ISLAM NEWSROOM - UPDATE: "A 10 Step Cure for Smokers"
Please read these tips and issues and see what we, as Muslims might add to this study and research. What do we have in Islam that would really make a difference (and why aren't we using it on our own brothers and sisters?)
We make no guarantee for results - but in personal experiences, we know that actually only Allah gives us the tawfiq (success) over any addicition. Read with caution and consider asking Allah to help you and cure you.
Hadith of Rasoolullah, peace be upon him, tells us that Allah told Musa (Moses) peace be upon him, that only Allah cures - nothing else. He puts the cure in the things around us and in our lives. So keep this in mind while you consider these 10 Steps to Cure Addition of Smoking.
ADDICTION to SMOKING (what is it?)
Because smoking tobacco, unlike other drugs, causes no immediate serious mental or physical disturbances, which affect normal everyday activities, people become addicted to it very easily believing they are strong enough to survive any future ill effects and can stop whenever they like. However, once the brain has become addicted to receiving nicotine on a very regular basis it refuses to behave normally when nicotine is removed and slowly the smoker loses control of their will. Addiction can take hold within one week of smoking daily.
Many tobacco users start at a very young age, when their brain is still in the development stage. This means their brain becomes permanently accustomed to working with the presence of nicotine and this makes it even more difficult to stop the habit. The mental torment that users go through, when trying to live without nicotine, is so intense and the ease of acquiring a tobacco fix legally and quickly means many never
give up entirely for the whole of their lives.
The only way to stop is to change daily habits, which are connected with smoking, completely but this is not easy. Cutting out coffee, alcohol, associating with friends who are smokers, stressful situations and all activities which can be done whilst smoking then reintroducing them one by one as the addiction to nicotine subsides, is almost impossible, but is the only way that the brain can be retrained to exist without nicotine.
The longer the user goes without smoking the more the brain will become accustomed to having to work without any nicotine input. Then the ex-user may be able to deal with stressful situations, temptation and even drinking alcohol without reaching for a tobacco fix.
The irrational thoughts caused by alcohol leads
the ex-smoker into believing they can just smoke one or two cigarettes and no more. Alcohol and certain drugs reduce the conscious mind's resolve and the drinker forgets that which they were determined to do when sober and does not remember the consequences until the intoxication of the brain subsides.
This then leads to a feeling of failure which causes too much stress for the smoker that is desperately longing for the nicotine 'fix' and many go right back to smoking even more than they did before they stopped. They even convince themselves they really enjoy smoking and this eliminates the worthless feeling they had for being unable to stop. They also convince themselves they can give it up anytime but this becomes much more difficult each time they fail.
It is for this reason that, psychologically, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and lighters and other smoking paraphernalia become a smoker's most prized possessions or 'closest friends'. They feel life is not worth living without the tools that provide such great relief and this wonderful sigh of relief from inhaling nicotine is mistaken for pleasure. Relief even extends to finding these 'tools' when they are lost or being given them as a reward after they have been taken away from the smoker. Most smoker's private nightmare is the fear of running out of their drug in the middle of the night or in a place where they cannot obtain more. Such is the hold of nicotine addiction.
NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (not really!)
The reason nicotine replacement therapy does not work, in most cases, is because the brain has not been retrained to work without any input of nicotine. It may help to make the regular cravings for tobacco less intense in the early stages, but the yearning is not just for nicotine but the entire smoking experience and the amount of nicotine which provides an instant 'hit' that the smoker controls when they inhale tobacco smoke. It is more the buzz of the relief of nicotine flooding the brain that smoker's are addicted to than the nicotine itself. Their mind and body becomes so accustomed to the 'hits' they are oblivious to the dangers similar to the heroin addict.
MIND SET (how do we think about it?)
The most important factor involved, when a person is trying to stop a lifetime habit, is for them to think deeply of all the reasons why stopping is vital for them personally. These reasons should be written down and kept somewhere very visible to constantly remind the person why they have stopped indulging in this habit. Some powerful reasons to stop are as follows:
1. Our kids - whether it is the smoker's own children or those of family and friends or even stranger's children, tobacco smoke is extremely harmful to their sensitive developing brains and lungs. Not only that, children copy adults and a child who sees an adult smoking is more likely to try it themselves and end up also addicted and enduring a life of torment and ill health.
