How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 2/10/24 2:00 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? ‎ ‎Nihila 2/10/24 2:21 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/10/24 3:32 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Bahiya Baby 2/10/24 3:44 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Bahiya Baby 2/10/24 3:50 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/10/24 4:13 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 2/12/24 7:23 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 2/10/24 5:57 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Siavash ' 2/10/24 9:42 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Siavash ' 2/10/24 3:45 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Siavash ' 2/10/24 4:08 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Siavash ' 2/10/24 4:19 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/10/24 4:27 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Siavash ' 2/10/24 4:28 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Martin 2/11/24 12:08 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/11/24 10:18 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Jim Smith 2/11/24 1:43 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Dream Walker 2/11/24 5:38 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? shargrol 2/11/24 6:52 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Olivier S 2/11/24 9:40 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/11/24 10:04 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Adi Vader 2/12/24 12:03 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? shargrol 2/12/24 8:30 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Olivier S 2/12/24 12:52 PM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/13/24 8:12 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/12/24 8:45 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 2/12/24 9:18 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? shargrol 2/12/24 8:48 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Chris M 2/12/24 9:19 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 2/12/24 9:44 AM
RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking? Siavash ' 2/12/24 12:38 PM
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 2:00 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 2:00 PM

How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
There is a bit of a mini thread going on Bayhia's practice about quitting smoking (and I don't want to blow up his thread more), and I'm curious as people who spend an inordinate amount of time studying craving, suffering, mindfully seeing every sensation, etc. How did you quit smoking for good?

Like I've smoked off and on for a while now, ever since I was a teen. And I've probably quit a dozen times or so. The "off" duration range anywhere from a few days to a few years. But eventually something comes up (your stressed, your partying, etc), and I get back on the wagon. Usually I quit again in a few months when my body starts feeling awful.
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 2:21 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 2:21 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 339 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
Nicotine pouches helped me get off tobacco (chew/snus), and these days I only use it a couple times a month.

I'm under the impression that there's more than just the nicotine that's addictive in tobacco products and that nicotine itself is not actually that bad for you.

Then there's the smoking itself that has pretty bad side effects in itself like tar buildup and high doses of radiation.
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:32 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:32 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
 Dr. Judson Brewer, both a meditator and a researcher in this area, has written a few book about how to break these kinds of habits. I suggest looking into that as he's pretty damned knowledgeable about the brain, the mind and habits/cravings.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:44 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:44 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
I honestly take the Trainspotting approach. I just lock myself in a room, apartment, Airbnb and just watch the addiction until it exhausts itself. 

I have also sometimes weened off. Which actually works really well. 

Literally like if you smoke 10 a day. Smoke 9. And doing stuff like consciously putting the cigarette out sooner. 

I just said this on my thread but I'll go into more detail here. I have given up cigs a few times. This time I was giving up vaping and like vapes are crazy. With a vape you can smoke several cigarettes worth of nicotine very quickly and then go back for more. They're very intense. There can be a very pronounced high off them too. Even when you're smoking everyday. 
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:45 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:44 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
 I haven't done Jud's instructions with details, since I don't have his book or app, but I've listened to several of his interviews, and his main point is this:
"Pay attention to the habit, and you'll notice how bad it feels, so your brain won't get as much reward from it, and the habit will subside in a natural way as time passes".

But that is not my experience. I am almost always mindful of my smoking, I know what feels bad about it, what feels good about it, and what I don't like about it, but when the urge comes, I don't find a complelling reason to not follow the urge. When there is no urge, there is no smoking. When there is an urge, but I get health side-effects from smoking that makes me be more cautions, I ignore the urges a few times, but it's not that the reward system changes, or changes much. At least, that has not been my impression. The good thing about smoking less, is that it becomes less of a routine, and less habitual, so you tend to enjoy more! 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:50 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 3:47 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
I have been watching this most distinguished fellow and I must say I am entirely sold on pipe smoking. 

https://youtu.be/a6bR-NnD_2w?si=IdzcE4Y6qE6lHwHa

Highly recommended to any Tolkienites or Arthurianistas
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:08 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:06 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
I think the view is much more important, that the method of making a change.

