Wednesday, November 19, 2008

32nd Annual Great American Smokeout-Can you Quit for One Day?

It's easy to quit smoking, I've done it hundreds of times! Every time you snub out a butt, you have quit smokin. The trick to staying quit is to not light up another one. The American Cancer Society encourages smokers to try to live without their cigarettes for just one day. Sometimes that is all it takes for a smoker to realize that they can live without their smokes. But most smokers have quit for a day and have gone back to smoking without quitting for good.
In most of my workshops, everyone quits smoking but that 100% quit rate is misleading because I think that nicotine addiction is over estimated as a problem to quitting but UNDER estimated as a problem when dealing with relapse.
Many smokers come to my workshops saying I'm their "Last Resort", they have tried everything and nothing works. I know these individuals will be successful long term because they just need a little bit of tweaking of their personal cessation plan. They have the desire to quit, otherwise they wouldn't keep trying. They also have gone through the relapse cycle and once they understand the effect of nicotine on the brain, they can avoid relapse. Often these quitters just need a little bit more information and a few more tools in their quitting toolbox and to be successful quitters need many different tools--not just one--like medications --to be successful.
Virgins or first time quitters will quit also and even thought they will say that since they have quit for x number of days or weeks, I can almost guarantee them that they will relapse and be smoking again within 6 months to a year. They have only learned part of their problem--how to deal with the withdrawal and recovery symptoms from smoking. Sometimes they will listen about what they need to avoid relapsing but often these virgins figure that the problem is licked, no need to go any further.
Yet, they relapse and they will attend another one of my workshops. Other participants will comment that obviously the program doesn't work--and the relapsers will say--"No, the program works, I didn't do the work that I should have to be successful, that's why I'm back. I can quit through this program." They realize they need to take responsibility for not following through on learning what they need to know to avoid relapsing. Many smokers will become like me--a professional quitter--the quitting is the easy part, the hard part is staying quit.
Unfortunately many smokers will become discouraged and give up instead of realizing that the more often they try to stop, the more they will learn about how they are connected to their cigarettes and each time, they add one more tool to the toolbox until they have all the tools to be successful forever.
Quitting is a process and not a one time event. It is considered a chronic relapsing disease. Just as with any other chronic condition, you don't' just deal with it once and it's gone. Quitting is an ongoing relearning situation. The only failure is when you stop trying.
So please try and give up the cigarettes at least for the Great American Smokeout but see this as only the start of your path to breaking your ties to your cigarettes.

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