Happy 2014 everyone! Like so many of us, I have some pretty cliché New Years Resolutions this year–but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to make them happen. At the top of my list (and most other people’s) is quitting smoking.
One thing I’ve found comforting and helpful during this process is that I’ve quit before. There’s some very high average of times that it takes a person to quit for good because many people don’t stay quit after the first try. A little over a year ago I quit cold turkey and stayed quit for 9 months–I know that I have my own dumb reasons (*cough*excuses) for starting up again, but the first time was so much scarier because everyone always talks about how hard it is to quit; that terrified me. This time, I’m armed with the knowledge that I’ll have a few days of mild to moderate discomfort and then be back on my merry way. It’s not actually that bad. And I’m not some casual or light smoker saying this, I smoked for 11 years, some times up to 2 packs/day. So if I can do it, so can you (or your mom or boyfriend or cousin, or whomever you’re supporting in this–anyone can do it!)
Other helpful tidbits:
- Clean your house, car, etc. Get the lighters and ashtrays and smell out of there so you don’t think about it (as much)
- Avoid people, places, and things that trigger you, or make you want to smoke the most. Don’t go to the bar the first week or 2 of quitting (if that’s a major issue, maybe cigarettes aren’t your only addiction, seek help), don’t hang around your smoker friends for a little while (just stay home and read or get something accomplished), do things that you couldn’t smoke while doing anyway (like going to a movie theater)
- Exercise will make you not want to smoke and you’ll feel even better about yourself
- Food is a tricky reward for some people (like me); not only will I want to eat everything all the time, but then I’ll feel guilty and sad about gaining weight and slacking on my overall goal of getting healthy, and plus I’ll be so full that I’ll want to smoke more after ’cause I’m stuffed. Food might work as a reward for you if you can keep it in moderation, but if not just stick to chewing gum or pen caps or straws.
- Vacation – the first time I quit, I was on a trip to my aunt’s house where my boyfriend and I were the only smokers. It seemed wrong to intrude on her nice, healthy lifestyle with our routine smoke breaks, and she lived in such a lovely area it even felt wrong to throw our butts out. Not only did we not fit in there, but it was easier to stop while being out of our daily grind. The triggers and cues weren’t there, so it wasn’t that bad. Obviously not everyone can get away for a few days, or find an affordable place to stay that’s so lovely and peaceful that smoking feels wrong, but if you can it works.
- Water … just drink it, a lot of it
- It gets easier and easier with time!
It’s been 4 days for me now, and I can’t say it’s easy, but I’ve had some help. Supportive friends and family members can go a long way. Additionally, I’ve searched the web looking for help. Here are some great resources I’ve found online in my battle with cigarettes:
“Quit Smoking” Timeline — Maybe you’ve seen this or something like it in a different form, but I find it fascinating. It’s a timeline of the health improvements that occur when you quit smoking.
Become An Ex — I really liked this website; it’s all about planning to quit and what to expect. It also helps you target a quit date, identify triggers, and other great tools. Well done.
SmokeFreeTXT — this text messaging service from smokefree.gov (which is also helpful) was a pretty interesting idea to me, so I signed up. They check in about how I’m doing and text me various times throughout the day with little inspirational messages, such as “Think about what you are gainign and why you want to leave cigarettes behind. Stay focued – it will get easier.” It might not be helpful to everyone, but I really like their little messages. They send out a few throughout the day randomly (not annoyingly) and it makes me feel a little comforted.
I hope this was in someway helpful to your struggle with quitting smoking. It’s a difficult time but it’s well worth the payout. If you have any tips or resources, or a success story, feel free to share them below!
photo credit: http://www.quittingsmokingabc.com/about/