Shinzen uses another approach, and suggests whenyou have the urge, pay attention to the urge, and after some practice, it starts to dissolve, and you also get a little pleasure from that urge, and that would lead to change in the habit.

But you would need a strong motivation, and intention, to each time apply that method. A view, that you want that change, and this method will help you to get that change.

Or with Jud's method, when someone has a view that smoking is good, or okay, their mind will pick the positive sensations more. If someone has a view that smoking is bad, and is not for me, their mind will pick the negatives more. If one has a view that smoking is bad, but that is what I deserve, their mind will pick negatives more, but also will be satisfiled by that, and the habit will be charged more.

​​​​​​​Just thinking out loud.
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:13 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:11 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
That's the thing: people try lots of quitting tactics and can stop smoking for a little while. But then they start up again. So the underlying craving has quieted but has not been "seen through" completely. I think I stopped and started again ten or more times until it became obvious that continuing was not going to end well.

Virtually everyone I know who has tried to quit has struggled with doing so. It's not a personal failing. It's a combination of psychological, emotional, and physical addictions that makes it so hard. Addictions of all kinds have an ability to overwhelm people.

Remember what Mark Twain said about this!
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:19 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:19 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
I think one need to get to a conviction, with the entirety of their being, that habit x is not for me anymore. At that point, any good method will do the job. Before that, I think they all will fail one way or another.

Suffering helps!
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:27 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:27 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Siavash has it. Motivation!
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:28 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 4:28 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
Not yet, I'm afraid!
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 5:57 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 5:57 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
Vapes are definitely the raid boss of smoking. Like they have way more pros (good flavors, strong nic, can smoke inside) and way fewer cons (like you dont smell, you dont stain your fingers, etc)
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 9:42 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/10/24 6:11 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
 It depends on what you like about smoking!
For me, it's mainly about fire!
I love fire, and putting things into fire, making fire, burning things, watching things burn and make smoke, and watch the dance of smoke in the air, and how it arises and fades and makes art while dancing. So, no vapes for me!

I've come to the conclusion, that it's all related to the five elements, or elements, if you include the chinesee system, and have elements for wood and metal. Fire element, relationship with smoking, water element, with drinking, etc. 
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 12:08 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 12:08 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
How about the other way around? Working with addiction, especially to something weird like smoking, can help with meditating.

I smoked for more than 20 years and was totally addicted. It wasn't at the top of the list of my addictions, but it was always there, even when I quit the other things. Of course, I tried to quit cigarettes many times but I could not stop myself from going to a store, giving a guy some money, lighting some leaves on fire, and breathing in the smoke. Is that not weird? Leaving out the part about it making you cough up gross-smelling phlegm, catch colds all the time, and die of cancer, it's still weird. It's weird that anyone, anywhere has ever done that, but it's weirder still that millions of people cannot stop doing it. 

Who is doing this stuff? Is it a rational agent, or any kind of self-interested agent, who spends money to breathe in toxic fumes? Smoking doesn't even feel that good. I have gathered quite a bit of data on what substances feel good when ingested. Tobacco? Come on. The best thing about tobacco is that it temporarily reduces the craving for tobacco. It's almost like there isn't anybody actually in charge of what we do but, in certain circumstances, a sense of craving will arise which, even though we can see that it makes us suffer, we cling to as if it were the very center of who we are. Weird. 

The best predictor (in fact, the only reliable predictor) of how successful a person will be at abstaining from an addictive substance is how long it has been since their last dose. If you haven't smoked in 20 years, you are not that likely to smoke today. If you smoked yesterday, well. So, if you want to quit, do whatever you can not to smoke today. Throw away your cigarettes, of course. Tell your girlfriend or your mother or some other judgy person that you quit. Go on a hike. Stay away from alcohol. Ghost your smoking friends. Do whatever you can to lower the odds of smoking in the immediate future. It's not about willpower, it's about conditions and the actions you take to create those conditions. 

And there we are, back to the subject of meditation. 
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 1:43 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 1:27 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1683 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I think it is a misconception that meditation should help people give up addictions.

Advanced meditators actually report having less agency not more - they say they are just along for the ride, not in control.

Maybe this misunderstanding happens because people hear about the Noble Truths: craving causes suffering and ending craving ends suffering.

