I’ve quit cigarettes several times now over the past 10 years, and feel I’ve got it nailed this time, and so I wanted to share the experience I’ve gained as nicotine addiction really is the pits.
It is quite common for some to go through a period of cyclical quitting and relapse.
Nicotine can be a really insidious thing, and the grasp can run deep.
The first premise is quite simple, in fact the whole thing can be boiled down to a two step process;
1. Make the choice as to whether you want to smoke or not, and none of that junkie thinking justifying the occasional ‘enjoyable’ cig. Youre an addict – you shouldn’t play with it.
2. If deciding to be a non smoker do it and Be Happy. Rejoice at your new found freedom.
This sounds idiotically simple but is CRUCIAL.
The reason number 2 is so important is that the reason most folks fail is; they quit, feel miserable (understandable at first with nicotine withdrawal), but they continue by default, or a newly established habit, to feel miserable. They literally forget to be happy again, resulting in inevitable relapse sooner or later. You cant go on indefinably feeling sad at the ‘loss’.
You MUST make a conscious effort to rejoice and be happy about the change. Why wouldn’t you?, after-all you just made a huge positive change.
I recommend giving Allen Carr’s ‘The Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ book or audio a good go. What I’ve just explained is basically the thrust of the book.
It kinda ‘brainwashes’ you in the other direction of cigs, which at the end of the day, is most of the dependency – brainwashing into thinking you need cigs. You don’t.
Another thing that works for me is to smoke a little weed throughout the first few days. (Green only of course. I don’t know about other’s, but I’ve always smoked it mixed with tobacco. Kinda gross when I think about it, almost like pissing in good scotch, but that’s how I learnt and got into the habit of smoking weed). So for the first few days, I don’t mind confessing that I start in the morning, as being a little stoned gives me enough of a ‘delay’ between brain and mouth if you will, so I don’t say/do silly (angry) things whilst in the grip of nicotine withdrawal. It sure does make me cranky for 4 – 5 days.
It also gives me the head-space to be able see and understand that I’m goning through a nasty uncomfortable phase of drug withdrawal, that’s all it is, and that’s why I feel this way, and it will pass with a little faith in time, although at times you SWEAR you’ll never feel good again etc etc – all just junkie thinking.
Another thing is to acknowledge that you’ll be making a big change, a change that’s on the scale of a relationship breakup in terms of it’s effect on your life. Don’t be thinking you’ll just carry on as usual sans nicotine – that will be difficult and leave you with a feeling of having a gaping hole in your life. Take up a relationship with something else as soon as you quit. The Gym, your bicycle, painting, walking, whatever floats your boat. Intense exercise is good whilst quitting it burns of the extra nervous energy you’ll have, and help get a better night’s sleep.
Add to this min. 2 ltrs of water a day, fruit, deep breathing exercises, a spa treatment etc. Now that your not trying to slowly poison yourself to death you may as well start to be nice to yourself :)
Don’t worry if there’s little relapses here and there at first. Try to avoid them obviously, they are contrary to the goal, but if you have half a cig or a drag here and there, it’s not the end of the world as long as you keep moving in the right direction. Avoid trap of one or two a day as standard. Worst place to be – you’ll be constantly craving, and living for those one or two cigs. Also, it will result in inevitable relapse.
The nicotine withdrawal is no big deal really. Any withdrawal pang is no stronger than, say, a strong hunger pang. In fact, sit down and start to observe cravings for what they really are. Observe it’s course, how it washes over you, how your mind starts to panic in a knee-jerk way, and observe how it subsides and exits. Nicotine withdrawal is not really a big deal, it’s the knee-jerk panic that makes it a big deal. They say cigs are as hard to give up as heroin – absolute BS, and you’ll know this if you’ve seen somebody go through H withdrawal.
In addition I will read a quit smoking forum like About.com has, as there is something comforting and reassuring in reading other folks stories. The shit is no joke, it really gets a grip on people. – Reason enough to quit.
I know when your in the depth of nicotine withdrawal your mind will play tricks on you, and it will all seem pointless, and not worth it, and you’ll think ‘I may as well just smoke rather than feel like this blah blah blah’ etc etc IT’S ALL BS.
Yes, you’ll feel a bit crap for 4 – 5 days, it’s quite similar to having the flu actually, no worse. After a week to 10 days you will feel better, stronger, calmer, more in control of life, smarter, prouder, look better- all just for not smoking. Sound like a good deal to me.
If you still feel crap you forgot about the aforementioned No 2.
@peter770, thank you for this post. I’m sure you’ll make it this time! I quit myself damn near four months ago using Allen Carr’s method, and the weed really helped during the first couple of weeks.
I can honestly say that by one month I wasn’t really even thinking of cigarettes anymore – and the withdrawals felt even kind of pleasant. I never imagined it could’ve been like that, and I had tried quitting multiple times – always crashing and burning on the third day.
I have to recommend exercise as well. Too bad it’s winter… a walk in the woods to a store that’s not too close, buying a fresh fruit from there and smelling it while walking back… Oh god. Best. Stuff. Ever. You really need to enjoy and get EXCITED about your senses returning (smell, taste… even sight, in a weird way).
Good luck (although you won’t need it), and actually, congratulations on quitting. ^^
I quit 7 months ago and haven’t had one for over 4 months. I’m not really sure. Didn’t mark either date.
Best thing anyone can do for themselves. I have no cravings. It bothers me when I see someone smoke. though. I quit for a reason and I don’t like being around it. Not trying to die a horribly painful death.
Life already is hard enough, why make it harder by wasting hard earned money and filling your body with so many truly unnecessary toxins?
Plus it just fucking smells horrible.
@peter770, Bro, you are speaking my language. Leave it to HE (and the universe) to put a topic on here right when I need it in my life. I’ve made up my mind over the past week to quit, and I’ve gone from 6 a day to 2 today. I needed you to remind me that I can’t be doing that bullshit 1 or 2 a day stuff. I’ve been a smoker for over 10 years now and tried everything under the sun from Chantix to gum to the patch. You’ve given me the push I need to just fuckin’ quit already. I’ve gone through hellish opiate withdrawals and meth cravings multiple times, so this should be a piece of cake in comparison the all those other self-destructive habits I’ve quit already. Thank you and much love!
@badphish, Cool. I wrote it to get it off my chest as much as anything else.
Give the quit a week and put all judgement calls aside in that time. Your mind will try every trick under the sun to get a taste of nicotine, but sounds like you know this. Don’t listen to it.
After 7 days then and only then can you make the cal as to whether it’s been worth it.
I don’t believe that Chantix, gum or patches are necessary, after all, you don’t give a Heroin addict more heroin to get of Heroin, so.. As well as this it’s all in the mind. Somehow, someway nicotine is an emotional suppressant, and we get hella hooked on that little crutch, so when we quit all this shite comes to the surface and we become emotional wrecks – this is the hard part, not the nicotine. Well folks we should be dealing with it, coz it’s gonna bite us one day or another.
@peter770, I got to the point where I wasn’t even thinking about them anymore for a couple months there, but somehow it just creeps back in. I’ve been hovering in the “1 to 2 a day” bubble lately. I need to cut that out. It really should be all or nothing when it comes to this stuff. The mindset is everything, I’d compare it to how much more information you retain when you’re excited to learn about something versus forcing yourself to do learn about it out of obligation.
I think the “being as hard to give up as heroin” thing is talking more about the difficulty of completely phasing them out of your life. Heroin withdrawals are more painful but the obsession is the same.