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psychological cravings   Introductions/Newcomers Nook

Started Jan-30 by MJoe79; 1920 views.

From: MJoe79


Can someone explain to me how psychological cravings feel like actual physical cravings? I am 5 hours away from completing my 5th day of quitting smoking, and so I know there isn't any nicotine in my body and there are no withdrawals now.  Yet, the urge to smoke has been prominent ALL day. Granted, today is my first weekend day so a lot more idle time than I had during the week, and I filled my time as best as I could, but the urge to smoke was noticeable and growing more pronounced as the day is going on.  I haven't done any of my normal smoking "trigger" things, so I am just confused as to how a psychological craving can feel physical when I have no desire to smoke and I'm not doing anything that would "make" me smoke? 

In reply toRe: msg 1

From: gkim


Even if the nicotine is out of our bodies our train still has nicotine brain. In other words it’s trained to think you want to smoke. I just tried my best to ignore the thoughts by saying “I don’t do that anymore!” And saying “God, please help me?” And moving. I would just go do some housework or get on my phone and surf. Take a shower or a bath or run or do jumping jacks. Whatever it takes but DON’T smoke! This phase also gets easier. Remember, we smoked for years and years. Our brain needs to relearn. 

In reply toRe: msg 1

From: Loreficent


Hmmm. Funny to read this as I remember very clearly being near the first week and my cravings were so completely mental! I actually wrote something here about it last February. I remember confusing myself over it too. So, folks talk a lot on here about nicotine receptors. These are little “locks” that exist in our brain cells and nicotine is the “key” that fits the lock, so to speak. Similar to other receptors, such as Dopamine and many others. Well, yes, nicotine may be out of your system at roughly 72 hours. I think this is spoken to a lot here as well, and sometimes it seems in the sense that this should be “the end” of physical cravings. Well...those receptors take some time to go away or become inactive. Even though nicotine is gone you have these little locks craving for their key slot to be filled. These actually replace some Dopamine receptors in smokers and generally smokers have a bit less actual dopamine which is a feel good substance. Anyway...nothing that magical chemically really happens to make you feel better because the nicotine is gone as you still have all those hungry receptors. Is it really important to distinguish mental VS physical cravings was a question I struggled with earlier on as I thought if I understood it better, I would cope better. But in reality they are so closely intertwined and often inseparable. They aren’t just mental now because you no longer physically have nicotine. I think this can become a huge motivator for some folks to realize nicotine is out of their bodies, which is good. But as far as addiction, it is only one piece of this, and the easiest by far to conquer. It is the mental and emotional attachments to smoking that we have built over the years that make this addiction so insidious and difficult to let go. Smoking was a veil in so so many ways. 
Anyway, I’ve rambled a ton and not really said a ton. The bottom line that I’m trying to say is it is normal to feel your craves are mental or emotional, and also that there is still a physical component to them even though you don’t have the puzzle piece of nicotine on board. I think sometimes folks get excited about hitting this 3 day-ish period of knowing the nicotine is out their system like some small thing will be different to the process, and sadly, it is only a small piece of it and not that much is different with the cravings. They aren’t less because they are now just “mental”; actually they are still quite physical too. The most important thing is to keep going, trust yourself that your healing, that the process is what it is and it sucks mentally and physically regardless and this will go on for a while. The good news is though that you truly and really do become stronger and more empowered with each and every small battle of a crave conquered. Don’t fight it too much or think too much about the craves. Ride the waves. Embrace the healing and the small victory of each one passed. This is really as much about the process and the journey as it is the “end result”. You will find you learn small little things about yourself every day. Every time you get through anything without a smoke that you needed a smoke to get through before you are breaking a connection and building new pathways. It really is exciting and empowering and hella frightening all at the same time. Breathe deep, ride the waves, let it pass. 
Ok...not at all sure if that was helpful! Lol!joy Anyway...mental, physical, it’s all intertwined. 

  • Edited January 31, 2021 11:42 pm  by  Loreficent

From: Chloeleb2001


This was all very helpful!! I know you may not recognize myself commenting on your threads, but I actually joined this forum about 10 months ago and have read mostly your responses/comments along your quiet journey, and you write so eloquently and descriptively! 

