Protecting Your Recovery: Cigarettes, Relapse, and Zombies


Maintaining a program of addiction recovery is not an easy task, to be sure; one’s disease is always looking for an opportunity to resume control. Relapse prevention is the watchword of the addiction treatment industry; committed to helping people achieve lasting recovery. There are things that people can do to mitigate the risk of relapse, such as staying away from dangerous environments and practicing the principles of recovery in all one’s affairs. However, there is one suggestion that many recovering addicts and alcoholics either question or choose to ignore; the recommendation to quit smoking or using tobacco products at the onset of recovery.

You only have to attend a few recovery-related meetings to realize that a lot of individuals hold on to the habit of smoking. Cigarettes are addictive to be sure, but in some cases maintaining the practice could be chalked up to being one of the last bastions of a person’s disease. Such people know that their cigarettes despite gilded packaging, are in fact trying to kill them, slowly. The habit persists in spite of the warnings and a noticeable detriment to people’s health.

Whatever the reasons for continued use are, any justification for maintaining cigarette use is not backed by reason. What’s more, studies indicate that tobacco use leads to an elevated risk of relapse. Maybe the health risks don’t concern you, but returning to the depths of despair hopefully will lead to a course correction. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got 30 days sober or 30 years, you don’t want your hard work to go up in smoke.


Promoting Health Paradoxically

Some of you may remember when CVS Pharmacy put the kibosh on selling tobacco products. While they cited promoting healthy behaviors as a driving force in the decision to can cigarettes and their ilk, there were financial incentives for making the switch. After all, if health were the motivating factor CVS would have quit selling alcohol too, they did not. Nevertheless, ceasing tobacco sales was a healthy move, and maybe one day only a few places in the country will sell cancer sticks.

CVS’s decision to go smoke-free wasn’t echoed by other major pharmacies, leading anti-smoking advocates to push the issue. If you were in Washington D.C. filling a prescription at Walgreens flagship store a couple of days ago, you probably thought you were on the set of “The Walking Dead.” However, the humans wearing zombie garb were not trying to eat the pharmacy’s clientele, instead they were hoping to encourage the chain to stop selling cigarettes, The Huffington Post reports. Protesters are at odds with a company promoting health while simultaneously peddling death. Remember, cigarettes are still one the nation’s leading causes of preventable death.

“Simply put, tobacco and pharmacies don’t mix,” said Robin Koval, CEO, and President of Truth Initiative. “Our zombie protest underscores that while Walgreens continues to drag its feet on removing tobacco products from its shelves, more people are getting sick and dying from tobacco-related diseases.”

Walgreens company leaders will meet in Arizona for its shareholder meeting next week; you can bet cigarettes will be a topic of serious discussion.


Protect Your Recovery

Those of you in recovery still smoking are strongly encouraged to seek assistance in the name of your program. Please talk to your doctor or pharmacists about smoking cessation products and their efficacy. Research shows the using patches or drugs like Chantix have the most significant success when used in conjunction with behavioral therapies.

If quitting proves too challenging to manage on your own, Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat can assist you in your effort to manifest the dream of lasting recovery.