But the kind of craving which that is referring to is egotistical attachments and aversions, not craving like hunger or thirst, or substance addiction.

So, if you are just starting smoking because you think it makes you look cool, meditation might help you stop. But if you are addicted to nicotine, I don't think focusing on meditation is going to get you the best results.

I actually think in a situation where someone wants to quit but can't, there is an egoistic aspect to wanting to be in control, wanting to be able to quit. There is suffering because you think there is a self that should have control of the biological organism and that self is showing a deficiency when it can't quit. 

The difficulty in quitting is a very good lesson in anatta.

Meditation should be able to help you let go of your need to be in control. But psychology is weird - maybe if you got over the egotistical aspect of your need to quit, you would find it easier to actually do so?

There is a phenomena in Buddhism where people begin to make faster progress when they give up their attachment to awakening - the stress of clinging is the opposite of being non-attached - wanting to be awakened hinders awakening.

Maybe smoking is like that - the stress of wanting to quit makes you need the dopamine hit that nicotine causes? Let go of the attachment to quitting and the need for nicotine might be less.
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Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 5:38 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 5:27 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Sha-Man! Geoffrey
  1. I'm curious
  2. as people who spend an inordinate amount of time
  3. studying craving
  4. suffering
  5. mindfully seeing every sensation
  6. etc.
  7. How did you quit smoking for good?

  1. curious, I'm curious about your curiosity....lets break down your "stuff"
  2. inordinate, WOW, that's great.... Ummmmmmm, how much is that?
  3. What is your craving definition? how does it feel? have you  spent any time studying inordinately from first hand meditative experience?
  4. suffering in what way? first hand direct experience? i'm curious is all
  5. oh, others mindfully seeing? or you? what is your direct experience?
  6. etc....yes
  7. for good? after cremation all of us can say they no longer smoke.....for good, I presume...LOL emoticon


  1. Like I've smoked off and on for a while now
  2. ever since I was a teen
  3. I've probably quit a dozen times or so.
  4. The "off" duration range anywhere from a few days to a few years
  5. But eventually something comes up (your stressed, your partying, etc)
  6. I get back on the wagon.
  7. Usually I quit again in a few months when my body starts feeling awful.
  1. I've on and offed for a vague amount of time
  2. Ya, back then
  3. a dozen.....12 times? more or less
  4. ya, few, more or less, sometimes, me too
  5. first person to second shift......YOU get stressed? YOU are partying? YOU etc.?
  6. AHHHH to release......back on wagon...
  7. You quit? how do you do that? how do you start? 12 times? do you look into that? kinda sounds like you are asking for a simple answer to your vague "stuff"
Your post is kinda crappy, you want everyone to spoon feed you? What piecemeal are you looking for?
I do like the vague trigger words that you use....are you actually looking for some kinda feedback to each and every discussion point?
fine either way, the most important question, are you currently smoking?
(answer- Allen Carr's Easy Way to Quit Smoking)
Good Luck!!!!
~D

P.S.
Good questions lead to good answers.
What is your short concise question regarding smoking and meditation/awakenings?
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 6:52 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 6:51 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 2410 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
The obvious thing is: after your last smoke you have already quit smoking. If you don't see that clearly, you don't see that clearly. 

The body will do what a body does during detox. If you don't see it as detoxing, you won't "be able" to detox even though it's nothing that you do.

Be careful with complex strategies. Just like complex meditation practices, complex strategies protect you from the actual experience of your body and mind. It's not that they are wrong but they are a crutch, and if you use a complex strategy in a half-assed way, then you've basic ruined that strategy and it won't be an option if you actually need it at some time.

And be careful using "I should..." as a rationale. That one rarely works as an adult. "I want..." is better but it can be deep or superficial, the deep version means you have already made up your mind, the superficial version is a kind of vague wanting at some vague time in the future. Be honest with yourself if you have already quit smoking or not.

(And as Martin said, make everything as easy as possible by creating conditions that support you. Know how "dead time" or drinking alcochol or other situations stacks the odds against you and stay out of those situations. But also know that those situations aren't the problem itself, in a sense you already fixed the problem when you realize you have already quit smoking.)
Olivier S, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 9:40 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 9:31 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 891 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
     Hey,

As I said in that other thread, and Dream Walker mentions here as well, my advice is simple: get Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking, apply yourself wholeheartedly to understanding its contents and how it applies to you, and that should solve the problem if done right.

