to a low-tar variety. I didn't push myself too hard and it took months but by that time I had broken the physical addiction and all of the habits (e.g. 'always' having a cigarette with a cup of coffee, or 'always' smoking in the pub). It was easy, after that, to give up the last few per day.
I'm still the only person I know to have done it that way but it worked for me :smile:
I hope your similar programme works for you.

:namaste:
Kim

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manas
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby manas » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Good luck.


Thank you! _/I\_

Kim wrote:Hi, Manas,
I gave up - years ago - by rationing myself and gradually reducing the ration from 20 per day down to (I think) 5 and switching to a low-tar variety. I didn't push myself too hard and it took months but by that time I had broken the physical addiction and all of the habits (e.g. 'always' having a cigarette with a cup of coffee, or 'always' smoking in the pub). It was easy, after that, to give up the last few per day.
I'm still the only person I know to have done it that way but it worked for me :smile:
I hope your similar programme works for you.

:namaste:
Kim


Thanks Kim for the encouragement. Fortunately the habit only ended up being between about 3 or 4 a day for me, so (I hope) the process of first cutting back shouldn't be too painful. But previous experience tells me that, with any resolve there are some challenges, it is not going to be 'plain sailing'...because there is this mind that kinda likes it, you know what I mean? And of course there is also another, wiser mind that says "this is bad for you, not worth whatever dubious 'pleasure' it seems to give, and you ought to abandon it utterly". On that note I want to ask if (eventually) that first mind I mentioned, that 'gets off' on it so to speak, no longer arises anymore, ie, from those who gave up completely I wish to inquire: do you ever miss it? (Please be completely honest here!)

manas :anjali:

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manas
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby manas » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:04 pm

Sorry to bore you all, but I just had my first challenge...I really feel like having a smoke but I've already used a third of my daily one cigarette ration, so I'm saving it for later, in case I get stressed while looking after the kids...it can happen, if someone yells at me etc I will probably need to go sit outside and have a smoke...so I have to save the remainder for later.

This is it, I'm not backing down this time! I will abandon tobacco smoking! Step One is underway. :jedi:

manas :anjali:

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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby Coyote » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:00 am

Keep on with the effort and you will succeed.

Good luck + hope it goes well for you.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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Ben
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:31 am

Hi Manas,
Should you fail, and I hope you don't, I would be more than happy to discuss with you the three-month nicotine patch program I went on over ten years ago.
All the very best!
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

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manas
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby manas » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:39 am

Thanks Coyote, and Ben I will see how I go...hope I can manage without any pharmaceutical intervention, but if that was what it took, yes I can see that it would be worth it.

I was wondering if ex-smokers who have not smoked again for, say, a few months to a year, can tell me in full honesty: do you ever still miss it? Or does the desire to do it actually vanish over time? It would encourage me to know...

manas

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Ben
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:52 am

manas wrote:I was wondering if ex-smokers who have not smoked again for, say, a few months to a year, can tell me in full honesty: do you ever still miss it? Or does the desire to do it actually vanish over time? It would encourage me to know...


I haven't had a cigarette since 2002. I haven't missed it at all - not even once.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

PeterB
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:05 am

As in many things we are all different in what works for us in this area.
Like many of my generation I smoked. Finally gave it up about 25 years ago.
I tried a number of times cutting down.It always crept up again.
In the end cold turkey was the only way that worked..for me.
After a few months I did not miss it. Then like many ex-smokers I became completely averse to the smell and everything to do with it ! ;)

Good luck. It can be done.

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Aloka
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby Aloka » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:00 pm

Hi manas,

When I gave up smoking, I briefly cut down to 3 cigarettes a day (morning, lunchtime, evening), then I substituted sugar-free chewing gum for the cigs for a short while, and then gave up that as well.

I've never had any cravings over a period of several years - and my throat and chest feel much better than they used to. The smell of cigarette smoke seems quite strange and rather unpleasant to me now.

Good luck !

With kind wishes,

Aloka
Last edited by Aloka on Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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daverupa
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby daverupa » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:30 pm

I smoked from 2007 through some of 2013. Just under six years, the last year of which I made a run at quitting about ten times. I even quit for a month or so before going back, only to quit again finally a little later.

My approach was to ride out the three days of physical nicotine withdrawal, and then recognize that all further craving for nicotine was a mental habit looking for expression. This became the key, to wit shifting my habitual routines to no longer make room for cigarette breaks.

