How I Quit Smoking: A Journey to the 1st Anniversary
Stamp Out Smoking
*as with any quit smoking plan you should consult a doctor prior to starting, I am not a physician, this is simply how I finally quit and hope it helps others.
Like so many, I got started soon after discovering the freedom of having my license, and getting away from the oversight of my parents, and under the influence of my friends. For years I convinced myself I "needed" to smoke to calm my nerves. Over the years, I tried to quit numerous times, with various methods. However, I was never successful. The longest period was at one time maybe 6 months. Patches, Wellbutrin, Gum, Chantix, Lozenges. All with limited effect. This isn't about how I failed though, this is about how I finally succeeded. Hopefully, this may help one more person quit besides me.
Step 1: Call me Crazy, But quit Caffeine First!
We all know what 20/20 hindsight is, and didn't quit the caffeine first, but now I wish I had it would have made some things easier. I found out after I was completely off nicotine it was adding to the withdrawal affect, by enhancing any anxiety I was already experiencing.
*if you can't completely don't despair, just try and avoid that caraffe of coffee first thing in the morning, try to limit it to a cup an hour or so to keep from maxing out on the caffeine.
Step 2: Go mini
Start with the mini commit lozenge 4 mg., unless you smoke less then 10 cigarettes a day then start with the 2 mg. They have a taste beyond the mint flavoring, but you will get used to it. They are obnoxious, and make Altoids seem mild,but not as obnoxious as the large mints or the gum. Either way the key is to get started quitting, as funny as that sounds. So pick your poison, but if you have tried the patch and failed, I highly recommend starting with the mints, It will become clear why soon enough.
Step 3: I'm off the cigarettes, but what about these nicotine mints?
I had tried the mints once before, and failed on them, and I wasn't sure why at first. Then I realized following the plan steps, I had gone from the 4 mg. to the 2 mg. mints. While I was still using 8 to 10 Mints a day I then quit from there. Which meant I was still having withdrawals from the nicotine itself. This was at a fairly high level.
Step 4: The solution, putting it all together..
It dawned on me that previously I had tried to quit on the patch which left the "habit" of picking up a cigarette being handled. With the mints I was still at 18 to 20 mg's a day when I put them down. So now what? Still fight withdrawals? Try and wean myself down a few a day. Go cold turkey from the mints and risk starting backup? Nope, jump over to the patches, and keep working your way down. They have patches as small as 2 mg. See the recap below and the final polish that puts that nail in the coffin.Start with the mints, as high as 4 mg's if needed, use them as directed for a few weeks, before stepping down to the 2 mg's. When you have finally stopped thinking of cigarettes as the solution but are reaching for the mints without thinking to much about it its time for the final step.Most people will be at 8 to 10 a day when they are ready for this step. Get the 20 mg patch. and step down with it just like you normally would if you had started with it. If you have the bad dreams like others. Put it on in the morning, and take it off about a half an hour before bed so that it won't affect your dreams.
*For most people the dreams will go away within a week, what is happening is you are reaching full rem sleep. When you are addicted you experience nicotine withdrawals through the night which affects the quality of sleep. With the patch you finally get to experience full restful sleep
Needless to say step down, all the way through the process to the 2 milligram patches. This will finish the weaning process, both the physical and the mental.
Step 5: Getting through the first year!
Over a year later, and I don't even think twice about it. A new baby, full load of classes, and my 40th Birthday none of these events even tempted me!
Best of luck to you! If you have any questions, comment below and I'll be happy to respond!