All the ideas about nicotine being very physically addictive, about psychological addiction to the rituals, the gestures, etc., thoughts about changed brain chemistry and neurotransmitters, implicit assumption that there is something nice about smoking which is contained in the fear of that "dark  and dangerous forbidden pleasure", the fear of the dangers of cigarettes, the sense that one gets something pleasurable at all when smoking beyond satisfying a craving that is caused by smoking and is not naturally present at all in non smokers (as Martin said), the belief that there is something difficult about stopping to smoke, the idea (and fear) that one could "relapse" (as shargrol said), the belief that perhaps one smokes because one is a particularly weak and needs a crutch in life in the form of cigarette, which relies on the implicit notion that cigarettes help you in some way, which is simply not true at all, etc., etc.: all of these beliefs and views are, imo, the essence of cigarette addiction, and thus it seems to me that sometimes, people who haven't smoked for years and yet view cigs through these lenses could, in some ways, be seen as still addicted to cigarettes in that sense. Being under the delusion that there is something desirable and thus dangerous about them, since they are bad for you. If one can truly stop seeing cigarettes as desirable in any way (and I mean this at the pre-reflexive level, like, internalizing this to the point that it becomes visceral) ... it becomes quite easy then ...

It seems to me that the weirdness Martin points out above, is actually socially conditioned, period: the key to becoming a smoker, imo, is when someones interiorizes the notion (usually unconsciously) that there is something desirable and yet dangerous about these things (because why else would people be smoking? If there was nothing to it?). There are many subtle or not subtle social and cultural cues that subconscioously make people start to see things that way and thus start smoking. 

Call me a cynic, but I sometimes even believe that the ugly pictures that they out on cigarette packs (at least in europe), are actually not meant to help people quit smoking at all, but on the contrary to reinforce people's addiction through deepening their fear of and guilt about using the product, which also subtly reinforces the notion that "there really must be something awesome about these dangerous things for people to still go and smoke them!", thereby making more cigarette money. One shouldn't underestimate the amount of (intentional) conditioning that gets signalled everywhere all the time by verious interest groups...

Deconstructing these views (and sometimes reversing them: e.g., I started to develop a view of myself as a pretty strong and energetic person for being able to function normally while smoking 25 cigs a day! Which may be slightly dilusional, but if so it is a functional dilusion that can lead to good outcomes) was key for me, and I think this applies to a lot of other things.

And to answer your actual question, Geoffrey, don't you think meditation/contemplation as having profound overlaps with the analytical/reflexive process I just described? I do! emoticon

Anyways, hope that helps.

Best,
​​​​​​​Olivier

ps: Shargrol's answer right above is worth thinking about as well! 
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 10:04 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 10:02 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I'll paraphrase Siavash here:

Until you have a deeply held conviction that smoking is something you want to stop doing, no strategy is likely to help you quit. Once you hold that deep conviction, pretty much any strategy will work for you.
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 10:18 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 10:10 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
The best predictor (in fact, the only reliable predictor) of how successful a person will be at abstaining from an addictive substance is how long it has been since their last dose. If you haven't smoked in 20 years, you are not that likely to smoke today. If you smoked yesterday, well. So, if you want to quit, do whatever you can not to smoke today. Throw away your cigarettes, of course. Tell your girlfriend or your mother or some other judgy person that you quit. Go on a hike. Stay away from alcohol. Ghost your smoking friends. Do whatever you can to lower the odds of smoking in the immediate future. It's not about willpower, it's about conditions and the actions you take to create those conditions. 

If you ever go to an AA/Al-Anon meeting, attend an addiction education session at a rehab facility, or talk to an addiction counselor, this is what they will tell you.

