Four Stages of A Smoker's Addiction
Some Facts Beforehand
I feel obligated to indulge in some facts before I dive into the four stages of addiction. Come along with me for a moment and don't think I'm playing the Sanctimonious Non-Smoker role because I certainly am not. At the time of writing, I am smoking a red Marlboro seventy-two.
Each craving lasts about 3 to 5 minutes.
Cravings are because of nicotine seeping out of your glands.
Cravings subside totally after approximately 2 weeks.
During and after those 2 weeks, it is recommended you drink a lot of water and brush your teeth because the taste remains in your mouth for those 2 weeks.
Most smokers take up the habit in their mid teens, well before the legal age for purchasing them, and is seen as a rite of passage towards adulthood. Other perceived rights of passage include: aftershave, wearing stilettos, alcohol, drugs and sexual intercourse; with a combination of these sometimes being cited as the main causes of teenage pregnancy.
1) The Social/Experimental Smoking Stage
some people, this can be their permanent stage. For others, it can
last 2 to 5 years before progressing to the next stage of smoking.
This stage isn’t quite addiction because it’s part of the Smoker’s
Paradigm. However, it’s a fact that the first hit on a cigarette can
literally cause a mild euphoric high that prompts the first-time smoker
to try again and again. That is definitely a hooker.
The experimental stage has many of their own reasons. The social implications of being cool because of smoking has wore off for the most part with today’s teens and young adults. My own personal reason was just to try it with a friend and I eventually enjoyed having a cigarette here and there mainly for myself. I felt embarrassed about it enough to not smoke in public or around my other very conservative, non-smoking friends (whom I shall name Sanctimonious Non-Smokers). At the time, my then-boyfriend thought I smelled like death. I lasted 4 years smoking a pack a month or less.
Smokers generally report a variety of after-effects; such as calmness, relaxation, alertness, stimulation, concentration and many others. In fact, smoking will produce a different effect in each individual depending on ‘what they expect to get’; turning the cigarette into the worlds most popular placebo (satisfying the brains hunger for nicotine being the only ‘relaxing’ factor). The smoker will then use these expectations as a means to continue the habit.
2) The Realization/Addiction Stage
Here is where I introduce the Determined Smoker. That was me, once upon a time. I became braver and, in the face of Sanctimonious Non-Smokers, determined. I had a vice, so sue me. Many have their own vices and their own personal ways of dying. I was determined to enjoy smoking because I really did. It was my own vice and nothing else. However, I didn’t like being dependent.
This is the Realization stage. I had become dependent on cigarettes. I needed a smoke when I woke up and a smoke before I went to bed. I needed a smoke after I had become full from eating and a smoke while I cooked. If I ran out of cigarettes, I panicked. I was smoking a pack a day. At this point, most smokers will smoke a pack or more a day and some will become chain-smokers.
I was hooked, surely and completely. It’s much harder to turn back after this stage. Or better yet, it’s much harder to move forward past it.
3) The Self-Disgust Stage
Disgusted Smoker. Yes, indeed, people do reach that stage. It’s that
stage where a smoker like me puff impatiently and without the initial
joys of their former smoking days. It’s no longer about savoring the
moment - the smell, the feeling, the taste, and the sensation.
This stage creates the Smoker’s Monster or can be created by it. That thing that has the insidious voice inside your head, yeah, that’s him or her. It will talk about things like how you smell bad, look stupid, and going to die young. It will talk about how you need it, and you need it bad. The taste turns from a smoky flavor to ashes at the little voice. That thing provokes the Smoker’s Paradigm all the more.
4) The Resigned Smoking Stage or the Quitter’s Stage
The final stage can be one of two things, or extend into a fifth stage which is the most obvious stage of all; quitting. Smokers generally resign themselves to being smokers. They are dealing with the monsters and paradoxes and all that stuff. Eventually, four in five smokers will regret their decision. One out of those five may succeed in becoming an ex-smoker.
The Smoker’s Paradigm
You keep talking about this paradigm. What’s up with that, man?
When you’re in your first two stages, you’re at the point where quitting is easy. And you can do it, because you are simply enjoying the cigarettes. You’re not dependent on them. I’ve successfully quit at this stage for a year. I could go a long time between cigarettes just because I could.
Then, when you pick it back up or continue, it can evolve into a serious addiction. When you regret it and resent it, you suddenly feel like you can’t ever quit. Therein lies the way smokers view their reality. You enjoy it, you can quit. You resent it, you can’t quit.