Why it is Difficult to Quit Smoking? There is a strong physical addiction to the nicotine and also a significant psychological addiction to the activities associated with smoking.
One of the most popular resolutions is the promise to stop smoking. However, it is also the resolution that usually doesn’t last past January.
Tobacco, with its drug nicotine, is probably the most widely abused chemical substance in the world. It is one of the most difficult addictions to conquer. It is difficult to conquer because there is not only a strong physical addiction to the nicotine which basically touches every part of the body but there is a significant psychological addiction to the activities associated with smoking. I have had some patients who struggled more with the psychological addiction than the physical, but both can be a formable foe. Tobacco is dangerous and deadly and needs to be taken seriously.
Cigarettes are designed to addict. But why it is difficult to quit smoking? They are chemically engineered to deliver nicotine to your brain. Along with the nicotine, there are numerous other dangerous substances in cigarette smoke that cause devastating health issues. Some of these substances are acetone, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde. These chemicals are added to the tobacco which makes the cigarette even more deadly. These added chemicals are given the general name “tar” and include everything in a cigarette but nicotine and water. The cigarette is manufactured with a deadly delivery system, designed to efficiently send high doses of nicotine to the brain. As you inhale the cigarette smoke, the tar infiltrates your lungs, and the nicotine “rides the tar” into the bloodstream. As the cigarette smoke is inhaled there are over four thousand compounds present in that smoke to make that “rush” of nicotine faster and more enjoyable. Out of the over four thousand compounds present in cigarette smoke, at least sixty of them are known to be carcinogens (cancer-forming chemicals). Nicotine along with these added chemicals is one reason why it is hard to quit smoking
Tobacco is quite insidious with its consequences. Unlike cocaine, heroin, or other dangerous drugs, tobacco’s nicotine and poison can go undetected for many years. Tobacco can gradually create an addiction to nicotine and gradually kill. Tobacco is legal and accessible, but it is one of the leading causes of death throughout the world, causing almost half a million deaths in the United States annually.
As people smoke cigarettes they are not only exposing themselves to the dangers of tobacco but also their loved ones and friends they smoke around. Second-hand smoke was once considered harmless but we now know better. Second-hand smoke is poisonous and it kills. It is estimated that exposure to second-hand smoke causes an estimated three thousand lung cancer deaths each year among non-smoking American adults.
Nicotine withdrawal is a very unpleasant process to go through. For you see, when you take nicotine away, your body craves it and makes you feel like you need more nicotine or you will die or get sick. Your body will rebel with all kinds of symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, depression, fatigue, hunger, trouble sleeping, thirst, decreased attention span, agitation, irritability, anger, and frustration amongst many others. The above symptoms can occur in just a few short hours after your last cigarette. They will be at their worst two to three days later and can last for weeks. Another reason why it is difficult to quit smoking is not only the physical withdrawal from nicotine that a smoker goes through but also the emotional and mental withdrawal. In quitting tobacco, there are physiological and emotional changes that occur. For you see, smokers just don’t depend on nicotine physically. They depend on it behaviorally and psychologically. Smoking is what they do when they get together with friends. And, in fact, it is a major means by which they blow off steam when they are feeling tense. It is what they do while drinking their morning coffee or relaxing after dinner. That is why breaking the bondage of nicotine addiction can be difficult and, in fact, be harder to quit in some instances than heroin or cocaine. A patient of mine that was involved in polysubstance abuse (including tobacco) stated to me, “It (tobacco) was the hardest to quit, and it was the last to leave.” He went on to say, “The thoughts of tobacco use still haunt me.” But, breaking the bondage to your nicotine addiction is of vital importance for you and those around you. Breaking this bondage is well worth the effort.
So, we see the significance of breaking the bondage to nicotine/tobacco addiction. It is so important from the physical side as well as the mental side, but also, and even more importantly, from the spiritual side. We know why it is difficult to quit smoking so here are some tips to get you through.
Friend, regardless of where you may be in your struggle with nicotine addiction, the good news is that there is life after cigarettes. Please trade in your cigarettes for Christ Jesus and your nicotine for the name above all names – Jesus. Let Him, the Truth, make you free…finally! Let your resolutions for 2020 bring glory to God! I Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which is God’s.”
More About Dr. George Crabb
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. Marijuana’s use and effect on our society are enormous. Many states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a few have legalized its use for recreation. This has created a dilemma for many people in what to do regarding marijuana. Should we as Christians be in favor of medical marijuana in its crude form, and should we be in favor of recreational marijuana?
