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Serenity Unveiled

Smoking & Addiction

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What about smoking?

 Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society. It is responsible for about 419,000 US deaths each year. Smoking accounts for 1/3 of cancer deaths. It is a major cause of heart disease and cancers of the lungs, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, uterus, cervix, kidney, and bladder. The average smoker shortens his life by fifteen years!

Nicotine and Addiction to Other Drugs & Alcohol

In 1988 the US Surgeon General reported that nicotine is just as addictive as heroin and cocaine. A "hit" of nicotine reaches the brain in seven seconds, twice as fast as a syringe of heroin injected into the vein. Recent studies have shown an irrefutable link between smoking cessation and success in drug treatment. Some have indicated that alcoholics and drug addicts who also stop smoking are up to eight times more likely to remain clean and sober! For this reason, practically all major hospital-based treatment facilities are now "smoke free".

There is an important spiritual principle in all of this. Paul says, "I will not be mastered by anything" (1 Cor. 6:12). Having one habit that maintains "mastery" over me means I don't have complete victory in my life. This is a foothold in my life for "the enemy" that makes me more susceptible to other forms of temptation -- like using alcohol and drugs again!

Practical Ideas for Residential Programs

  1. Make your building a "smoke free zone" - Every year thousands of nonsmokers die from inhaling "passive smoke". So, setting up a special smoking area either in the building or outside will avoid risking the health of mission workers, visitors, and clients. 

  2. Let the staff show the way - Mission employees must be good examples by not smoking themselves. For those who do smoke, it might appropriate to pay for whatever help they might need to stop. Dividends of a "smoke free" staff include a lower rate of absenteeism and lower health-related insurance expenditures. 

  3. Make smoking cessation a definite component of your long-term program - Stopping smoking should not be a requirement for entrance into a mission recovery program. It may be appropriate, though, as a prerequisite for graduation or for moving into a latter phase of the program. Just like other addictions, smokers need special support from classes, support groups, counseling, and other activities. A number of recovering addicts have actually told me that quitting alcohol and drugs was easy compared to quitting cigarettes. There are many good resources available including smoking cessation classes in the community, literature, and videos from a variety of health organizations. It many be possible to arrange for someone from one of them to do regular presentations on the topic for your residents. 

  4. Recognize the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal - Physiological symptoms include: decreased heart rate, increased blood pressure and brain wave changes. Those who quit smoking often experience impaired physical coordination and a decreased ability to concentrate. Severe cravings for tobacco, sleep disturbances, irritability, anxiety and gastrointestinal disturbances also may occur. So, they need a lot of support and encouragement as they work through all this.  

  5. Make sure residents are stable in sobriety before trying to quit smoking - A  long-term residential program is a special supportive environment. This makes it a great place to tackle nicotine addiction. Still, newly sober people should be reasonably stable in recovery before attempting to quit smoking. For some, trying to quit too soon can be stressful enough to cause relapse. So, I recommend at least six months to a year before attempting it. 

Organizations Help People Who Want to Quit Smoking

American Cancer Society - 1-800-ACS-2345

American Heart Association - 214-750-5300

American Lung Association - 212-315-8700

National Cancer Institute - 1-800-4-CANCER

Office on Smoking and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - 404-488-5705

Local chapters and affiliates of these groups as well local hospitals are a potential sources of free literature and other educational resources and can point you to smoking cessation classes in your area.

Most statistical information for this article was taken from Smoking or Health - It's Your Choice by Cathy Becker Popescu and J. M. Carey ( American Council on Science and Health, New York, NY 1992)

NOTE: If you have found approaches that have been especially successful, we want to hear about them! Please Contact us.

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Serenity Prayer:
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Serenity Prayer  /\
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St. Francis Prayer:
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St. Francis Prayer /\
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Hope you like these common "Prayers," I know they have made huge changes in my life as helped me to keep God focused. This site, These are just sections from papers over the years, I have been doing this since 1985 when I was the Spiritual Advisor for a center and the development director for another over the years. I learned that recovery can take on a great number of faces for different people. Although, one thing I have always believed is Faith Based Recovery has an indwelling success rate unlike any other form. However, I talk to people all over the world and meet people who's belief system in not as mine, we do not judge people, we do not categorize people in little groups, what is important is your recovery regardless of your sex, religion, or national origin. Sure it would be nice to know that everyone was in a personal relationship with The God our Savior Creator and Salvation, this site is meant to help you establish, (If you have not done so already), and or keep a strong recovery life daily. A tool. I have been greatly blessed, in that, God has opened doors in other countries around the world for us. Many of you know already, for those that do not, I have a disc & Nerve disease, it is real hard for me just to be able to do what normal people do everyday, I say this to say that, it may take me some time but I usually get around to getting things done. I do write for more than one on-line site, if you don't see activity here does not mean that I will not get around to posting papers, there are time when I get stuck in bed for periods.
This site is meant for you... You matter, don't let anyone ever lead you to believe differently. God made you unlike anyone else, even though we kind-of look similar to others, there are very many great things about us God made just for us / in us.. Remember that! And Live accordingly. :) :)