Would anyone want to inflict that upon anyone?
2. Loneliness - smoking can cause isolation and affects relationships with friends and partners now that smoking has fallen 'out of fashion'. Smoker's must now retreat outside buildings to stand alone in all weathers making them look and feel even more ridiculously addicted. This, in turn, causes great mental discomfort and a feeling of low self esteem and the smoker begins to withdraw from attending places where they cannot smoke freely.
A home smelling of stale tobacco smoke is a very unpleasant environment which the smoker ignores but eventually non smoking friends visit less and less.
3. Respect for Others - Inflicting the smell of stale tobacco and throwing cigarette butts on the pavement or out of the car window shows a distinct lack of respect for other people. People are just too polite to point this out to a smoker or do not want the confrontation and will drift away instead.
So the smoker becomes oblivious to their affect on others and behaves in a self righteous way convincing themselves their habit is not adversely affecting anyone.
4. Self Esteem - the smoker becomes selfish and pretends to ignore what their habit is doing to their friends or family who care for them. Deep down, however, they are perfectly aware of their self centred addiction. Smoking simply takes over their life and is put first before many other important considerations and commitments. This then leads to a further lack of self esteem and secret misery which the smoker becomes adept at hiding.
Regaining ones self esteem and self respect and ending the constant secret misery should be a strong incentive.
5. Health - (your body has rights on you and Allah will ask you about how your treated your body) - The affect on health is so subtle and gradual and can mimic the effects of aging and other conditions so the smoker ignores it and convinces themselves that it is not the smoking that is causing the ill health. Even when the illnesses being suffered are directly caused by smoking, still the smoker will ignore the truth so that they do not have to suffer the pain of withdrawals from nicotine and the many other chemicals in tobacco smoke. For many, the withdrawal of nicotine is more painful, because it affects the mind, than the actual illness itself which is something doctors should be more aware of.
When a smoker becomes ill, the nicotine 'fix' becomes a comforter.
6. Self Control - (Fasting definitely could help - Allah could put the cure in fasting) - The brain is a clever manipulator of the mind and if the host has indulged in powerful chemicals, initially for self gratification or for feelings of being 'grown up' or 'part of the crowd', as is often the case for first time smokers, the subconscious side of the brain will take over and make sure this practise continues. Exposure to any chemicals will alter the brains wiring and the more the chemical is present in the blood and brain the stronger the need for them becomes. To consciously ignore the psychological influence is very difficult and made more so by outside influences such as peer pressure, reduced resolve from alcohol and other drugs, stressful situations, anxiety and depression. Smoker's convince themselves that they are smoking because they want to and not because an inner voice in their brain is commanding them to provide the next nicotine 'fix'.
Positive thinking and constantly saying out loud 'I do not need to smoke' can help some get over the initial strong cravings.
7. Energy - the metabolism of the smoker reduces over time. As it slows down the ability to keep up with others is reduced. This then puts limits on the quality of life whether it be sharing in physical activities with friends or children or taking part in sports events or dancing. This should be an incentive for those that like socialising or want to be able to provide good parenting.
8. Time - (we all know Allah will ask us about the time we waste) - The amount of time a smoker wastes by stopping what they are doing for their 'fix' will become apparent when they stop smoking. They will suddenly accomplish everything faster and have the energy to do so.
Having more precious time can be a strong incentive.
9. Money - as tobacco prices increase it becomes more difficult to afford to smoke and some even fall into debt due to their habit. An average 20 a day ex-smoker can save around $12 per day which adds up to $85 per week - $335 a month - $4,000 a year.
Money can be a good incentive for some.
10. Quality and Length of Life - (no doubt this is going to be a serious issue on Yamul Qiyama) - Smokers have a greatly reduced quality of life health wise, physically, financially and socially. Smoking causes early aging and menopause, receding gums, tooth decay, halitosis, thin skin and wrinkles, thinning hair and hair loss, breathing difficulties, reduction of physical abilities, weight gain which lead to illnesses and conditions which can cause an early death.
Cancer is the most prevalent, debilitating, painful and fatal outcome of smoking.
With all these points taken into consideration, if a long term smoker can still carry on with their deadly habit, it should be obvious how dangerous a poisonous drug tobacco really is, especially for children.