How I Quit Smoking...
and Stayed Quit!
been ten years since I've quit smoking, yay for me! Quitting was one
of the most difficult things I've ever done. I chuckle whenever I
hear someone talking about painless methods of quitting or see books
about the easy way. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad
tidings, there is no easy way to quit smoking. You will go through
physical pain and emotional pain, not fun for sure. However you will
be doing yourself a massive favor when you finally make the decision
time, the memory of the withdrawals and head trips will fade away, I
promise. You will eventually feel better, I promise. Big promises?
Yes! Let me show you how I quit and how I have maintained my quit
for so long. If you're eating while reading this, you may want to
come back to this article when you're done, it's kind of gross.
Okay, you've been warned.
first step is deciding to quit. This phase can take some time to
figure out. When you get to the point of complete disgust of
cigarettes, you begin to think about quitting. Some things that will
get to you are the smell, the yellow fingers, the yellow teeth, the
coughing up of brown crud every morning, oral surgery, the cost of
cigarettes, ruined clothing and furniture from burns, people shunning
you. Get a pencil and piece of paper and make your own list of the
cons of smoking. In fact, get a notebook with a lot of paper, you're
going to to write down many lists using my quitting method. Keep a
journal of your experience, writing is good for the soul. If you
ever get tempted to smoke again, read your own writing and remind
yourself of how far you've come. You don't want to have to do that
all over again do you? Validate your quit.
list of the cons of smoking will be something you will look at a lot,
so take your time and put some thought into it. When you're finished
with the negative side of smoking, write down the good things about
smoking. Do cigarettes help you to not overeat? Does smoking help
you to be more sociable at a party? Does smoking somehow improve
your mood? Are cigarettes always there for you, your best friend?
These things were on my own list, smoking had a good side after all!
Well, that's what I thought at first anyway. When I was addicted to
cigarettes, I was thoroughly delusional.
years I stayed slim when I smoked, instead of eating I smoked. At
parties when others were eating, I smoked. There were always at
least a couple of smokers that I could hang out with, we were the fun
party people. Think about it this way, there were only a few
smokers and many more non-smokers. How is this being sociable? I
didn't even talk much to the main group, mostly to the smokers. So
that's a lie, I was being rather anti-social overall, game busted.
cigarettes did improve my mood, I'd get a little buzz with every
cigarette. Then I realized one day that my buzz wasn't so good
anymore. In fact, only the first three or four drags of a new
cigarette would get me that mini head rush that I liked. I got to a
point where I was craving my next cigarette before getting to the
half way point of my current cigarette! What to do? Well my
solution was to smoke three packs a day and problem solved! Did that
improve my mood? No, I was a slave to a damn plant! How can that
possibly bring happiness? It sure didn't. My smoking addiction
completely controlled me.
everyone in the world hates you, nobody understands how you feel,
cigarettes are your best friend! Really? I don't know about you,
but I wouldn't want to hang out with anybody that was trying to kill
me. Even a six year old knows that smoking is bad for you. In 1957,
surgeon general and US Public Health Service (PHS) announced that
smoking cigarettes caused lung cancer. It took until the early
1960's for the US government to put warnings on packs of cigarettes
and to begin educational programs in the public schools. In fact, I
had already been exposed to an anti-smoking campaign right before I
started smoking. Why did I start then? Curiosity, peer pressure, hanging out
with someone that smoked and had easy access to cigarettes, from her parents!
find your motivation to quit. My big moment came when my beautiful
little toddler daughter walked by me one day pretending to smoke just
like mommy! I realized then that I was teaching my baby how to kill
herself! I felt like the worst mom in the world. It finally sunk in
to my addict brain that I was her role model and she would imitate a
lot of my behavior. Oh yeah, time to quit and never look back.
Originally I quit for her sake and as the months passed, my
self-esteem increased, I realized that I wanted to quit for myself as
well. I could see that life without cigarettes would be a good
thing. Remember, you're still writing in your notebook!
decision must be made, quit cold turkey or use a warm chicken
approach with aids such as nicotine gum or patches? I didn't want my
quit to be too painful, so I bought nicotine gum. I read the
directions thoroughly and felt that with the help of the gum, I could
do this. Having the gum on hand was like hugging a big teddy bear, I
felt safe and secure.
is probably the most important list you will have for your quitting
journey. On a new sheet of paper write this at the top, “What will
I do when the urge to smoke comes?” On my list I had things like
take a hot shower since it's a good place to cry, bounce on
mini-trampoline, take a walk on the beach, watch a movie, polish
nails, crochet, clean house, meditate, pray and ask for strength, hug
baby daughter gently, scream into pillow, go bike riding, chew ice,
drink water. Be sure to update this list frequently, you will think
of a lot of things to do as time goes by. Pay attention to the
movies you look at. I watched Lord of the Rings one week into my quit
and all those little Hobbits did was smoke throughout the entire
movie, it was so painful! I can watch it now and it doesn't bother
me. My husband quit along with me and he played a lot of violent
video games and blew stuff up, that worked for him. I almost beat a video game myself, Spyro!
a list of things not to do such as mindlessly eat or yell at people.
