Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Easy to Quit Smoking, I've Done It Hundreds of Times

Every smoker is different. I have been leading smoking cessation workshops for 20 years and some people struggle for a long time before they are successful at quitting. For others, the quitting part is easy--As Mark Twain said, "It's easy to quit smoking, I've done it hundreds of times."
I can get almost anyone to quit smoking for a period of time but there are two parts--Stop Smoking-AND-Stay Quit--it's the second part that usually grabs smokers. They under estimate how powerful nicotine is, if they slip and have a few cigarettes, even if it is several years down the road, thinking that they can control their smoking. Nicotine creates more receptors in the brain and when you quit, they go dormant but with the reintroduction of nicotine--they wake and shout--"Don't tease me with one cigarette-I want the whole pack." It takes about 6 months, the first time someone becomes addicted to nicotine but it can take only one day--the second time because the changes in the brain structure are still there. So most quitters are successful for a period of time and relapse and don't give themselves credit for the period of time that they did stop smoking. I hope you are one of the few that doesn't relapse but unfortunately over 90% of quitters will start again within a year. Just like an alcoholic can never have another drink, a smoker can never have another cigarette. That thought is often very scary, so don't think about the future but live in the moment--that is all that we can control--change your thinking to---I'm not smoking for right now. One man told me that he just told himself that when he retired, he could start smoking again, but he was scared because he was approaching retirement age and was worried that he had told himself that too much. To quit for good, we need to change our behavior and we need to change the way we think about smoking.


Mz Diva said...

As a 30 year smoker, it is really hard to remember that I cannot successfully smoke "just one" and not run the risk of full fledged addiction! Since I have the mind of an addict, my head tells me a few times a week that "just one" would be ok! I do it like I do it in AA, "One day at a time." Even with 8 months off cigarettes, thinking in the long term is too much! Your site is cool...I can't wait to look through it!

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

Congratulations Diva--using the techniques from AA can help keep you away from nicotine as well. sometimes with nicotine, it's not only day by day, but minute by minute. Nicotine is such an insidious addiction and our mind plays those games. Keep up the good work and let me know if I can help.
The Serenity Prayer works well too. VJ