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, which contains the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as other related compounds. Marijuana plants have hundreds of chemicals known as cannabinoids. The two main chemicals are THC and CBD. This plant material also can be concentrated in a resin called hashish or a sticky black liquid called hash oil.
THC gives some of the pleasurable effects, but many today say it may also have some medicinal use.
CBD doesn’t give pleasurable effects, but again there is the question if it has any medicinal benefit.
Marijuana, in its crude form, is usually smoked. When an individual smokes marijuana, the effect is almost immediate. Eating marijuana takes about one hour before the effect is felt. When THC is smoked, it first enters the lungs, and then it quickly enters the bloodstream into the brain, where it causes the increase of the concentration of one of the brain’s neurotransmitters called dopamine. The elevated concentration of dopamine results in the pleasurable feelings or the “high” people report from using marijuana.
THC acts on specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC that naturally occur in the body (such as anandamide) and are a part of a neural communication network called the endocannabinoid system. This system plays an important role in normal brain development and function.
The following list describes the main reasons to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes:
1. It will ease the pain.
2. It will decrease nausea.
3. It will increase appetite for those with diseases that cause anorexia. (HIV) (Rx Marinol or Dronabinol already available)
4. It may decrease seizure activity. (Rx Epidolex pending approval)
5. It may decrease some symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
6. Sativex, an oral mouth spray developed from a blend of two marijuana extracts (one strain high in THC and the other in CBD, which counteracts THC’s psychoactive effect), has already been approved in dozens of countries and is in late stages of approval in the United States.
The state of California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and now about 50% of states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
When most people think of medical marijuana these days, they don’t think of a pill with an isolated component of marijuana, but rather the smoked, vaporized or edible version of the whole marijuana plant
Although there may be some medical benefits with the use of crude marijuana, the side effect profile of crude marijuana is huge, with many of the side effects carrying great debility.
The following is a list of the side effect profile of using marijuana:
1. It decreases short-term memory. This was found on a study that looked at the effect of marijuana on two parts of the brain: nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdale. People that use marijuana have been found to have abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything we do. It will affect our memory, our judgments, our decision-making process, how we plan things, and it disrupts our mathematical skills.
2. It can lead to hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
3. It can decrease our motivation called amotivation syndrome. This is where an individual is less orientated toward their goals and purposes in life, as well as seems less focused in general.
4. It can lead to anxiety and depression.
5. There is an associated increase in mental illness with those that use marijuana.
6. It can hurt the child within the womb.
7. It can increase suicidal thoughts.
8. Lung damage can occur with the smoking of marijuana. Smoking marijuana is bad for the lungs, heart and blood vessels.
9. Driving while high on marijuana doubles or triples the risk of a car crash. Driving high on marijuana and alcohol is more harmful than driving on either alone.
Rather than isolate active ingredients in the marijuana plant – as we do with the opium plant when we create morphine, for example – many legalization proponents advocate vehemently for smoked (or vaporized) marijuana to be used as medicine. But the science on smoking any drug is clear: smoking – especially highly-potent whole marijuana – is not a proper delivery method, nor do other delivery methods ensure a reliable dose. And while parts of the marijuana plant have medical value, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said in its landmark 1999 report: “Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs…smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances…and should not be generally recommended…”
A more recent IOM report from 2017 concluded that there was insufficient evidence for marijuana as a medicine as it pertained to dementia, glaucoma, chronic pain-associated depression, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, and chorea. There was evidence of derivatives of marijuana to be used for nausea, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, but the IOM did not recommend smoking marijuana for these conditions.
It is the conclusion of almost every review of the science that smoked, crude marijuana is not a medicine, even though its isolated components have shown promise medically. Smoking is not a proper delivery method, and it delivers harmful substances to the body.
Science has proven – and all major scientific and medical organizations agree – that marijuana is both addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used as an adolescent. One in every six 16-year-olds (and one in every 11 adults) who tries marijuana will become addicted to it. More young people are in treatment for marijuana abuse or dependence than for the use of alcohol and all other drugs. States with medical marijuana laws also show much higher than average marijuana use by adolescents, and lower perceptions of risk from use, than non-medical marijuana states.
Marijuana may contain medical components like opium does. But we don’t smoke opium to get the effects of morphine. We don’t need to smoke marijuana to get its potential medical benefit.
