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Quitting Smoking: My Way

Updated on January 7, 2019
TCPrakash profile image

I smoked from about the age of 18 to about 59—over 40 years. I quit about 4 years ago. I know whereof I speak :)

I'd wanted to quit for a long time, and even done it for periods as long as a couple of years.
What I know from all those times is no matter how long I've been off nicotine, all it takes is one puff to start the whole miserable story all over again.
I don't want to go through that again.
This time, it came to my attention that the opposite of decisiveness is not indecisiveness, but procrastination. And then I thought about the fact that I had been thinking about quitting cigarettes for months, but hadn't done it. I had made plans, I had "tried" and so on.
I decided then and there, that I wasn't going to dilly-dally any more. I got up, picked up my pack of cigarettes and my lighter, and threw them away. I cleaned up my ashtray.
That was on the 30th of April, 2015. I haven't smoked since.
The first few days are tough, no gainsaying that. But they don't last forever. Even each time the craving hits me, it only lasts a few minutes. I can last a few minutes. We all can. Anyone can!
So the first few days, there is the physical craving, and withdrawals. With me it's waking up suddenly in the middle of the night with utter confusion in my mind - where am I , what's happening, even what am I - not even who but what !! ??. The first couple of times, it was scary, but after that I realized it was nicotine withdrawals.
Those first few days are the most difficult to get through.
After that, it gets easier. There are long periods, months, even years when I don't think about smoking at all, even in the middle of a group of smokers.
But I've been a smoker for 45 years, and once in a while, it does come back.
I figured out that it's when I get into a situation where I used to smoke, that I might get the urge to smoke. Early on, it was when I used to get out of the house. As a smoker, the first thing I did whenever I got out of the house for any reason was to light up, because I never used to smoke in the house, after our daughter was born. But this led to a sense of deprivation, so that the moment I got out of the house, I lit a cigarette.
When I stopped smoking this time, I realized that the "craving" used to come on this and other occasions when I was accustomed to smoking.
I realized that I was confusing craving with habit - the craving, for me, is when there is the physical need to smoke, and that stopped after the first few days. After the first three days, the withdrawals stopped, but I still had a physical need to smoke. That went away after about three weeks.
Go to this page if you're interested in how that works:
Anyhow, if you've decided to quit, it's among the best decisions you're likely to make in your life. All the best. I'm sure you'll succeed. Once you've decided to do it, nothing can stop you.

From my experience
1) For me the best way was to go cold turkey, because that way the body cleans itself of nicotine the fastest. If you take nicotine replacement, you're still ingesting the stuff, and so it takes longer to get rid not only of the chemical, but also of the addiction and the habit.
2) I had, like I guess most smokers have, a habit of smoking as well as an addiction. The addiction goes away more quickly than the habit, once you cut off the supply, i.e., stop smoking, or chewing or whatever it is that you do. But the habit takes longer, and it's likely to have emotional, situational and other triggers and associations. You have to figure out how you're going to tackle all that. But fundamentally, once you've taken the main decision to quit, all those things take care of themselves--you'll think of ways to take care or your particular situations and problems.
3) It's a good idea to start other good habits, like exercising everyday - a half hour's walk everyday is a great idea. Drink lots of water. Some people say cranberry juice is good in the early stage. I don't know, didn't use it. Starting these other habits--even a seemingly unrelated hobby--helps you to slowly change yourself into a different person - a person who doesn't smoke!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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