Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have an Emergency Plan to Avoid Relapsing Back into Smoking

There have been two recent plane crashes in the news. One ended with the survival of all the passengers and crew, the other in tragedy with all aboard lost. In a crisis situation, the pilot has only a few precious minutes to make life or death decisions. Pilots spend hours training for a crisis, hoping they will never have to use this training. In the two plane crashes, one pilot put his emergency plan into action and the other pilot supposedly had put the plane on automatic pilot.
Relapse is a plane crash. The question is, "Do you have an emergency plan or will you rely on your automatic pilot?" Your answer will tell you whether you will continue as a non-smoker or will relapse back into full time smoking.
An emergency plans starts with identifying early warning signs--thoughts, feelings, actions and high risk situations that might lead to having a cigarette.

"One won't hurt."
"Nobody's going to know if I just have one."
"It's the only way to relieve my stress."

All of these thoughts are early warning signs of a relapse and your emergency plan needs to go into action. If you rely on your automatic pilot--your brain--your conditioning is that for 10-20-30-40 years (how ever many years you have smoked), your brain says--light one up.
Instead, you need an emergency plan to avoid that conditioning. How can you change your thinking or what can you do differently? Do you have high risk friends? Practice telling them "No" when they offer you a cigarette. Take time to create an emergency plan and practice, practice, practice so that you can put your plan into action to avoid a crash landing back into smoking.

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