My Quit Smoking Post Extravaganza

I promised that I would write one bad ass post about quitting smoking since I haven’t really devoted myself to doing so. I write random entries in my blog at a quit smoking site but for some reason I don’t put my musings here. Well here is my ultimate quitting smoking blog post extravaganza.

I decided this addiction needed to die around 5 weeks ago..give or take. Actually I knew this addiction needed to die the moment I realized I was addicted again after blowing an 8 month quit where I stupidly thought, I can smoke a bit, it won’t hurt me. Nooo my friends, how quickly the addiction latches back on.

Quitting smoking can be done. It can be done if you are young or old, have been smoking for 5 years or 35 years. In fact most of my inspiration has been gained by watching those who have smoked for 25…30 years succeed. I figure damn, imagine how deeply ingrained it is into their lifestyle. I’m lucky to get out before it is ingrained into experiences I haven’t even had yet.

The first few days suck. I will not lie to you. Some people claim that they aren’t that bad. These people are special. You are likely not special. And if you end up being special, great for you~! Most of us aren’t special. I wasn’t special.

There is a reason so many people fail the first few days. Nicotine is a real addiction. What non smokers, you think we like smoking, poisoning our bodies and our minds and inflicting the very real possibility of disease on ourselves?

There is also a reason ex heroin addicts say kicking heroin was easier than kicking cigs. Okay that makes it sound tough right? Well it isn’t necessarily easy but isn’t that bad, but you do have to realize that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on earth. And even though we don’t get a high so to speak from it like other drugs… it has its own effects on our body. Mainly it plays with the dopamine levels in our brains, and being rewarded with excess dopamine is a very powerful reward.

My best advice for the first few days… avoid doing anything if you can. I know I know, we have lives and responsibilities, but this is the rest of your life we are talking about here. Surely you can put off some things that could lead to your otherwise real or imagined breaking point in lighting another cig… in order not to light another cig.

If you can use those days to detox and get lots of rest, even better. I slept a lot the first few days. Physical nicotine detox is real. You need to treat your body with respect during this time. And always of course.

As far as nicotine replacement therapies go, if you are really dedicated to them, go for it. I mean anything to help you quit. I tried them for a couple days and finally decided they were just prolonging my misery. The addiction is to nicotine after all, that is what you are trying to get away from. I decided to get the main addiction out of the way right away. Otherwise it felt like torture to keep ingesting nicotine and going through the step downs. If you step down to zero right away… you won’t have any more step downs to fear.

If you’re considering the cold turkey approach, I strongly suggest you check out http://www.whyquit.com

They are probably the best known cold turkey approach quit smoking website within the ex smoking community and those trying to quit.

They also have all kinds of really great articles, reality checks, and things I especially liked to read during a crave to set my mind back out of addict mode.

Other websites I always find myself going back too for support and info are www.quitnet.com and http://community.becomeanex.org/

So yes, I won’t lie to you, the first few days are hell for myself and a lot of folks. But they won’t kill you. The only thing sure to kill you is the cigarette itself.

After 3 days all the nicotine you’ve been putting in your body for years is gone. The physical withdrawal tends to peak around then and then what are you left with? Mental triggers. Perhaps some of the hardest to break b/c you will find yourself stunned at the things you linked to cigarettes, but they are easier to get past because you slowly learn how to debunk the myths and lies you told yourself about smoking and why you *needed* to smoke.

It becomes a task of relearning to live your life without your habit. Each day it gets a little easier until you finally find yourself thinking, wow, I didn’t even think about smoking today.

You see your body healing and you’re actually awe inspired that after years of damaging it, it actually loves you enough to try and repair itself. You start to return to your natural state. It doesn’t feel natural at first but it will become so.

There are so many traps you can fall into. So many people relapse. Hell, like I said, I did after 8 months last year. I’ve heard of people talking about relapsing 5 years down the road, even 10. It is not that they were fighting every day for 10 years with their addiction and finally just decided, “Enough. After 10 years of this shit I am having a smoke.” No. It was they thought they could control a powerful chemical addiction. They thought they had enough power to smoke one… or two… or even a whole pack and then just go on smoke free once again. Nope, they became nicotine’s bitch again.

Romanticizing the cigarette is what will lead to massive relapse. Pretty much always. Cigarettes aren’t friends, they don’t solve problems, they don’t make you feel better, ect…

If when we were a smoker, were actually conscious of every single cigarette we smoked, we would realize this to be true. The easiest way to break the mental crave is simple not to romanticize the cigarette.

Did you hear me?

DO NOT ROMANTICIZE THE CIGARETTE.

I know it sounds almost too easy to be true. But actually, this is mostly what Allen Carr’s famous method is based upon… simply letting go of the concept of smoking as doing anything for you besides killing you.

Sniff an ashtray, walk past a group of smokers, or get stuck smelling the nasty chain smoking dude that I sat in front of me today. Realize that is exactly how the cigarettes tastes and smells. Yum huh? Watch a smoker, realize how dumb the whole process of smoking looks. Smoke your cigarettes consciously and ask what they are really doing for you.

And of course like I touched on earlier, I highly recommend finding support. Either a real life person, a support group in real life, or an online support buddy or support group. I prefer online b/c it is there anytime. It’s amazing what a difference having support when you need it can make.

I also think one of the biggest reasons people relapse, especially early on, is because suddenly dealing with your emotions without a cig can at first feel overwhelming. But that is part of the process, you learn how to deal with things without your crutch. I wish I would have never been a smoker at all. This month I should be celebrating 2 years smoke free but I’m not. I’m still fresh at this once again. But I realize how easy it is to keep falling off if you are not protective of yourself. The control you have over the addiction is to not participate in it. It is not about thinking you can control it by having one or two and stopping.

I guess if I did have to have ever been a smoker though, one good thing did come out of it and that is by quitting I have such a deeper appreciation for some small things that our friends who have never smoked probably don’t really thing about or tend to take for granted mostly. They aren’t doing so naively, it is just the fact that they have never abused their bodies quite like we have.

I have known some people trying to quit that get upset when somebody tells them to “embrace the crave”. Embrace the crave? What the hell does that mean?

It means roll with it. Acknowledge it. Breathe in. Let it go. Breathe out. Embrace life. Call out, “but I want to live!” It has a powerful effect on shattering craves. Acknowledge your addiction, don’t run from it. Look it right in the eye and dare it to step up to battle. It will run away. Because no matter how strong it seems, it is not as strong as you.

Give yourself more credit than thinking you’re doomed to be a smoker the rest of your life. You are stronger than some leaves wrapped in paper. Just seriously ponder that for a minute. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Break the addiction down and build yourself up.

Life has been so much more full, interesting, and enjoyable since I got my freedom back from this addiction. I didn’t realize what a horrible negative effect it had on me until I banished it from my life. And I’m not this high on life person and yet I have heard many others tell me me the same. The changes are incredible. Just a bit over 5 weeks weeks ago I was a miserable person, miserable b/c of this addiction, always feeling sick, feeling like a old lady at the ripe old age of 23, ha. It seems like a long time when you first start out, but see how quickly you can begin to take control of this addiction? It is amazing how quickly you forget your smoking self.

Addiction is painful and killer, even if your poison is legal.

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