Geoffrey, I believe you can use the skills you have developed as a meditator to help implement the tactics Martin describes above. 
Adi Vader, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 12:03 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 12:03 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 291 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
The author of this website advocates cold turkey quitting, and some education regarding nicotine along with some attitudinal adjustment. He has some excellent articles, along with stories of doom and gloom (so trigger warning).

https://whyquit.com/joel/Joel_03_02_cold_turkey.html

Regarding meditation and its role in quitting an addictive substance. Mindfulness meditation brings a yogi closer and closer to the cause of dukkha. In that process the perception of dukkha gets even stronger for a while. I dont believe that it is a suitable technique to apply towards a strictly defined goal of quitting smoking.
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 7:23 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 7:20 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
I think this is what I struggle with to be honest. Like it's not the quitting I struggle with really, it's the not starting back up again. And its weird because functionally it seems like because I am more off and on, I have a different relationship to it then say Olivier or Martin. When I say off and on smoker, I really mean Im smoking maybe 50/50 percent of the time (even less perhaps?) in chunks. So like recently 2 months on, 6 months off, 1 month on, 1 month off, 1 month on (something like that). And I bring this up because a few people have brought up the idea
Smoking doesn't even feel that good. I have gathered quite a bit of data on what substances feel good when ingested. Tobacco? Come on. The best thing about tobacco is that it temporarily reduces the craving for tobacco.
It seems to me that the weirdness Martin points out above, is actually socially conditioned, period: the key to becoming a smoker, imo, is when someones interiorizes the notion (usually unconsciously) that there is something desirable and yet dangerous about these things (because why else would people be smoking? If there was nothing to it?).

And these strike me as weird because there is a period (of maybe like 1-2 weeks) when you come back to smoking after stopping, where like it just kinda rocks? Like you get a nice little head high when you smoke, you feel more awake and alert, you can concentrate better, etc. And the flip side of this coin is I usually quit not super long into smoking (these days at least), because a certain point the fun goes away and it just sucks for your body and your mind becomes sluggish (and my aversion outmatches my greed). When I started it back up this last time, I'd go for walks in the woods and just feel fantastic.

​​​​​​​But like clearly there's some vedana management going on.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:30 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:30 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 2410 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Right, to pretend there isn't a reason humanity is smoking is a bit of stretch. There is a reason why people smoke, or drink coffee, or smoke pot.

However, it's only bad reasons that make people keep using it as a habit. Habitual use destroys the value of the drug.

Pretty much the first or second use is the best because it's able to dump all the body's happy chemicals. After that point, the body's happy chemicals are somewhat depleted and so you just chase your memory of the previous high... "I used to do a little, but the little [soon] wouldn't do it, so the little got more and more. I just trying to get a little better, a little better than before..."

The body is hard wired to neutralize things that disturb it's baseline state --- and so if you initially get a buzz from coffee, eventually your body will adapt, and you'll need more to get the same effect, and eventually you'll need the chemical just to get by...

So the problem is that habitual use creates a habitual adaption in the body, which requires a habitual use as the new baseline. And ultimately the new state isn't quite worth it. Sure there are some highs, but less than before, and also lows from withdrawl, and meanwhile you're bleeding money and health on the habit...

There are good reasons why people severly moderate or quit smoking.
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:45 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:45 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Yes, it's the dopamine:  https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

Brain chemistry is a powerful thing.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:48 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:48 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 2410 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
adding on...

The harder the drug, the less moderation is really an option. And the more direct the absorption, the more hardcore the addiction tends to be. Inhaling smoke and shooting drugs is about as direct as it gets, it goes straight to the brain and so the act of smoking or shooting itself is part of the addiction.

And since this is a meditation website, let's talk about the benefit of really scrutinizing all of this: what is the mindstate that preceeds drug use? (It might be a little hidden beneath another emotion or thought, so don't assume you know.) And is that mindstate what you think it is? Can you break it up into the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that lump together and create that mindstate? Can you objectively observe the mindstate without a compulsive action/reaction?

Most of the time, we're covering up some feeling of suffering, lacking, inadequacy, fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, etc.  And the best thing for ourselves would probably be to have an insight into why that feeling seems to be happening/seems to be necessary. The underlying cause of addiciton might not be the drug itself. emoticon
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 9:19 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 8:58 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
And the best thing for ourselves would probably be to have an insight into why that feeling seems to be happening/seems to be necessary. The underlying cause of addiciton might not be the drug itself. 

That's true. It's different when someone gets started than it is once they're addicted. It would be great if everyone could examine their thoughts and motivations before they start on an addictive substance. But that's not realistic. It can certainly help to investigate the original motivation, but that's typically been overwhelmed by the addiction cycle - the reason people keep using. 

