Friday, June 6, 2008

The Many Fears About Quitting Smoking

Part of our belief system is what we fear and often a smoker will continue to smoke because of different fears about quitting.

Fear of the unknown.

Smokers don't know what there is to be afraid of but change alone is scary. Change is risky. The belief is that it is better to face the known enemy than risk facing the unknown.
Confronting a fear is fearful in itself. Often a smoker doesn’t want to admit that quitting is a scary process but getting the fears out in the open, allows the healing to begin and the smoker can break through their fears. Self-knowledge about beliefs and fears promotes self choice and action. It takes courage to make major life changes and face the fears that come with changing. Often when the fear is identified, the smoker can begin to learn what tools they will need to learn to be successful.

Fear of gaining weight.

“I quit before and a lot of gained weight.”
“I'd rather smoke that be fat.”
“Once I start gaining, it wouldn't stop and I'll be huge.”

There are many misconceptions about weight gain and quitting smoking but many people are so afraid of gaining weight that they never try to quit smoking. For some people, this is the reason why they started smoking in the first place.

Fear of Pain

“I quit before and I was miserable.”
“Quitting sucks.”
“I can’t handle the withdrawals.”
Smokers may have hears horror stories from other smokers who have quit, about how difficult it was to quit or how bad the withdrawal symptoms were when they quit.
If the smoker has never tried to quit, she may be influenced by the stories she has heard about how hard it is and how bad the withdrawals can be or if she has quit herself and has experienced withdrawals, she may not want to face the cravings again.

Fear of Loss of Enjoyment or Deprivation

Smoking becomes associated with many activities that the smoker enjoys and there can be a fear that he will not longer enjoy these activities without smoking or that his enjoyment will be diminished. The fear can be that the smoker has to give up some of his pleasurable activities when he quits.

Fear of Being Unable to Control Stress

Many smokers use cigarettes to control their stress or reaction to negative emotions and the fear is that the smoker will be unable to handle stress and negative emotions and will be overwhelmed. Often the smoker has not developed other effective coping mechanisms and needs to learn effective stress relief and how to handle negative emotions.

Fear of Failure

“I might fail.”
“I might lose control.”

There is a fear of failure that the smoker might not succeed and will look foolish if he fails. This is especially true for those smokers who have tried and relapsed several times. He doesn’t want to try again and will give up instead because of the fear of failure.
Along with fear of failure is the fear of being ridiculed or loss of face. If the smoker tells someone that he has quit and then fails, how will others view him?

Fear of Success or loss of identity

“If I don’t smoke, I don’t know who am I.”

I remember being absolutely paralyzed because of the thought, "What do I do if I don't smoke?" Smoking has been integrated into the personality of the smoker and she can't see herself without that cigarette. It can become a much needed prop or security blanket in life.

Loss of Approval or Loss of Control?
Most fears boil down to either a fear of a loss of control or a loss of approval. The smoker feels that if he doesn't get it right that others will judge him or he will be out of control. Often the smoker just needs additional tools to deal with what ever aspect he fears.

No comments: