How to quit smoking

 

It’s been 1,000 days since I quit smoking.  It’s amazing to realize that I’m truly no longer a smoker.  I haven’t had any nicotine in any form in over 1,000 days now.  I don’t miss it at all. 

 

A few thoughts: 

 

The toughest part was understanding the difference between the mental and physical addiction.  Then splitting them apart to tackle each on its own.  They are both pretty easy on their own, but if you don’t recognize what is what, you will struggle.

 

Physical:  They physical addiction to nicotine is horrible.  It causes you to need the drug.  You have a smoke, chew, dip, gum, whatever and the clock starts ticking.  You feel great right away.  But then it slowly starts to wear off.   You start sensing this and get uncomfortable and irritable.  You start thinking about smoking.  You smell someone else and it smells so good.  BUT, you don’t smoke.  You’re detoxing.  Every minute, you don’t give into that craving is a minute towards not needing the nicotine.  Your body slowly clears the drug while screaming at you to have it.  Those first few days go by and you hate everything. 

 

But then there’s a day where you don’t need it.  Your body has gotten used to not being dependant on a drug.  You’re free of the physical addiction.  It feels so good. 

 

Mental:  But then there’s the mental.  For me, this was two things. 

 

Friends & family who smoked.  There was nothing better than popping outside to have a smoke with your buddies outside of the bar.  Or with some family while at a boring holiday dinner.  The nice cool air outside and a warm smoke are always nice.  Well the easiest way to get over this is to just go outside with them.  Smell the smoke, but don’t join in.  Tell them you’ve quit.  But still have the same conversations you would.  Still smell the cool air outside.  Crack a fresh beer if you’re at a party.  Smile and remember that you’re kicking the physical addiction, so there’s no need to inhale a drug that will make you continuously want more. 

 

Stress and celebration.  When something went wrong, I smoked to get over the stress.  When something went right, I smoked to celebrate.  It’s funny how you can justify both.  Realize that you’re just using this event as an excuse to get your drug.  The drug you’d get anyway because you could also justify it as being bored. 

 

The key here is to realize that there is no reason to smoke besides the fact that your body is craving nicotine.  All of the mental things are just excuses to get the physical drug.  And the only reason you want the drug is because the last hit of it is wearing off, but hasn’t worn off enough to get out of your system yet. 

 

The goal is to focus on being your physical addiction while coping with the mental addiction.  The physical is easy.  Just don’t smoke.  Give it a few weeks and you’ll be over it.  The mental is easy too.  Just don’t smoke and be open an honest with others that you’re not a smoker anymore.  Don’t use ANYTHING as an excuse to get your fix.  3 weeks later and you’re done.

 

After that, it’s easy.  You start to realize that you aren’t a smoker.  You smell how bad other people smell.  You see how sad it is to watch them inhale a drug that is known to be bad for their health.  You realize that in an hour, they’ll be craving more.  Forever. 

 

You quickly become glad you don’t smoke.  You wonder why you ever did.  The years start flying by.  You still like the smell and think about it from time to time, but you’re never really tempted because you know what it is.  It’s a drug that controls every day of your life.  And it really does taste like shit, smell like shit, and make you feel like shit.

 

When it comes down to it, the truth is that you lie to yourself every day.  You tell yourself that you need a smoke because you are stressed, tired, celebrating, with friends, drinking, camping, relaxing, happy, sad, bored, busy, worn out, etc.  It’s a million different things and they’re all lies you tell yourself. 

 

In reality, the only reason you smoke is because the nicotine from the last one is wearing off. 

 

Once it’s out of your system, you body won’t be in withdrawal anymore.  From there it’s all easy. 

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