Are You Addicted to Smoking?
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
How do you deal with stress, despair, anger, boredom, sadness, or
procrastination? Many people duck dealing with these things. Instead they choose
others things to cover or comfort them so they don't have to deal with them at
The trouble with this is that problems keep getting swept under the preverbal
rug until there are mountains of unresolved problems continually tripping the
person up. At this point it is difficult for the person to carry on a normal
The item that they have chosen for comfort to cover up life's problems
usually becomes a problem too, because it is being used to an excess.
Anything done in excess, to the exclusion of
friends, family, God, and community,
is an addiction,
Whether it is:
TV WATCHING, SPENDING SPREES, EXERCISE,
THREE STAGES OF NICOTINE ADDICTION
There are three basic stages in any addictive process. First, there is a
change in the thought process. Second, there is a change in how people deal with
life's ups and downs and relationships with others. Third, their lives and their
physical and mental well-being erodes to the point where there is no control. As
a result suicide may become a viable way out of their problems.
Understanding The Addictive Cycle
First: The person feels the need for emotional and/or social comfort, and
uses smoking to gain these needs. Smoking becomes excessive as the smoker
equates the act of smoking with comfort.
The person feels better for a time as smoking has filled the emotional need,
but when the person gets in an uncomfortable situation, emotionally, socially,
and/or physically, s/he automatically reaches for a cigarette to cope with the
Over time, the smoker becomes hooked. S/He needs smoking to cope
with his/her emotions. Even the very smell of smoke unconsciously
reminds the smoker of comfort and becomes uncomfortable because they are not
getting that comfort.
The smoker is hooked again because s/he has collected smokers as
friends. To fit in socially, s/he needs to smoke as it is what they do
when they get together.
Finally, smoking becomes a physical necessity as the body becomes addicted to
the nicotine. Over time the body gains a tolerance to the nicotine and
need more and more to satisfy its cravings. This is because the body
becomes used to the smaller dosages and needs more nicotine to get the same
relief from the cravings.
The chain smoker feels emotional pain and guilt for smoking because s/he
cannot control the continual need to smoke. Plus, there is the physical
pain that results from withdrawal symptoms, because of the lack of nicotine in
Finally: The whole process begins again because the person seeks relief from
the pain and guilt by smoking.
First Stage of Addiction
Change in the Thought Process
Second Stage of Addiction
- The individual finds that smoking makes them feel good.
- They substitute smoking instead of dealing with their problems.
- The addictive cycle begins.
- The addictive self takes over.
- S/He substitutes addictive logic to explain illogical actions.
- When the normal self tries to point out flaws in the addictive logic, the
addictive self points out the pleasurable aspects of the addiction.
Change in Dealing with Life and Others
Third and Final Stage of Addiction
- Questions about the addict's logic is perceived as an attack on
- The addict practices objectification (The regarding or usage of others as
objects to get the addict what s/he needs.) and can't understand why others
- The addict feels righteous indignation and withdrawals further from
- The normal self watches as loved ones are hurt and pushed away.
- The normal self feels ashamed. To cope, he/she blames others.
- The addicted person is labeled as a problem and becomes the scapegoat for
most of the problems which takes place.
- The more the addict acts out (uses tobacco) the more isolated s/he
- The addict gains a tolerance to the chemicals now controlling mood. It
takes more smoking to get the same high get or to be normal in mood
otherwise s/he is depressed.
- The addict acts out more frequently and perhaps dangerously. Often
smoking leads the person into trying illegal drugs.
- Due to shame and denial of one's loss of control, the addict's becomes
- The addictive self would rather tell a lie than the truth, even when there
is no reason to lie.
Physical and Mental Breakdown
THE ONLY PERMANENT WAY OUT OF AN ADDICTION IS TO:
- The pain from loneliness, shame, and anger are almost continual.
- Smoking doesn't cover the pain, any more, it only adds more pain.
- When smoking no longer eases the pain, the addictive logic breaks down.
- The pressure of stored feelings mounts up. It causes emotional and/or
- The normal self dreads each new day.
- Stopping the addictive cycle causes physical withdrawal and a grieving
process for the lost relationship with smoking.
- There are only two ways out of this stage of the addiction - intervention
- Most addicts are stopped though intervention of help from friends or loved
- The chances of recovery are good even though it requires total commitment
by the addict and a complete lifestyle change.
- Without intervention, the tormented normal self decides to put a stop to
it all and commits suicide.
1. Admit you need help from your God and ask for His help.
2. Do your part to succeed.
- Make God your partner, through continual prayer.
- This may mean you will need the advice or care of a professional.
- You may need the help of a support group.
3. Realize changes takes time to made.
If you are willing
to work and ask for help,
the Lord will help you change,
and you will succeed!
Ridding Yourself of an Addiction
Nakken, C. (1988). The Addictive Personality. Hazelden
Nay, A (1996) A Wholistic Approach to the Control of Addiction.
Sheppard, K. (1989). Food Addiction. Heath Communication, Inc.:
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Annette Nay Homepage
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