Quitting Smoking Can Help You Quit Your Alcohol Addiction


Nicotine reduction treatments have been shown to be an effective augmentation to treatment and prevention strategies for addiction. Specifically, studies have shown that smoking tends to be much higher among individuals in treatment for alcohol/drug use disorders, with smoking rates as high as 70-95%, as compared to the 23.3% rate reported for the general population.


Most of us who know addicts have seen the smoking and coffee drinking that seems to be very common with addicts in recovery. Also, there is an increased associated risk for acquiring tobacco-related illnesses because they are likely to continue smoking during and after treatment. There seems to be a synergistic effect between smoking and alcohol consumption, whereby when one substance is reduced there is a reduction in the other.


Smokers who decreased their daily cigarette consumption during and after treatment for alcoholism would be significantly less likely to relapse to alcohol use than smokers who remained constant or increased their cigarette consumption.


Data based on Project MATCH (1993), a widely cited and respected study, Project MATCH Research Group (1993) demonstrated that a reduction in smoking had a significant effect on the percentage of days of abstinence. In this study 28% of participants who decreased their cigarette consumption did not drink in the first year following treatment, as compared with 21% of those whose cigarette consumption remained constant and 20% of those who increased their cigarette consumption.


These results verified Project MATCH’s findings that smokers who decreased their daily cigarette consumption during and after treatment for alcoholism were significantly less likely to relapse to alcohol use than smokers who remained constant or increased their cigarette consumption. Further findings indicated that drinks per drinking day were a significant predictor of changes in cigarette consumption, whereby a unit’s increase in alcohol consumption resulted in an average increase of 6 cigarettes/month. These findings suggest that quitting or reducing smoking cigarettes daily during treatment might be associated with motivation toward general lifestyle change and steady or increased tobacco consumption may have no correlation and reduction in smoking can have a significant impact on the ability to decrease alcohol consumption and drug abuse.


Therefore from a metaphysical or spiritual prospective, it would appear that when an addicted person truly is motivated to stop an addiction, other addictions tend to be involved as one changes the way they think about themselves and their addictions. People who are addicted to one substance and wish to stop therefore would benefit from a more global assessment that we are what we think we are and when we stop thinking of ourselves as addicts and start to take on greater responsibility for our thoughts and feelings; we start to take greater control over all our addictive behaviors. Therefore a sign of true spiritual change in a metaphysical treatment plan would include a global realization of the futility of addictions and not just be confined to stopping one addiction.


Regardless of the direction of the association between cigarette and alcohol consumption, reductions in one substance may result in decreased use of the other because of the synergistic effect of the two. Both animal and human studies suggest that common genes may influence the prevalence of cross-addictions between alcohol and tobacco.


While metaphysical therapies generally do not consider the genetic components of addiction, I feel that it is important to understand these issues as a spiritual counselor. While it is true that if you say “Move mountain and it shall move”, how many of us can never have that spiritual faith to actually do this and how many of us can truly be able to change our genetic makeup and predilection towards cross-addictions if such genetic factors can be found. These findings suggest that an alternative treatment and prevention augmentation of a reduction in cigarette consumption are associated with better drinking outcomes and that tobacco treatment may actually be a worthwhile addiction to substance abuse treatment programs.


Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net


Dr. Lewis Jordan has over 20 years experience in psychotherapy, counseling, education and public speaking. Dr. Lewis Jordan’s Psychotherapy ServicesFlorida therapy offices for Therapy & Neurofeedback Services are located in various locations throughout South Florida as well as offices in New York City and South Carolina.  Please click here for Dr. Lewis Jordan’s current Educational Videos

Please visit this site regularly http://www.JordanTherapy.com and http://www.LewisJamesJordan.com for more information and updates.  

Blessings to you.

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