One model which helped me was this: fundamentally, nicotine is a virus. It makes the human want it, the human makes it and consumes it at great individual detriment, and the weed benefits genetically by having the human host as a caretaker. It's a rotten little weed-virus, it's as bad as Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's like a little flu. And so the thinking went.

The three days of nicotine withdrawal were easy enough to endure because the timeline was so short. I used a three-day weekend from work to hang out at home and practiced enduring the asava of physical distress while remembering that this effort was fundamentally sustained by harmlessness.

Truly, the difficult part was not the physical withdrawal. Individual cases differ, surely, but I am suspicious of approaches which focus on the physical dosing reduction without addressing the overriding place of nicotine in ones dispositional environment. Contemplation of reduction timetables just lets the mind focus more on smoking as an activity; it's still playing with those marbles, as it were...

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

SarathW
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby SarathW » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:29 am

I know you are trying hard some time for quit smoking. I really appreciate your effort.
I used to smoke and stopped about 25years ago.
It is not gradual. One day I decided not to smoke as it affected my health. So I just stopped.

The same way I stopped drinking 10 months ago. I just stopped.
I know everybody can’t do what I did.
I think the best thing is to cut the puppies tail at once rather than bit at a time.
it is less painful.
:)

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Toyah
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just wanted to share my story

Postby Toyah » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:56 am

Hi Manas,

I quit smoking 4 moths ago. I've been smoking since I was 14.
I had tried to quit many times before, until I started doing meditation, Anapansati, 4 months ago.
My intention during that time was just to understand the path of Buddha. I didn't try to quit smoking at that time.
I tried to notice my breath during the day and tried to get rid of the thoughts that came into my mind. I meditated about 20 minutes a day
before I went to bed for 5 days, without smoking during the day.
On the 6th day, I tried to smoke but my body just refused to take it. I tried so many times cause I wanted to smoke but I ended up coughing.
So I decided to quit after that, and do anapanasati everyday until now.

p.s. good lucks with your mindfulness of breathing :twothumbsup:
ANAPANASATI

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mirco
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby mirco » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:17 am

Miracles happpen !

:clap:

"An important term for meditative absorption is samadhi. We often translate that as ‘concentration’, but that can suggest a certain stiffness. Perhaps ‘unification’ is a better rendition, as samadhi means ‘to bring together’. Deep samadhi isn't at all stiff. It’s a process of letting go of other things and coming to a unified experience."

Bhikkhu Anālayo

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manas
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby manas » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:21 am

Thanks everyone, sorry if I've not replied to all. I'm busy, cleaning, packing. Starting a new chapter in my life. I've decided to try living with a friend I made recently, we will share a much bigger house than either of us can currently afford, by pooling our resources.

Once I decide to do something, and it is really in my heart to achieve it, I will do it. I just smoked the last of my packet of smokes. I did not follow the one a day thing very well, I just decided instead to just finish off the packet over the course of the week, then go cold turkey. It's all or nothing, moderation with this thing was not working. I'm already feeling a bit emotional but I'm not turning back now.

I might need some encouragement if things get tough. But if human life is so precious as the Teacher tells us, then it's worth seeing this through. I guess that's it then. I almost feel like crying, cos I have not had the usual amount I would have had so far today, there wasn't a whole one even left. It's all gone now.

Joyfully I start the process of detoxification. Luckily for me, I have lots of herbal teas, I can juice barley grass, etc. I will help my body through this process. I know what detoxing from things feels like. It is not easy, but there is also something liberating about catharsis, cleansing out crap is a good thing. The bad feelings that will come, won't last forever, they will be temporary.

A whole lot of things are happening all at once for me. Much change. It feels right to give up totally right now.

kind regards
manas.
:anjali:

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manas
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby manas » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:28 am

Is this normal? I am feeling so very sad...it's DAY ONE of my total abandonment of tobacco, and normally by this time of the day, I would have had about half of a cig. I'm not turning back, but I want to know if this awful sense of sadness and loss is normal.

manas

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daverupa
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:41 am

For about three days after quitting, ones physiological states are going to be a little wild, and mileage varies.

You may be sad, of course, for valid reasons or for the reason of quitting, but I think at least some of the intensity is likely a simple and brutish consequence of withdrawal. Endure that physical asava and strive to not get struck by the second dart!

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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manas
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby manas » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:47 am

daverupa wrote:For about three days after quitting, ones physiological states are going to be a little wild, and mileage varies.

