How to Quit Smoking: An Easy Method for Quitting
Almost five months ago, I quit smoking after fifteen years as a smoker. I had tried and tried in the past to put the cigarettes down, but nothing worked. I hated the chiding that I received from family, and the unsupportive comments that my husband made about how it's "easy" to quit. He was never a smoker. I had read books, browsed websites, signed up for programs and talked to counselors. Nothing had helped. I'd been pregnant three times as a smoker, but it was my last birth that really pushed me over the edge and forced me to make a decision. She was born at less than six pounds, two large knots tied in her umbilical cord. My labor was induced due to fetal distress. I knew then that something had to change.
I spent three days in the hospital with no access to cigarettes. Three days later I lit back up. I was tied to my smoking. I thought that I couldn't quit. I believed what I had been hearing and telling myself for years: It was difficult to quit, I would be irritable, I would gain weight. There was such a great fear within me that I wouldn't be able to be successful as an ex-smoker. I gave up so many times.
Then I discovered that there really was an easy way to quit smoking!
The Ban on Smoking
In the interests of honesty, I want to express just how much the ban on smoking in public places helped me to quit. Many states in the US adopted laws that forced smokers to take it out of the buildings. In some states this even applied to bars and billiard rooms. The notices could be found on doors all around these states, though I am now beginning to see less and less of them (I believe people know the law now and the notices are less necessary).
I was never one for sitting in the smoking section at restaurants. I didn't want smoke in my face when I was trying to eat, so we would sit in the non-smoking section. But if we were at a card game or playing pool, or even at a bar (we aren't drinkers), I wanted to be able to smoke. This policy drove me crazy. At first.
Smoking is Addictive
We all know that nicotine is addictive, but did you know that the act of smoking is addictive? There are three different types of addiction that a smoker is dealing with, often without even knowing it!
The three kinds of addiction are:
For me, I had to determine which was my strongest addiction before I was able to successfully quit smoking. In my case, the emotional addiction was the worst. I felt that I needed that cigarette first thing in the morning, and that if I gave it up, I would be giving up something that was a part of me. I was allowing smoking to define me because of the emotional addiction that I had to cigarettes.
In my case, habitual addiction came next. With help, I was able to identify my habits and begin to work to change them (we will talk about habits in just a moment).
The physical addiction didn't bother me so much at all. The truth is that because I smoked hand-rolled cigarettes I wasn't bothered by the nicotine. I got less of it and I smoked significantly less than most of my friends did. I was a prime cantidate for a cold turkey quit (no meds).
Quitting is about Changing Habits
Regardless of the type of addiction you have, quitting smoking is going to be about changing your habits. Many of those cigarettes that you smoke are less out of need and more out of the habit of doing so. You might smoke in a social environment, or light up immediately after climbing out of bed in the morning. You may be the type who needs to have a cigarette after finishing a meal, or you might struggle with that last smoke before bed. For me it was all of these habits.
Quitting smoking is about more than just stopping something. It is about replacing that "something" with "something different." You will need to be able to change your habits if you are going to become a successful ex-smoker.
How to Quit Smoking: An Easy Method
I am telling you, ladies and gentlemen, quitting smoking was easy. Most ex-smokers that I talk to now, as an ex-smoker, agree: it was easy. I know you don't want to hear that right now. It's hard to wrap your brain around it, especially if you are dealing with emotional addiction. You're just going to have to trust me on this and then learn to fly on your own. Quitting smoking can be easy! Just follow my steps!
1. Seek Help
There is absolutely no shame whatsoever in seeking assistance in quitting smoking. I tried several different methods before I finally called 1-800-QUITNOW. This number works in all 50 United States as far as I am aware. If you don't live in the US, please seek out your own quitting assistance line.
This organization sent me a ton of assitance materials as well as a free box of nicotine gum (which I didn't need for but three days). Their quit coaches are always there to help you, as well. If you are ever feeling like you can't do it, call them!
