(Original Photo from Quit Smoking Message Board)
Tis’ the season for a new you. High hopes of kicking the habit for good for the new year.
I have tried quitting smoking before, but I didn’t know I wasn’t doing it right at the time. I tried quitting and succeeded once for 2 whole years…
Don’t you think I should have said I quit for 2 whole years instead of tried quitting? Well I’ll tell you why I strategically chose my wording on that, because it’s a big deal.
I’ve had numerous small attempts at kicking the habit. Going hours at a time cringing, forcing myself to stay out of the pack I had, only to fail a few hours later and give in. The first time I really tried to quit smoking, I found out I was pregnant with my first son. I knew I didn’t want to smoke while pregnant, even though my mother did with me, and her mother did with her, and so on. I knew they didn’t know better back then and that we know better now. I couldn’t find any reason that I should continue to smoke while pregnant, and I used it as an excuse to finally quit. I tried Nicorette gum, and it worked a little bit, but I felt that I was still missing the physical act of smoking, so I put them away in the closet and gave up for now.
A few days go by, and one of the days, I woke up, saying this is the day. I remember it was some of the hardest days of my life. Wanting to pick up a cigarette and light it… but I did it. I put my mind to it, and I quit. Cold turkey. Or so I thought. I saved my last few cigarettes I had left in my pack, and kept them in my car. I remember that helped a lot. I found comfort knowing they were there if and when I needed them.
It was 2 years, almost to the day that I had stayed smoke free. I know I always wanted to smoke, and still continued to get the feeling of wanting to smoke but sticking to my secession. I wasn’t pregnant anymore, in fact, my son was 1 year old. I didn’t need to watch what I put in my body anymore, and work was getting really stressful. I had to fly alone for the first time for my job, and I gave in. I bought a pack of cigarettes, and once again, just like that, I was a full-fledged smoker.
That feeling once again of instant light-headedness with each pull of the cigarette felt so good and wrong at the same time. I knew I’d love smoking again once I did it, and I knew I’d almost instantaneously regret my decision as well. Why did I go back? What did I hope to gain? I mean, It’s been 2 years and I know I didn’t need it, but now I’d be a slave to the nicotine once again.
Fast forward 5 years later, and I’m still going strong as a smoker. Braving the Winters with standing outside just to get my fix of nicotine. I never smoked inside of my home I should mention, never near the kids. Every morning waking up coughing, saying that I can’t wait to finally quit smoking, and that today might be the day. In fact, I have vague memories of attempting to quit smoking even in my dreams but always failing and giving in.
It was November 2013, once again, I was determined to quit for good. I tried the brand new (at the time) vapor cigarette cartridges and for days, put myself through semi-withdrawal only to find out that they’re not much better for you. I was still a slave to the nicotine, and all I was doing was extending my habit.
I remembered that the Nicorette gum I had tried helped a little bit, and thought that maybe that was just the jump start I needed to really quit this time. I looked through my closet and found the almost full box.This time, I realized that there was a little paper in the box that should’ve been filled out. It said “My reasons for quitting are:” and had blank spaces after it. I looked at the side of the box and realized that the Nicorette gum had expired in 2011. I immediately figured it out. I had to put my mind to it and be stronger then the habit. I could only do it alone, and if I wanted to succeed in quitting, I couldn’t have a crutch like a vapor cigarette or gum.
I ripped the paper off of the box of Nicorette gum, and threw out the box. I filled the paper in and here is the exact paper and taped it to my cigarette pack. If I wanted to get a cigarette out, I’d have to rip the paper with my reasons for quitting on it. It was a subliminal message to myself that I’d be destroying that (literally) if I failed;
It states my reasons for quitting.
#1. My Health, #2, My kids =)
Simple as that. My Health, so that I can be strong and healthy for my kids.
As you can see, I still have this pack of cigarettes. I took this picture yesterday specifically with this post in mind. There are a few in there. The same few that were in there when I quit a year ago and I am damn proud. This time I know it is for good.
I specifically chose to quit before the new year, because it wasn’t just a resolution that I was going to be OK with if I failed. I wasn’t trying to quit this time. I was quitting. And I did.
Here are the steps that are a MUST to make you succeed in quitting in order;
Hint, its mind over matter – that is what these steps are about
- Quit for yourself. No one else. #1 needs to be for yourself which is why I chose #1. My health. It had to be for me so there was no excuse to ruin it. Subconsciously it was for my children, my family, but I wrote it as for me.
- TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Social media is a great outreach for quitting. Not only are you getting support from others cheering you on, you’re also feeling that you let everyone down if you fail, not just yourself.
- Write it down. You don’t need a fancy pre-made template from Nicorette to write down your reason(s) for quitting. Just rip a small piece of paper and write it. Tape it to your pack so that you’d have to rip it open to get a cigarette.
- Be sure to keep some cigarettes. You CANNOT, I repeat CANNOT quit “after this pack” because mentally, you get nervous that there aren’t any there just in case, and you’ll buy another pack. I kept mine in my center console of my car, and even now they’re still there. I learned from the last time I tried to quit that it’s very important that they’re near to you always for mental reasons.
- Start fresh in the morning. You already have those sleeping hours under your belt. Lets say 8 hours for sake of this article. You already have 8 hours smoke free, so hour 1 awake will be 9 hours – you’re well on your way to 24 hours smoke free.
- IMPORTANT NOTE; If you mess up, even 1 puff, don’t lie to yourself. Continue smoking for the rest of that day and start over the next day when you can start with your sleeping hours under your belt. Nicotine physically stays in your blood stream for 3 days. You revert back to hour 1 even with that one puff of nicotine entering your body.
- Remember you WILL be uncomfortable. Don’t try to avoid triggers even with the first hour of quitting. Continue to drink coffee, alcohol, or whatever it is that you’d normally want to smoke with and don’t avoid smokers. This will help avoid future triggers when you’re placed in these situations.
- As you get the urge to smoke, use mouthwash. It’ll help keep your mouth occupied, and the mint flavor will make you feel at ease. Keep in mind the physical withdrawal urge to smoke will alleviate within 15 minutes and come back every hour.
- You cannot tell yourself you are “trying to quit”. There is no trying. There is only quitting or not. It is mind over matter. Your body is telling your brain to smoke. It is telling your brain it needs nicotine. Just like water, or food. It actually feels it depends on nicotine. Rest assured your body does not need nicotine. You will be just fine without it. After the 3 full days pass, it is just a mental withdrawal.
- Remember, you will still always crave the comfort of smoking. You were a smoker. You know you enjoyed it, it was comforting, it was a digestive assistant, and it was something to occupy your down time or social experiences. Remember WHY you quit. Remember what you went through to quit.
It’s been 1 year for me that I QUIT. I am a non-smoker. I still think about smoking more often then not. I no longer have that horrible physical withdrawal, and it is a mental game, I know from experience I am no safe from it. If I were to even take 1 puff, it would catapult me back to the vicious cycle of being a smoker and wanting to quit. I know the statistics and refuse to be one of them. I know this time I quit for me and my children. Not an excuse, but I quit for my LIFE.
I hope that you can take at least some of my tips and some of my store to quit. I am here if you need help, or support. Please leave a message below if you have any questions or just need to talk about your experience.
Good luck! You CAN and WILL do it.
Please let me know if this helped you kick the habit and tell cigarettes to BUTT OUT of your life!!!!