Your very right, ride the waves! don't resist... relaxed into this process and let the water ride you to the shore! Day 36 today :) 


From: Loreficent


Oh Chloe, I’m so glad you found some value in that natter! I just reread it and see it sounded a bit disjointed. This is what happens when writing after working for 13 hours though, lol!

Also, I’m a bit worried. If you’ve been following someone’s quiet journey, perhaps it isn’t mine? joyjoyjoy Seems my journey has been not so quiet much of the time, as I’m sure many here would agree! Haha! stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye Thank you though and I do like to write at times. Funny as before here, I never wrote much at all except an occasional shopping list that would inevitably be left on the counter and I’d find myself at the store wandering aisles aimlessly trying to recall the list. joy But...yes, it has been and continues to be a journey. My journey shared with so many wonderful souls as we all struggle and laugh and cry together, holding hands out for support, kind words when we need them, tough love at times that in the moment is scary. Hopefully much laughter and smiles for comfort as we all know that laughter is the best thing for all of our souls, particularly when we get to the point in our lives when we become gracious enough to laugh at ourselves, right? I’ve made so many friends here. It has been hard to see so many leave and not return. I am a person of great passion and share my life with those close to me with a good deal of openness and exuberance and most always wear my heart on my sleeve far too much. You all are very real to me though we likely will never meet. This is not impossible of course for any of us, just not likely as our world is complicated. Go forward on your own journey, walk softly, walk proud, carry yourself tall and be very proud of yourself for every day you don’t smoke. Always know there are folks here who walk with you, always in spirit on this collective journey. We really can do this. At this point, no regrets. We will only have those if we slip. We choose that. Or not. But always know, there is someone real here who is going through the same thing, and there are moments when they are stronger and here if you need them, and there are moments when you are stronger and will be here for someone else. It’s all very beautiful in its own virtual very real reality. Live healthy going forward as that is the direction we walk. Thank you so much for your kindness and cheer. 

Jaka...I got your back here buddy. Stay in the moment. Choose well and keep going. You have come too far my friend to turn back now. Always there is a lifeboat that will bring you to Portland. Or at least out to sea! joy Float around a while and find some peace maybe...

Ljubljana 1°C  Portland 9°C blush

CC to Jaka38
  • Edited February 1, 2021 3:30 pm  by  Loreficent

From: MJoe79


Loreficent - thank you so much for this thoughtfully descriptive response! It completely makes sense, I was really sitting there, literally pondering why I felt the urge to smoke.  It is crazy how the brain can do that.  Such a great answer, thank you!

I'm about to wrap up Day 8.  I read somewhere if you make it a week, then you are 9 times as likely to stay quit forever. That's my goal.  Period.  I don't want to go back. 


From: Jaka38



This is funny. I know you mean well but I'm not so close to see as you might think. Its an hour in car. Than there is whole Adriatic and Mediterranean not to mention Atlantic and you constantly forget you're on a wrong coast for that. So if I somehow make it through Panama and up the coast, than it's possible and if I'll come that far I'll definitely give you a call. That's a promise. Still It's approximately 5600 miles or 9000km. But you know pack of cigarettes is only a block and few bucks away so this plan has huge holes in it Lore. We need to work on it joy biiiiiig time

Msg 6448.8 deleted
In reply toRe: msg 7

From: Loreficent


Jaka...I constantly forget many many things! Lol!joy Like to answer this! Plus many here would think yes, I’m on the wrong coast. And...I have no clue where my emoji thingy at the top is so I’m a mess all around! Huge holes you say? In my plan? Not so!! The plan is so so....ok...so so BAD. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eyeAnyway...it has been quite cold and snowy here for a few days. Kind of nice in it’s own way really. We have about 8-10 inches of snow still and now there is freezing rain so everything is shiny and very very slippery. I recommend you hold off on the journey for a bit! joy But no walking that few blocks to the store either. 
Ljubljana -6° C  
Portland -4° C

But we have snow!!!stuck_out_tongue_winking_eyeblushkissing_heart

I deleted the other messages and my emojis are back! Yippee!


From: Jaka38



Topic of this sub is psychological cravings and somehow we end up with weather again. How is that...? joy