Last month, when I nearly broke down and ran to the drug store to buy a pack of cigarettes, I called them. I'd been quit for four months. They talked me down and I didn't smoke. I am successful because of this program!
I'm serious, people: Get help to quit smoking!
2. Set a Date
If you do the program I suggested above, you are going to be asked to set a date within two weeks from the time of your first call. Try to choose a date that doesn't correspond with any stressful or exciting time of your life. Don't quit during a time you are getting used to a new job, or around a birthday. Don't quit when your wife is about to have your third child or when you're in the middle of divorcing. These things will set you up for failure.
Set a reasonable quit date. Don't push it too far into the future or you will have too much time to work yourself up and talk yourself out of it. Two weeks is reasonable, but any time within one month will work.
3. Find Support
Support and help aren't quite the same thing. You need to have someone who you know personally who you can call or who can encourage you in quitting. Best case scenario, this person is a former smoker themselves. I had one person on whom I could rely for help, but I would recommend having two or three people to talk to when you feel as though you aren't going to make it.
Support could be the key to your success!
4. Identify your Triggers
A "trigger" is a time or a
behavior that causes you to want to smoke (or to smoke). Some people
(like me) are triggered by talking on the phone while others light up
every time they drink a cup of coffee. Identifying your triggers will
make it much easier to follow step 5!
5. Change Those Habits!
If you're to be successful, you need to change your habits. For me, I began cutting out my first thing in the morning cigarette about three months before I set my quit date. I knew that I was becoming dependent on that cigarette and I didn't want to be dependent any more. I started waiting fifteen minutes before smoking in the morning, and then half an hour. Finally I got to the point where my first morning cigarette was right after lunch!
You need to identify what your habits are and begin to work at changing them. Do something different after you eat (I brushed my teeth!) instead of smoking. Don't smoke in the car, whether you are driving or being driven. This one can be a toughie if you are used to smoking while you drive, but you can do it!
For me the hard one was smoking on the phone. I never did break that one until the day I quit smoking!
6. Educate Yourself about Smoking
We all think that we know it all. After all, we know that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease, even mouth cancer. We know that it is bad for our unborn babies. We know it is bad for the people around us. These things haven't stopped us from smoking yet.
The reason is because we aren't educated enough.
Seek out information about how nicotine affects the body and brain chemistry. Read up on the facts about the length of time that nitocine stays in the system and how long it takes it to leave your body. Learn about detoxification from nitocine.
Be informed! Information is your best weapon against your habit!
I know, I know, that sounds over simplified, but it isn't. If you've followed the steps I've given you up to this point, you will very likely be relieved when you're quite date arrives. If you're feeling tense or uncomfortable, contact your support people and talk to them. You might need to reset your date. I did it once, and I'm still a happy X!
I wish to add that there is nothing wrong with using medication if you need to. I used the gum for three days and after that I didn't need it and switched to sugar-free gum.
8. Get Support
It will take up to two months for you to be fully "quit." Continue to seek support from your support network during this time period. Keep your friends and allies up to date about your quit and what has happened. If you slip, tell them! Most ex-smokers have slipped a time or two! Don't worry! Just get back on the wagon and continue with your effort.
In the end it's worth it!
Easy Ways to Quit Smoking
You Can Do It!
You can do this! I have absolute faith in you that if I can do this, so can you! It just takes faith and confidence and sometimes a darned good reason to quit (increased taxes on cigarettes, anyone?).
I believe in you!
A Personal Conclusion from Everyday Miracles
I quit almost five months ago now and I have never felt better. I didn't even realize that I had stopped coughing until I got a cold and started to cough. The feeling was unfamiliar! It only took about a month before that happened and I noticed a significant difference! My husband tells me that I smell better and is a good deal more affectionate with me. My teeth are getting whiter by the day with proper care (though I brush about four times most days) and I feel better about myself! I am not constantly looking for an "out" so that I can get outside and smoke a cigarette.
The best part is that my daughter is healthier. As a child who is allergic to cigarette smoke, I can now rest assured that she is getting the best that I can give her, because I was willing to give up my habit!
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