You may be sad, of course, for valid reasons or for the reason of quitting, but I think at least some of the intensity is likely a simple and brutish consequence of withdrawal. Endure that physical asava and strive to not get struck by the second dart!

:heart:


I feel great sadness, but I don't want that poison back in my body. I'm going to see this through. Tears or not.

thanks dave

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Kim OHara
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Re: Tobacco: first cutting back, then abandoning completely

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:28 am

manas wrote:
daverupa wrote:For about three days after quitting, ones physiological states are going to be a little wild, and mileage varies.

You may be sad, of course, for valid reasons or for the reason of quitting, but I think at least some of the intensity is likely a simple and brutish consequence of withdrawal. Endure that physical asava and strive to not get struck by the second dart!

:heart:


I feel great sadness, but I don't want that poison back in my body. I'm going to see this through. Tears or not.

thanks dave

When I did finally quit after cutting down (as I described before), there was no real physical withdrawal. You shouldn't be experiencing one, either.
And there wasn't much of a habit to break, either, and shouldn't be for you.
However, I did experience a surprisingly strong psychological reaction which I eventually pinned down as being (don't laugh - I am totally serious) a loss of identity. Yep. For ten or fifteen years my identity, my self-description, had included the term "smoker". Now it didn't. I wasn't the same person any more!
Simple, isn't it - but, as I said, surprisingly strong. Maybe it's your problem, too?

:meditate:
Kim

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manas
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I've given up tobacco, permanently.

Postby manas » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:11 pm

DAY 4

When the previous owners of my flat decided to sell it and move on, the bloke came in and fixed a few things (they allowed me to stay here despite having to do all these repairs, for which I'm grateful). Some of his 'repairs' were a bit dodgy though, and seemed more like a quick patch-up so the place could get sold. For example, there's a stubborn leak in the roof over where the toilet is, and despite trying to fix it time and again, the owner had never quite been able to isolate the problem. So when it came time to sell, he simply went into the bathroom, sanded down and plastered over the decaying, mouldy section of ceiling (due to damp from regular leakings), and gave it a fresh coat of paint. So, not fixed at all, rather just plastered over, and made so that it could not be noticed. But over time, the decay became visible again, and it looks even worse now than before.

Why I started smoking regularly, why I even allowed this to kick in as a habit, I suspect was a bit like that. I suspect I was doing it to distract myself from certain powerful, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful emotions. And so long as I kept drip drip dripping a little bit of the nicotine in, the emotions were kept at bay. Now that I've stopped totally, they are back with a vengeance. I've felt more in the last three days, than I would normally feel in a month.

Taking any drug, even an 'allowable' one like nicotine, is like plastering over our feelings / emotions, imo. I notice such a difference in how I feel, now I'm getting free of it. Emotions are deeper, I can feel them more in my body again, I can feel the connection with my surroundings more fully, it's a subtle thing but life is just that bit more real, vibrant, alive. But the cost is, emotional honesty. I can't hide so well, whatever comes up is 'right here' and wants to be dealt with right now. So when emotional pain comes up, it can cut like a knife. But that is the price we pay, for being truly alive, to truly live.

I admit that, last night I was in such despair, that I didn't care about anything anymore. I searched around just for one more half-finished smoke from the past, surely I dropped one somewhere? Finally I found a bit, about six puffs worth left on it. I smoked it, savouring the mild rush...for a few minutes the emotions subsided...but soon, I just felt bad. Kind of a sick, dull feeling. The vibrancy of life had been tarnished again, just that little. And I thought, no, I won't go back...keep on with this course. You are making progress. You are halfway through the worst of it. Stay the course. You can do this.

I've decided that, I would rather feel life fully, deeply and truly, even if the price of that is, sometimes it will really hurt. But I still prefer that, to just trying to plaster over things, distract myself from them, by using a substance. I want to be fully present with Life.

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dagon
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Re: I'm giving up tobacco, permanently

Postby dagon » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:34 am

I was working with a kid who had a crack addiction - during a conversation he said that he had quit cigarettes but he could not quit crack. i asked him if he could dump cigarettes why couldn't he quit crack.

He asked me why I was still smoking - i said because if i did not smoke i get very stressed. What he asked me to do was to write down each time that i was distressed because i could not have a cigarette, each time i stressed cause i need to go to the shops to buy smokes, each time i could not find cigarettes or lighter ....... and then add the stress at work from the time i was working to pay for cigarettes. :cry:

If you do that and quit - never get rid of that list, love that list.

metta
paul
Last edited by dagon on Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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