To be open about this, an immediate family member of mine was/is an addict, and I've been through umpteen addiction cycles with her. I've been involved in every phase of her recovery efforts, retreats, and therapy. Thank heaven she's doing really well now and has been for quite some time - but the monster of addiction lurks, and always will.
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 9:18 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 9:18 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
It is actually more interesting and complicated than just pleasure/pain managment.

Although originally believed to simply encode the set point of hedonic tone, these circuits are now believed to be functionally far more complex, also encoding attention, expectancy of reward, disconfirmation of reward expectancy, and incentive motivation. 'Hedonic dysregulation' within these circuits may lead to addiction. The 'second-stage' dopaminergic component in this reward circuitry is the crucial addictive-drug-sensitive component. All addictive drugs have in common that they enhance (directly or indirectly or even transsynaptically) dop-aminergic reward synaptic function in the nucleus accumbens. Drug self-administration is regulated by nucleus accumbens dopamine levels, and is done to keep nucleus accumbens dopamine within a specific elevated range (to maintain a desired hedonic level). For some classes of addictive drugs (e.g. opiates), tolerance to the euphoric effects develops with chronic use. Postuse dysphoria then comes to dominate reward circuit hedonic tone, and addicts no longer use drugs to get high, but simply to get back to normal ('get straight'). The brain circuits mediating the pleasurable effects of addictive drugs are anatomically, neurophysiologically and neurochemically different from those mediating physical dependence, and from those mediating craving and relapse.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21508625/
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 9:44 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 9:44 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
The harder the drug, the less moderation is really an option. And the more direct the absorption, the more hardcore the addiction tends to be. Inhaling smoke and shooting drugs is about as direct as it gets, it goes straight to the brain and so the act of smoking or shooting itself is part of the addiction.
I think moderation and harm reduction are great topics. I think the prevalent view socially is that addition (or even substance usage) is bad across the cart, but then we look at how caffeine is a pretty regular consumed by most people and people try to bend over and say "oh well its not really an addiction" (or oh these arent really substances). I think a lot of people take a moral stance against "bad" substances.

A lot of the communities I know that are more open to recreational substances and overall progressive focus on harm reduction. Like there is nothing morally bad or good about say doing acid or drinking coffee or whatever. But (and like any activity/consumption) doing things in certain ways or at certain frequencies can cause harm to the people involved or their communities. It seems the harm is the bad part no? To return to smoking, is someone who uses patches daily for a long period of time really in the same boat as a cig smoker? Like they have minimized the damage they are doing to themselves (since most harm comes from the combustion and other chemicals), to others, and to the environment in a meaningful way. Is this 'a problem' in the same way?

And since this is a meditation website, let's talk about the benefit of really scrutinizing all of this: what is the mindstate that preceeds drug use? (It might be a little hidden beneath another emotion or thought, so don't assume you know.) And is that mindstate what you think it is? Can you break it up into the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that lump together and create that mindstate? Can you objectively observe the mindstate without a compulsive action/reaction?

Most of the time, we're covering up some feeling of suffering, lacking, inadequacy, fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, etc.  And the best thing for ourselves would probably be to have an insight into why that feeling seems to be happening/seems to be necessary. The underlying cause of addiciton might not be the drug itself.

So I feel like this is the approach that meditation people recommend, is to be mindful of the whole process. But I'm in a similar camp to sivash

I am almost always mindful of my smoking, I know what feels bad about it, what feels good about it, and what I don't like about it, but when the urge comes, I don't find a complelling reason to not follow the urge. When there is no urge, there is no smoking. When there is an urge, but I get health side-effects from smoking that makes me be more cautions, I ignore the urges a few times, but it's not that the reward system changes, or changes much. At least, that has not been my impression.
Really it's to say there is a deeper issue, a belief somewhere in me that if only I do the right things - harm reduction, the right substances at the right time, exercise, eat well, drink water, etc etc then finally I'll be happy (or at least happy most of the time).
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 12:38 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 12:31 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
 Many nuances...

