Trauma & Nicotine Addiction
Have you ever been curious as to the reasons behind why people smoke? If you asked them, you might hear, “I don’t know, it’s just something to do, especially when I’m nervous about something,” or, “I know it’s not good for you, but…”
Research in the fields of sociology, addiction, and physiology; have shown that addictions can be in many cases, the result of direct emotional and physical abuse during childhood. This is a crucial stage of life in which our character traits are molded and shaped, whether for good or bad. Our adulthood, by contrast, is where we are more able to process information from our environment and make conscious decisions based on our experiences. But even this ability, can be impeded by traumatic events that occurred during youth.
One mark of addiction is cognitive dissonance, or the mental separation between the reality of a situation and what a person believes things to be. In the example above, nicotine addiction, from an emotional perspective, can be triggered by one or more traumatic events in one’s life. From a physiological standpoint, however, cells are damaged, hormone levels are shifted and cardiac and brain functions are severely altered. Hence, there is difficulty in ceasing addictive habits. One’s internal and external factors must be changed before both understanding the reasons for addictive behavior, and changing said behavior, can be accomplished.
Exercise can be performed using the body’s own weight which creates automatic resistance, all without the purchase of a gym membership. This can be a nice alternative to going to a gym as the gym can be expensive, and shuts us indoors where recycled air, unnatural temperatures, and loud music can be problematic.
Bodyweight exercise also builds the body in a more efficient manner and reduces strain on the musculoskeletal system, and in some cases, can assist in rebuilding the tissues. It has been shown that former NBA and NFL athletes, who are known for heavy weight training regimens, especially in the off season, begin to experience aches and pains in their joints once they retire in part because of the burden placed on them during their careers.
Below are a few modified bodyweight exercises that reveal part of an endless array of movement:
Incline Push-ups create greater resistance with one’s bodyweight and are excellent for strengthening the abdomen, triceps, and upper back.
Incline Push up
Chin-ups are best for the forearms, biceps, front shoulders, abdomen and upper back.
Squats strengthen the quadriceps located at the front of the thighs and encourage flexibility of the ligaments and tendons in and near the knee joints. I also encourage proper posture as seen in the figure below. Squats are best when done without weights, which can place too much pressure on the tendons and ligaments in the knee joints, and may also produce wear on the knee cartilage. If you observe professional dead lifters, you see most, if not all of them, wearing knee and back braces due to injuries sustained during years of heavy weightlifting.
Walking outdoors is also good because it helps us to take in more oxygen and clear the body of impurities. We tend to move a bit faster than normal, and are exposed to fresh air and sunlight. It is a good idea to remove your shoes and walk barefoot if you walk on dirt, sand, or grass, as this massages the reflexology points on the bottom of each foot that correspond to each organ. Most importantly, if you have a loved one to walk with or even a group of people who would like to join you, enjoy it with them; this has the added benefit of lifting your spirit as well.
Where does a belief come from? The answer is that it is nothing more than a hunch that the person accepts as truth for themselves but it has absolutely nothing to do with reality. All a belief does is provide proof where there is none, and this can become a powerful driving force in a person. This force gets its energy from the feelings, not the facts, which are associated with the belief.
Feelings are not facts but can be accepted as facts. This can create a hell on earth for the addict or alcoholic, if they believe they “have to drink or drug” or “are bored “or “are powerless” then that is exactly the reality they create for themselves. This perception, however, can go the other way. If the addict would believe in creating a spectacular future and a new view of themselves, then that would be the reality they would create.
No one has an “Addictive Personality” but if they believe they do then they will be powerless to think otherwise. But if they have the belief that they can manage and control any situation or event, then they would have a “Resourceful Personality.” In the final analysis, each person creates their lives through the feelings they allow to dominate them. By changing those dominating feelings from disempowering ones to empowering ones, they can alter their reality and will absolutely have a “Change for Life.”
When is enough, enough? There comes a point in addiction treatment where the client and practitioner come to terms with the need for more independence outside of a clinical setting. From a strict medical perspective, a client’s treatment is given by the practitioner who works with them to ensure success. Both their expertise and the client’s willingness to follow through are equally important in the process.
Once an agreement is made that the time has come to leave a clinic or other treatment location, it is important to remain focused throughout each minute of each day on the recovery process. A friend in the self-help/improvement field actually teaches this as the center of his lectures in order to train the mind to narrow its thought process enough so that emotional and mental healing occurs subconsciously. Though it takes time and effort, both of us have seen results from this method.
Focusing your thoughts and energy can be used in everyday life. Focusing on business endeavors, controlling the words we use, what we eat, and yes, even addiction, can yield positive results. Once personal accountability and observable progress is made, the prospect of a new life is close at hand. This will build the confidence necessary to be free from addiction.
I am frequently asked if smoking addiction can be cured through natural means, what with all the patches, “fake” cigarettes, anti-smoking gum, and self-help books that have filled the market.My immediate answer is always “Yes, absolutely!” and before I can continue their face lights up wondering how they can do it. They they ask: “How can I quit?” Once they realize the level of commitment to the emotional healing process and rigorous discipline that it takes to stop and remain off of cigarettes, their shining face turns sour. Ending any type of addiction, whether it is drug related, sexual, social media, or smoking, is an ongoing, continual, and sometimes painful process.
There is no such thing as a panacea–or cure all–in the world of addiction treatment. Each case can be a trial for both the patient and the practitioner. The former is dealing with the psycho-spiritual and physical ramifications of smoking, sometimes for decades, including alienation from family members and various social settings, while the practitioner must focus on the issues surrounding the actual addiction itself, such as the patient’s relationship to their parents, siblings, and extended family, their friends, and the world at large.
The best prevention for smoking and other addictions is for the parents or guardians to avoid substance abuse in the home, which serves as the center of children’s values. Even with outside influences from their peers at school, the home can be a powerful countermeasure.