What is the secret to quitting smoking?
I, like you, was a smoker for many, many years. Each time a lit one up, I thought to myself, “I could never live without this smoke’’. And, probably like you, I failed several attempts to stop smoking for you convinced that I my natural, most productive state was with a cigarette in my mouth. But, let me tell you a secret. There is no magical force that will allow you to become a smoker. The secret is that there is none.
We are all born with pure lungs. The cigarette need is a true myth. I was convinced like many others that smoking a cigarette calmed me and reenergised my spirit and mind. Obviously, this is false. I tried many times, and failed many times at remaining a non-smoker, convinced I was just too much of a nervous person to go without. But guess what, I too was able to break the shackles of this smelly, deadly addiction.
Identify your weaknesses and triggers. For me, the reason I kept going back was social anxiety and stress. So, to aid in my riddance of the nicotine dependence, I did enlist the help of a doctor. For me, the reason I went back to smoking was anxiety and the hives and other physical symptoms that would ensue after stopping smoking. Now, I can see clearly that I am much happier, much healthier, much less stressed and anxious than I ever was as a smoker. An alternative is taking 10 deep breaths of oxygen. It has the same calming effects without the need for expensive supplies, and the disruption of your daily life.
Know that it may always be a struggle. While the struggle does get easier with time, you may always think of inhaling cigarettes with great joy. I know people that still get cravings years later. Last week, after a particularly stressful week, I thought to myself that I could reward myself with a nice butt. I wanted it so badly that I could feel my saliva get thicker; I could almost taste it on my tongue. Imagine, years later, still feeling this way. But you know what; you just have to keep not smoking. It is not just that one cigarette.
It is the packs of cigarettes you will be buying yet again, it is the smell on your clothes, your hair, in your house and the disappointed looks of your family, your friends, and children. It is the knowledge that you are decreasing your life span and knowing that you are intentionally taking precious years away from your children and grandchildren. This is what you are truly inhaling. So ask yourself each time you get a craving, is it worth it?!
Smoking was such a big part of my identity for so long like many others. A key to success in quitting smoking is to create new experiences. From my experience, I needed to go out for a smoke several times a day just to regenerate my batteries. So when I quit I thought to myself, how will I manage? So I had a genius idea… I took a break anyway. I went outside with my regular smoke break buddies in a well ventilated area and talked or took a coffee. We talked and I was able to be near the toxin without contaminating myself or creating a taboo. By being exposed to the act of smoking it allowed me to reinforce my willpower and strengthen my resolve.
The secret to quitting smoking is simple: Do not smoke.