It is not hard to see the tremendous negative health consequences associated with crude marijuana use versus the possible benefit it may have.
American Cancer Society (ACS) – “The ACS is supportive of more research into the benefits of cannabinoids. Better and more effective treatments are needed to overcome the side effects of cancer and its treatment. The ACS does not advocate the use of inhaled marijuana or the legalization of marijuana.
American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) – “ASAM asserts that cannabis, cannabis-based products, and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards that are applicable to other prescription medications and medical devices, and that these products should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients unless and until such products or devices have received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration. ASAM rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery since it is not safe. ASAM rejects a process whereby state and local ballot initiatives or legislative efforts approve medicines because these initiatives are being decided by individuals not qualified to make such decisions.”
There are an estimated 115 deaths per day associated with opiate use. That equals 16,000 deaths per year from prescription opiate use alone.
Most people who misused opiates used marijuana first. People that use marijuana are two times more likely to abuse prescription opiates.
Marijuana use, even among adults with moderate to severe pain, was associated with a substantially increased risk of nonmedical prescription opiate use according to The American Journal of Psychiatry 2017.
Medical marijuana should only be about bringing relief to the sick and dying, and it should be done in a responsible manner that formulates the active components of the drug in a non-smoked form that delivers a defined dose. However, in most states with medical marijuana laws, it has primarily become a license for the state-sanctioned use of a drug by most anyone who desires it.
Developing marijuana-based medications through the FDA process is more likely to ensure that seriously ill patients, who are being supervised by their actual treating physicians, have access to safe and reliable products.
The Bible tells us in Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men…” Can we honestly say in our soul and spirit that we are doing good to others by allowing them to partake of crude marijuana that can literally destroy them spiritually, soulically and physically?
The Bible gives us a principle to live by that we are not to be “drunk with wine, wherein is excess…” Ephesians 5:18. I believe this same principle can be said for crude marijuana use. It is a mind and mood-altering drug.
Let all of us strive to have the Spirit control us and that no other person or substance take the place of the Spirit of God in our lives.
1. Marijuana should never be smoked.
2. Marijuana should never be used recreationally.
3. Medical marijuana should never be the crude marijuana but the individual components of the marijuana plant that have been isolated, tested and approved by the medical community and used under the supervision of a physician.
4. Marijuana should never be used by an individual with a history of addiction.
Self-Medication: Many of us are busy caring for others in the different ministries God has given us. (And the testimonies of transformed lives we read on here are spectacular!) We expend an enormous amount of energy and time helping others with the difficulties in their lives. However, we tend not to take good care of ourselves. It is not God’s will for us to neglect ourselves whether it is spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Taking appropriate care of you is not selfish; it is self-protective. A healthy you is more beneficial to the people you are ministering too compared to a weak, sickly you.
Many times I have asked other Christians how they’re doing personally and they admit they don’t take great care of themselves. And when you don’t take great care of yourself, guess what you end up doing in almost every case? You end up self-medicating. Every individual has a choice between taking care of themselves or self-medicating, and many choose the “polite” version of self-medication.
What is self-medication? Self-medication is what people do to cope with the stress, anxiety, and difficulty in life apart from leaning on the truths found in the Word of God. When stress and life overwhelm you, you will either choose to respond to it in a healthy, godly manner by turning to the Lord or an unhealthy way called self-medication. When you think of self-medication, don’t just think of pills or alcohol. As I will detail below, there are some very “socially acceptable” ways even for Christians to self-medicate. The choice is yours, but the first reality is this: choosing to take care of yourself is so much healthier than self-medication. The second reality is just as important: if you don’t intentionally choose to take care of yourself as an individual, you will end up self-medicating in some manner.
Working too many hours is socially acceptable, even rewarding in some circles. It is somewhat ironic, but the way some individuals cope with the stress associated with work and/or ministry is by working more. Working more for some people numbs the pain albeit temporarily. Instead of working more, we need to make our time at work more effective and productive.
