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Stop Smoking - A Creative Way To Wean Off Nicotine In Only 10 Days
Have you ever quit 'cold turkey'?
If you have quit in this fashion then you are very aware of how powerful those nicotine withdrawal symptoms really are. Did you have success by quitting cold? I hope some of you did, but having been a nicotine addict myself, I feel that the answer might be "No!".
Have you ever quit and then started back?
Oh the torment we go through during the painful nicotine withdrawal symptoms, the fighting for our freedom from nicotine, the enduring increased stress and the revealing to others that 'I am quitting'. It is a huge event in our lives. Unfortunately, many times we are soon facing the incredible aggravation, irritation, frustration, embarrassment, blow to our self-confidence and ego when we seemingly helplessly breakdown and start back on the nicotine! It is incredibly miserable to experience this self-induced torment each time we conquer our nicotine addiction but then fall back into the clutches of nicotine again.
Why should we go through misery longer?
I don't believe we actually want to experience nicotine withdrawal for long periods of time, but I know that the experts recommend we quit slowly, giving our bodies time to adjust to each level of decreased nicotine. I have tried quitting nicotine in every way possible and many times over, with varied degrees of success. I have found that I much more prefer getting past the misery of nicotine withdrawal in a shorter amount of time and at a less expensive cost.
When I have followed the regular course of action using the nicotine patch, it seemed that I had to experience the misery of nicotine withdrawal all over again at each new decreased level of nicotine and then yet again when finally I stopped the patch all together. The recommendations are to use the nicotine replacement for a minimum of 8 weeks which includes up to 3 step downs before actually going through the final nicotine withdrawal when stopping the use of the patches. The cost of the patches are comparable to the cost of tobacco products as well.
I have often wondered if profit played a part in the nicotine replacement companies desire for people to 'take it slow' when quitting nicotine. I fully admit using a nicotine replacement is much less painful and much more conducive to remaining stopped than is quitting 'cold turkey'. This fact is why I choose to use them, however, I achieve success and maintain my results more effectively by altering the recommended amount of time I use the nicotine replacement product.
You CAN decrease your misery and still be successful!
If you're like me and you don't want to experience the pain of quitting for extended amounts of time plus you are tired of spending your hard earned money on nicotine, then this variation might be right for you. You can try this method and see if this will work for you. I know some people would rather have more time to adjust to each decrease in nicotine and for them, this is not the method to use.
I have remained nicotine free for over a year this time. Before this I was nicotine free for over 3 years. When I started back after quitting for 3 years I was absolutely disgusted with myself. I wanted to quit again and I wanted to do it QUICKLY! I hated the smell, taste, cost and effect on my health. I decided that I would not spend the hundred and fifty dollars it would take to follow the 'recommended' dosage instructions for the patches, but I also knew that if I tried to quit 'cold turkey' I most likely would not succeed. I needed a middle ground.
I contemplated using the gum sparingly, but I have had better success with the patches. They are tasteless, virtually odorless and out of sight. I purchased ONE box of the step 2 patches and made up my mind that this was going to be it.
The creative part...
Okay, I thought to myself, I am going to make this single box of 14 patches completely get me past the nicotine withdrawal. I began searching online for ideas on how to stretch the patches. All I came up with was precautions and health warnings. The precautions applied to being successful by using the patches for the full recommended time and the health warnings applied to the dangers of cutting a nicotine patch. Whatever you do, most definitely DO NOT cut a nicotine patch. Cutting a nicotine patch will allow too much nicotine to flow into your system and could be fatal. So I decided to experiment with blocking a portion of the patch to allow it to last longer.
Patch 1 & Patch 2 (worn 24 hours per patch) - I simply used the step 2 patches as directed on the box. I changed each of them after 24 hours of wear. This allowed me to quickly adjust to not having tobacco in my lungs, mouth or hands and to experience the first nicotine withdrawal due to starting on step 2 patches instead of step 1 patches, which have more nicotine in them. I saved the normally discarded, silver backing (what the patches are attached to in the packaging) for future use.
Patch 3 (1st 24 hrs 25% blocked, worn 28 hours) - I began blocking a portion of the patch in order to decrease the amount of nicotine I was receiving. I did this by cutting 'blockers' from the previously saved silver backing (the lining that your patch is attached to in the package) into circular shapes that were approximately ¼ the size of the entire patch. I used one blocker for this patch. I applied it to the patch before applying the patch to my skin, being careful not to cover the adhesive outer circle of the patch. I then wore the patch as normal. After 24 hours I removed the blocker and allowed the previously covered portion of the patch to contact my skin. I then continued wearing the patch for approximately 4 more hours before changing to a brand new patch. During this time of blocking a portion of the patch, I again experienced an increase in the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. However, being able to remove the blocker and continue wearing the patch for many additional hours really help me to feel more in control and empowered too. I knew I was on the fast track to freedom from nicotine misery.
Patch 4 (1st 28 hrs 25% blocked worn 34 hours) I repeated what I did with patch 3, using the same blocker, but this time removing it after 28 hours, then continuing to wear the patch for approximately 6 hours after removing the blocker.
Patch 5 (1st 24 hrs 50% blocked worn 48 hours) This time I used two blockers covering ½ the size of the patch. I wore this for 24 hours then removed one of the blockers and wore an additional 10 hours. I then removed the second blocker and wore the patch an additional 14 hours. I used band-aids to help keep the patch stuck to me. I also rotated areas of application on my body to avoid skin irritation.
Patch 6 (1st 18 hrs 75% blocked worn 96 hours) This was the final patch. I used three blockers covering ¾ of the patch area. I wore all three blockers for 18 hours, then removed one blocker. I continued wearing the patch with two blockers for 22 hours, then removed the second blocker. I continued wearing the patch with one blocker for 26 hours then removed the last blocker and wore the patch an additional 30 hours. I used many band-aids to keep the patch on and had to rotate areas multiple times.
No more patch - At this point I was so glad to get that itchy patch off my skin. The nicotine withdrawal symptoms were at a minimum now. I was at a place in my quitting where I could practice other techniques to thwart off any strong urges. The other techniques that help me the most are deep cleansing breaths (slowly in through the nose, slightly hold, then blow out gently through mouth--don't hyperventilate), chugging a large glass of water, careful positive self-talk, and most importantly to me, prayer. Avoid eating as a technique to deal with urges unless you are consuming a vegetable or fruit.
Reader Participation Area!
Which technique works the best to help you quit nicotine?
The never ending journey of success.
I am happy to continue nicotine free after one year of being stopped this time, but I absolutely do not take it for granted. I know all too well just how simple falling right back into the nicotine trap is. I have a friend who once quit nicotine for seven years, started back and then quit again. They have now been nicotine free for over ten years this time. I have talked to other people who have broken their nicotine addictions and most agree that the urge to use nicotine never fully leaves you. I continue to employ my other urge fighting techniques to help me through any urges or thoughts of using nicotine again.
The bottom line is this: If we have had an addiction to nicotine in our life, at any point, we are vulnerable to return to it even after an extended amount of time having been stopped. This is why knowing about and participating in other 'urge fighting' techniques, using positive self-talk, and raising it up to the Lord in prayer are all important steps in our continued effort to maintain freedom from the misery of nicotine dependence.
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