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.

Stop worrying about losing your job

A big reason most of us are unhappy with working in an office is due to fear.  We are afraid of losing our jobs and the paycheck that comes with them.  If we lose our jobs we think that the entire world will end.  We won’t be able to have a home or feed ourselves and our families.  We think of the worst possible thing and imagine how bad it would be if we lost our jobs.

It’s this fear that keeps us sitting in our cubicles day in and day out.  We may hate our jobs for years, but we are too afraid to do anything about it.  We don’t talk to people or stand up for ourselves because we are afraid of being fired.  We don’t take vacations because we don’t want to be seen as lazy.  We work all day without breaks so that we look like hard workers.

We don’t look for other jobs that might make us happier because we are afraid of change.  We ask ourselves what will happen if it doesn’t work out.  What if we don’t like our new boss?  What if we get laid off from that job?  We tell ourselves it’s scary out there.

This isn’t healthy.  It stresses us out constantly.  This kind of life gives a kind of stress that people have never experienced before the modern workplace.  It’s chronic stress.

It used to be that people were afraid of starving, or being killed by a lion, or falling off a cliff, or something truly dangerous.  Now we are afraid of losing a job title.  We are afraid of losing a paycheck.  Yes, we may starve because of it, but probably won’t.  It confuses us.  Our bodies can do things to fight off lions and starvation, but they can’t do anything to stop this chronic stress.

We spend our days doing our job.  We sit all day.  We fret about inconsequential things.  Then we sit in traffic on the way home.  Sometimes we have a few beers to relax on the really stressful days.  Then we wonder why we’re always tense and have to go to the chiropractor.

A life of fear won’t get you anywhere.  Even if you work the office job your entire life you’ll still probably die of the heart attack brought on by the stress.  We might make plenty of money and never have to change jobs.  On paper, we might be a total success.  Inside we’ll be a wreck.

I’ve met people who are 50 years old and have been working in their jobs for the past 30, yet they are still deathly afraid of losing their jobs.  What a hard life.

I propose that we give up this fear.  Let’s stop worrying about whether or not we have a job tomorrow.  Just stop worrying about it.  If you get fired tomorrow life will go on.  It won’t kill you.  You can find another job and another way to make money.  You can change your lifestyle if you need to.  You can become a hobo.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter.

The important thing to remember is that no matter how much you worry about something, you can’t stop it.  You can fret and worry and be afraid about losing your job, but it won’t change anything.  You will still get fired if they want to fire you.

By no means am I saying that you shouldn’t work hard.  Do your job and do it well.  Be the best at your job.  Be awesome at it, but don’t worry about losing it.  Worrying will only stress you out.  It won’t stop anything from happening.

Like a lot of people, I was laid off last year.  It really sucked.  I was working for a company that was having financial problems and they had to make cuts.  I was one of them.  I did a good job, showed up on time, was nice to everybody, and was all around a good employee.  I still got canned.

Losing a job sucks, but I think everyone should go through it once in their lives.  It helps to put things into perspective.  I had been worried for years about losing my job.  I didn’t know what I would do if I lost it.  I thought my whole life would fall apart.  It didn’t of course.  I was unemployed for a while, but I found something.  Everything worked out in the end.  It may take longer for some people, but things will work out.  Even if they don’t, you’ll be ok.

The big thing I realized though is that no amount of worrying would have helped me keep my job.  It was going to happen.  I was a great employee and I still got canned because of “budget changes”.  I wish I wouldn’t have been stressed out about it.  I wish I wouldn’t have been afraid of losing the job.  I could have really enjoyed my time there if I didn’t stress out about the possibility that I might be laid off.  What a waste of time and energy to be stressed for so long.

Just remember that even if the worst possible thing happens and you lose your job, your house, your family, your car, your clothes, and can’t even feed yourself, worrying about it won’t help.  Worrying everyday won’t do you any good.  Be prepared for things, but stop worrying.

Coming soon:  How to prepare for losing your job.