Food can be the “drug” of choice for many people. Food can bring a person comfort after having a day filled with anxiety and stress. Food doesn’t argue or talk back. It just sits there looking good and tasting even better. Many Christians have found their solace in food and have suffered the physical and even emotional consequences. Food is obviously necessary, but in the right amount at the right times. May we always find our comfort in our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
This is a general statement, but I believe for the most part it is true – “When we feel bad about ourselves, we tend to say bad things about other people.” Gossiping takes the focus off of our troubles and pain and puts the focus on others and their difficulties. Often when an individual has not taken proper care of themselves, they end up with enough toxin inside that they want to take down others. They find themselves talking about someone else and their terrible misfortunes instead of helping them. We are better able to help others when we are healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Whether it is shopping in a mall or online or getting involved with the constant climb into a bigger house, a better car, the latest tech or the latest trend, Christians can easily numb their pain endlessly accumulating things that end up in a landfill site one day. One of the consequences associated with this behavior is debt, which can be crippling.
You may not develop a heroin addiction (although it can happen), but most of the time it is more subtle than that. Whether it is a hidden drink of alcohol every evening to decompress after a busy day or an overuse or misuse of your legitimate prescription, Christians can fall into the classic pattern of turning to a substance rather than turning to God for relief. Please remember that the alcoholic started down that road with one drink and the addict started down their road with one pill or with one hit.
Time with God matters! Your personal walk with God is often a casualty of self-medication. Spend time every day with God by reading His Word, praying, meditating on the things of God and memorizing Scripture. Have a God consciousness throughout your entire day.
It is wise to keep our physical body in good shape. Our poor physical condition can adversely affect us emotionally and even spiritually. As God gives you His mercy and grace try to exercise several times a week, which simply can be walking for 20-30 minutes at a time.
Another general statement with a lot of truth – “You are what you eat.” As God gives you knowledge put healthy food into your body. The benefits can be enormous.
You need 7-8 hours a night or at least on a semi-regular basis. I believe that appropriate sleep is one of the most underrated secret weapons there is.
Regularly schedule time off and downtime in the same way you schedule meetings. You just have to do it! Time management is very important. If you do not schedule your time, someone else will.
Ministering to others can be draining. You need to have fellowship with godly friends you don’t necessarily need to minister to at that given time. Regular doses of life-giving relationships can make a huge difference. Spend some time with your friends and have a good dose of laughter.
Spend regularly scheduled, uninterrupted time with your family. Regularly go out on a date with your spouse. Your family is one of the most precious gifts God has given to you. Invest heavily in your family.
Godly counselors can help you get through many road bumps and life issues. This can be looked at as an investment in yourself and even in your family and ministry. I can inform you that I am different and better because I frequently seek out godly counsel.
I believe that at the end of our lives, we will be so much better for taking care of ourselves rather than taking the path of self-medication.
Learn more about the Faith-Based Recovery approach to addiction recovery. Click Here!
Looking for a Residential Program? Click Here!
Struggling with that New Years Resolution Yet?
Christians often find themselves so busy in their daily affairs that they forget that all things are become new (II Cor. 5:17). Today – right NOW – and from now on all things in the believer’s life should originate from God. There is no room left for the old man and his corruption. That is a truth that we must embrace, and look to God for grace to realize it.
The types of things that were done by a Christian before he was saved are without profit. The admonition of the Spirit to the saints at Ephesus was to avoid the manner of life of other Gentiles (i.e., the unsaved) because it is vain or empty (v. 17). When we see how this vain mind drove the unregenerate even deeper into darkness, we can see how dangerous it is for a saint to return to that way of life. The ability to really think – exercise wisdom – is diminished, and an estrangement is developed between the believer and His God (v. 18). The result of dabbling in this vain manner of life is the giving of oneself to lasciviousness, and all sorts of self-serving defilement (v. 19).
We may be tempted to say this is for the lost, but not true Christians. That is vain thinking, for the Holy Spirit continues in verses 25-29 to encourage the saints to “put on the new man, …created in righteousness and true holiness,” and “put off…the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (vv. 24, 22). The old way of life is full of lying, and we would justify ourselves. Are we still justifying lies? Ill-will, anger, and grudge bearing are of the old man. Surely all of us have put off all these things. And how is our speech now that we are saved? The old man spewed forth corrupt communications; the new man will speak that which is good in order to build up the saints.
Every believer has been regenerated (v. 20-21). Perhaps we are in need of renewal (v. 23). As we look at verses 30-32 we are given a picture of how the old man working in us affects God the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. The way of life the old nature brings forth is grievous to the Spirit (v. 30a). But if there would be some who claim that the salvation of a carnal believer is in jeopardy, God declares that each Christian is secure – even until the day the old man is eradicated (v. 30b). Now, the exhortation is to be yielded, moment by moment, to the Spirit, resisting, through the power of God, the old man, and living in righteousness and holiness.