written near the end of my second month of freedom from smoking and originally posted on january 14, 2002, this rant is directed at anyone who relapses and then comes up with some lame excuse as to why, instead of accepting responsibility for their own deliberate conscious choice to start smoking again.

on relapsing

2009 January 27

if you spend any time reading messages on the various quit smoking support sites, you're going to see posts titled, "slipped", "blew it", "lost my quit", etc., etc., etc...

the real reason why 100% of the people who went back to smoking relapsed is they chose to smoke.


if you read those posts, you'll find a whole host of reasons - i mean excuses - for the relapse: "i was under a lot of pressure", "my (husband, wife, kid, parent, boss, coworker, etc.) did something that upset me", "i just couldn't handle the pain of withdrawal", blah, blah, blah, etc, etc., etc... yadda, yadda, yadda...


these people relapsed for one reason and one reason only: they chose to smoke. anything else you read is an excuse. nonsense. pure, unadulterated b.s.

they might as well come on here and title their posts "my dog ate it". it would be just as valid as any of the lame-ass excuses they give.

if you're going to relapse, at least be honest with yourself. it doesn't really matter if you're honest with us or not; we've seen all the excuses there are. chances are you're not inventive enough to come up with one that's truly idiotic enough to give us all a good laugh. and, as i said, it doesn't really matter to us.

but it matters to you.

if you can't face the fact that you made a stupid choice and delivered yourself back into bondage to your addiction, if you can't be honest enough with yourself to stop trying to place the blame on someone or something somewhere outside of yourself, you'll just continue to shoot yourself in the foot.

i relapsed multiple times before this quit. and every single time, it was because i chose to smoke. period. if there are any recently relapsed addicts out there that would like to respond to this and refute it, please be my guest; i'm sure we'll all find it enlightening.

chances are you won't. because, deep down, you know that your excuses are nothing more than that; excuses. take any one of them, and add the phrase "so i chose to smoke" and you'll be a lot closer to recovery:

"i was under a lot of pressure, so i chose to smoke", "my (husband, wife, kid, parent, boss, coworker, etc.) did something to upset me, so i chose to smoke", "i couldn't handle the pain of withdrawal, so i chose to smoke", etc.

be aware that the real reason (not excuse) why 100% of the people who went back to smoking relapsed is that they chose to smoke.


how can you avoid relapsing? choose not to smoke. there are plenty of good programs out there that can help you figure out how to quit smoking, but the choice of whether to smoke again or not is always yours.

and today, you can choose life.

kevin - day 55

13 responses leave one →
  1. 2003 February 16
    Jennifer Cady permalink

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!!!
    I am avoiding reading any of the posts about slips because I am using my AA program with my addiction to nicotine too. In meetings, I share lately about wanting to pick up (I don't have to specify which drug but in an AA meeting if I were to say nicotine, I would get a BUNCH of shit)and like you said, if we pick up/light up, IT IS A CHOICE, A CONSCIOUS PLANNED CHOICE!!!
    There are no slips.

  2. 2003 February 21
    rose permalink

    I now realized that every time I have quit before, I chose to resume this habit. No one "made me do it". I chose to do it. No one forced a smoke into my mouth, I willingly and knowingly lit it. For the past 3 months I have chosen not to smoke. I know all of my favorite excuses and have really disarmed them. I continue to chose not to smoke but for the rest of my life, it is a choice that I will have to consciously make every day.

  3. 2004 June 8
    Margaret permalink


    Thank you! I feel like a great burden was lifted from my shoulders. This makes so much sense. Perhaps we should remember that when we are speaking about the "will" power to quit(usually we are speaking about our LACK of will power), that if we just do nothing we ARE quit. It takes an act of "will" to pick up a ciagette and smoke it.

  4. 2004 July 25
    fantashia permalink

    This is the first time I chose to quit smoking. I have now been quit for 137 days!!! I never thought I would make it this far and every so often the "nicotine demon" cries out to me to pick up just one cigarette and smoke it. Well, I have found out that I am way stronger than the "nicotine demon" and I will continue to CHOOSE not to smoke. Every day you make choices. Today and everyday I will choose to stay smoke free.

  5. 2004 November 30
    Mindy permalink

    Kevin, This is the first time I've read this and I want to say THANK YOU!!! This is all sooooooooo true and everyone should read this. Relapse is Relapse, plain and simple.

  6. 2005 May 18
    keera huiting permalink

    i was riding in the car today thinking i could just stop and buy a pack of cigarettes and thought it been 3 months going into the fourth why would i want to go through that again. the others that quit with me are all smoking again with their EXCUSES!!!! so that is what had me thinking but im glad i found your site could read about others too needed somewhere to go. thank you

  7. 2006 August 29
    marie permalink

    I don't think stress or emotional upheaval is the issue with me as much as the deep down in my lungs longing/craving to smoke/taste a cigarette. So much of the addiction is in the mind. Today I was driving and I smelled smoke. The driver in the vehicle in front of me was smoking. I thought, this has to be exaust fumes but it was definately cigarette smoke...all in my mind, and did it ever taste good!!!!

  8. 2007 January 10
    Colleen permalink

    Nicely put as usual Kevin. Oh how right you are. Its not stress. Who goes looking for stress? Unless its stress we're using for an excuse to smoke. Yea I think thats it. Looking for an excuse. I know thats what I came up with all the times before when I start again. Not this time/ Your right I have a choice. Life's a good one.
    still on day 60. Looking forward to tomarrow.

  9. 2009 January 27

    note: the comments above were left on the original tale at the date and time indicated.

  10. 2009 September 3
    Cheryl permalink

    ok, you are all right! I CHOSE to smoke a couple of cigarettes last nite and even though it tasted good the thoughts of lying in that hospital bed with tubes and IV's sticking in me and being in pain all the time SCARED ME STAIGHT! There ain't no way in this world I want to back through that Hell again, not when I have an excellent chance of breaking away and staying away. So the next time I think I want to CHOSE to smoke a cigarette Im gonna think of all that coughing, all that pain, all that money for Dr.s, hospitals, and medicine and being a prisoner to those dasterdly things and then CHOSE NOT TO SMOKE!
    Thanks everyone

  11. 2010 January 13
    Matt permalink

    thank you Kevin. This post helped me get my strength back. I haven't relapsed but some pretty silly excuses were flowing through... 'ya know your still young, you could quit ' 'oh you could only have a couple puffs for old times sake.' I'm strong and kicking those thoughts out.

    day 24

  12. 2011 February 18
    Pauline MacNeil permalink

    This has been so valid and true for me today...reading this in now 2011
    I found myself behind a nice looking woman who purchased smokes today at the store. I started thinking "well she smokes and she looks nice and healthy so what's so bad about it? I also spoke with the beautician at our local drug store and she mentioned she quit two years ago and I started thinking.."well she's older than me so I could smoke just one or two, once in awhile, for a year or two and then quit".
    Crazy rationalizations and excuses.
    I will stay strong. I will choose not to smoke.

  13. 2014 November 17
    Irma Ferran permalink

    As much as it is tempting to smoke just the one if I think about how bad and guilty and disappointed I would feel, I hope I never smoke again.

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