Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beware: The power of your pen

I've been Quit 68 days. Saved $448.80. Salvaged 7 days, 17 hours of my life.

I get those stats from the Quitnet website which includes discussion forums for quitters, expert advice, links to personal advisers, a buddy system--lots of good stuff. I enjoy this site because not only does it support my quit, but it's a chance for me to help others who are quitting. (http://www.alberta.quitnet.com/)

I'll let the following excerpt from an email I wrote to my good friend and confidante, C**, relate what happened next....

Hi, C**

I managed to antagonize users of another forum--my Quitnet forum! I have a fellow quitter accusing me of trying to lure ex-smokers back to cigarettes!

Sheesh! What does he think I am? A nicotine demon hired by the tobacco companies to infiltrate Quitnet and lure back their customers? What the hell? It upset me. Lots. Remember I advised you that one should only hand over the power to hurt to those we respect? I didn't follow that advice.

I have spent lots of time on the Qnet forums offering support and encouragment, so the one time when I seek advice and encouragement and get shot down like that.... I guess I ought to have had more of a sense of humour about it. [Writing emails to you always sparks that possibility.] Actually, for the first time since it happened, I'm finding myself giggling about it. Thanks, C**, for giving me that perspective.

What happened was I wrote an email to Qnet's experts saying I only had a couple of weeks left on my Champix prescription and was scared I'd go back to smoking once it ran out. I was told (among other tidbits of advice) that to be a successful quitter I had to stop believing cigarettes were pleasurable. This startling advice was akin to being told I would inherit a billion dollars as soon as I believed the ocean wasn't salty...

So, that was the question I posed on Quitnet: had anyone out there been able to come to believe that cigarettes aren't pleasurable? Surprisingly (to me), there are many who have and many who believe this is a prerequisite to successful quitting.

One lady responded that since I hadn't believed cigarettes were pleasurable before I became addicted, it was just a matter of returning to that state of mind. To which I replied, it was not all that simple a step for me as I had found cigarettes pleasurable long before I took my first puff-- and in rather flowery, powerful language explained how as a child I'd been entranced by my father's smoking habit.

Do you suppose it was that wonderful piece of prose--describing slender swirls of blue twirling up the sunbeams...the contented look in my father's eyes...the wondrous aroma when he opened a fresh can of tobacco--

D'ya think that's what made him suspect me of infiltrating????

Thanks, C**. It now seems totally humorous to me.... No more tears...
---------------
I had intended my Qnet words to communicate my powerful affinity to nicotine. I thought if others better understood my addiction they'd be able to offer me more appropriate advice and encouragement. It was all about me.

Until I wrote the above email to C**, I had not considered the effect my alluring words might have on a community of people trying to quit.

Writers--always keep your readers in mind. Beware: The power of your pen...


Eileen Schuh,
Canadian writer
http://www.eileenschuh.com/

2 comments:

Barry Moore, MNLP,CH said...

Hi Eileen

The secret to your problem is right here...
One lady responded ... To which I
replied, it was not all that simple a step for me as I had found cigarettes pleasurable long before I took my first puff-- ... as a child I'd been entranced by my father's smoking habit.

This is why you are saying "I only had a couple of weeks left on my Champix prescription and was scared I'd go back to smoking once it ran out."

It's not about the nicotine, per se, but the link you have in childhood. The nicotine may be the "binder", but it's this association (and maybe others) that are causing the problems.

Regards

Barry Moore, MNLP, CH
Toronto Quit Smoking Hypnotherapist"

Eileen Schuh: said...

It's not immediately clear to me, Barry, what you are saying, but something in your words is calling out to me... I'm going to have to think about this for a while.
Thanks for caring.

Eileen Schuh, Author
http://www.eileenschuh.com