Cigarette cravings can get so intense that it feels like an
insatiable hunger, don't feed it. I did and gained way too much
weight. I wish I'd known about that during my early quit, could have
saved my waistline. The average gain is twenty pounds, I gained almost ninety
pounds, not good. It took me a few years to get that weight off, it
was very frustrating.
now when will the quit start? Exactly how do I prepare for it? What
I did was clean my home and throw out all smoking paraphernalia such
as ashtrays, lighters, packs of cigarettes. I mean ALL the ashtrays,
even the nice crystal ones and I don't care who gave them to you, get
rid of them. Dump everything because you don't smoke anymore and
have no need for it. You're not going to let anyone smoke in your
home either, ever. Open the windows and spray the air with
disinfectant, vacuum the carpets. Wash your bed sheets, buy a new
pillow and make sure you have clean clothes that don't reek of
cigarette smoke. You may want to use a disinfectant in the wash or
at least use double soap. For drying, throw in some heavily perfumed dryer sheets as well.
that you're ready, before you go to bed, take a long, hot shower and
shampoo your hair. Get squeaky clean so you can be fresh in the
morning, smile, you're saving your life and losing a bad habit. Brush and floss your teeth,
scrub under those fingernails, use body lotion and moisturize your
face and neck. Go to bed and relax. Conjure up the most beautiful
pictures of yourself healthy and not worrying about things like
getting cancer because you smoke, eliminate all fear. When you wake
up in the morning, it'll dawn on you that your quit has already
started. You missed the first several hours, you did it, you don't
smoke! That is a huge accomplishment! Keep going, you can do this!
will clue you in on my biggest mistake that I feel only prolonged the
agony of my initial withdrawals, using nicotine gum. What it did for
me was upset my stomach to the point of wanting to vomit all the
time. I drank milk to try and calm it down, big mistake, I threw up and felt green around the gills for a long time. What's needed
is detoxification from nicotine and by chewing the gum, you are
consuming nicotine in the hopes of lessening the symptoms. In my
opinion, it added to the cravings, I now craved the darn gum.
a couple of days of feeling deathly ill, I decided to not chew the gum so I went cold turkey. Not fun at all, but I'm glad I did. My stomach
felt so much better, after all I smoked cigarettes, I didn't eat
them, so why would I put nicotine into my stomach? I clenched my
teeth and cried for a couple of days, every muscle in my body was
stiff and hurt. The first week was called Hell Week, the second week
is heck week, big improvement! With every hour and every day that
you don't smoke, it gets easier. Hang tuff!
best advice is to keep your motivation list in front of you and also
your list of coping skills, what to do when the cravings hit. When
you're in the middle of a serious craving, it's difficult to even
think straight, much less figure out how to distract yourself from
wanting to smoke. I'd also recommend staying away from smoking
buddies for awhile, mind you not forever, but just until you feel
stronger in your quit. Using alcohol during your very early quit isn't
recommended either, you can lose your resolve to keep the quit going. Cigarettes and drinks definitely go together for
many people so bars can be a slippery place.
people know ahead of time that you're quitting smoking. If you can,
take some extra time off of work. It'll make it easier on your
relationships if people close to you know why you're stressed and
please apologize in advance for your future crankiness. When you
verbally attack anyway, even though you don't want to, be quick to
say I'm sorry, then be quiet. You have to learn to let some things
go, don't fight, that will only add to your stress. You have enough
on your plate, don't go there. Realize that you are taking care of
your health and take this commitment seriously. Your life literally
depends on the decisions you make. Like I said before, even little
children know that cigarettes can and will eventually kill you.
reality of my quit was that for the first year I experienced
occasional depression and had five lung infections that required
medication. After having quit for a few months, I began to cough up
blood, that was so scary. I smoked cigarettes for a total of
twenty-eight years and my body had a lot of cleansing to do. I
coughed up pounds of brown guck, it tasted bitter like cigarettes and
it seemed to never end. I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors and went
through a few biopsies, that was incredibly stressful waiting to hear
if I had cancer or not. Fortunately my tests came back and I was
clear of cancer.
Why did I keep going even though I probably would
have felt a little better smoking a cigarette for some symptom relief? I hated smoking and
was desperate to quit so I hung in there. I also knew that
cigarettes would solve none of my problems, they would only add to my
stress. Whenever I looked at my beautiful little girl, I never
wanted to see her smoke. I had to show her a better way to live and
teach her to take excellent care of herself. She is a teenager now and doesn't smoke. I am a success!
you have success of any magnitude, don't forget to reward yourself.
My favorite rewards were things like going to the movies, buying some
new perfume or shower gel, new earrings. Sometimes though spending
money can be another addiction, so stick to your own budget. It's
typical that eliminating one addiction can awaken another. Thrift
shopping can be fun and it doesn't cost a lot. Wandering through an
art museum is inexpensive, add a picnic lunch and call it a day. Share your rewards with your family and friends, they've put up with you and deserve some fun too!
Going to places that don't allow smoking is helpful, set yourself up
for success. The best reward is the increased self-esteem you will
have, you are mentally stronger than ever before. Remember that
quitting smoking is not for sissies and you've done it! Being able
to walk without losing your breath feels so good, you'll love it!
You are free now, enjoy clean living, you deserve it!
in mind that cigarettes will never do anything positive for you, they
only make you sick and will eventually kill you. Don't romanticize smoking, it's not
cool to smoke, it's such a waste of time and money. Write a letter to
cigarettes and to what I called the Nico-demon, break up with them both, they hate you with a passion.
I belonged to an online support group and became friends with many people in the group over the years. It was always sad to hear that someone had
died, they simply didn't quit in time. With every death it
strengthened my resolve to stay quit. I have a lot to live for, life
is good. Loving life is the trick to staying quit for good.
love and many thanks goes to my good friend and quit buddy Lindsey, aka Bubba. He
helped to save me from myself with his excellent no nonsense advice and humor, may he rest in peace for eternity.