A lot of times, these behaviors aren't about the substance itself. Half of the cigarretes that I light, I throw it away immediately, because I like lighting it, much more than smoking it. When I don't smoke, I sometimes keep something between my fingers, like a pen, because my fingers get itchy and restless. It becomes a behavior that is less boring than many of other behaviors, part of the time, for some people. Like, if I am busy with an activity that I like it, I tend to smoke much less, because already there is another entertainment. A colleague of mine smokes, when there are other colleagues in the office that smoke, so he joins them, and he likes it that way, when those people are not there, he doesn't smoke.

And smoking is just one case for the overall pattern of behavior. Reading the contents of this site is exactly the same kind of behaviors, it just doesn't hurt your lungs, though it hurts the earth for its processing power. Or watching anything, or eating anything, or talking with people. Just an on-going search for entertainment for a mind that is always hungry for fun/fulfillment/variety/etc. The person is still alive, and they should make life fun, any way they can!
 
Olivier S, modified 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 12:52 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/12/24 12:48 PM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 891 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
shargrolRight, to pretend there isn't a reason humanity is smoking is a bit of stretch. There is a reason why people smoke, or drink coffee, or smoke pot.

Yes, and hopefully this is not in response to what I wrote, as I definitely not "pretend there isn't a reason humanity is smoking", but instead that, in my view, a belief that cigarettes are desirable is an essential, and in my own personal experience, THE essential component, of cigarette addiction, and that this perspective gets reinforced by all kinds of things, including the factors I mentioned before.

Saying that it is a misunderstansding, a form of ignorance, wrong view, or distorted perception that is the cause for a perennial human behavior, is indeed a bit of a stretch when viewed from the natural worldly perspective of most humans, and yet...

So is saying, as did the Buddha and others, that phenomena, whether subjective or objective, lack an inherent essence, and that much suffering arises from that misunderstanding — which is nevertheless the basis of most human behaviors since the dawn of history. That is quite a bit of a stretch, yet what are we doing on this forum except try to see or help other see how a fundamental misapprehension of reality is the source of much suffering? 

What this "dharma" contends (that a delusion is at the root of much of humanity's spontaneous lived experience) is not the same thing as saying that "there is no reason that humanity is constructing a self out of not self and suffering because of that". Yet it does say that that is a mistaken view that is the root cause of the problem trying to be solved through practice. I merely state the same about cigarette addiction: it's based on a deluded view of cigarettes.

And to me, (@Chris), whether this deluded view (whether "fundamental ignorance" or "cigarette addiction") is linked with dopamine is not so much the question. There may be correlation between "removal of ignorance through awakening" or "success in stopping to stop smoking" with aspects of brain chemistry and behavior, etc., but it is also possible to view things from a first person perspective, as we do when meditating. That jhanas and paths have physiological correlates is interesting but it is not really how you get these things. The intro to the link you shared states "In short, your brain is you—everything you think and feel, and who you are." I don't agree with this, and I do believe, as I stated earlier, that holding these sorts of views can be a hindrance when e.g. attempting to stop... eating chocolate, let's say, to move on a bit....

Anyways, I'm not sure this is productive so I'll leave it at: May all who wish to stop smoking, succeed!! emoticon 

Best

  
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/13/24 8:12 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/13/24 8:01 AM

RE: How do I use meditation to help me quit smoking?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
That jhanas and paths have physiological correlates is interesting but it is not really how you get these things. The intro to the link you shared states "In short, your brain is you—everything you think and feel, and who you are." I don't agree with this, and I do believe, as I stated earlier, that holding these sorts of views can be a hindrance when e.g. attempting to stop... eating chocolate, let's say, to move on a bit....

Olivier, I agree that it's best to take sentences like "your brain is you—everything you think and feel, and who you are" with a grain of salt, even when coming from neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and addiction experts. In fact, I think it's downright silly for that sentence to be included in the article I linked to. But that doesn't negate the science. You know, there's almost always a middle ground. As a long-time meditator, I love the perspective from first-person experience, observing it, and thus gaining useful insight. I also love that other perspectives are valid and useful. As someone who has first-hand experience with addiction and medications for depression and anxiety, I have found it to be short-sighted to ignore the science, as that has also been very helpful to me and others close to me. There's room for us to disagree and to agree to doing just that.

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