This community is open to all who are recovering from nicotine addiction.
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The thought of quitting tobacco is very intimidating for most of us in the beginning, but take comfort in the fact that many others before you have quit successfully and they felt just as nervous as you probably do right now.
Quitting can be done - it's not an overnight event, but if you settle in and invest in the process, you'll be looking back from a place of nicotine-free comfort sooner than you think.
The following list of tips was compiled by ModJenn, one of our long-time mods. You might want to copy it to a place where you can refer and add to it as you go.
0ne year tomorrow. When will the mind games end?
First off, congratulations on a year smoke-free! I'll talk about cravings that still pop up, but want to take a minute to acknowledge your accomplishment. It is no small feat, and regardless of how uncomfortable you might still feel from time to time, a year away from nicotine is huge. Please do something special to celebrate - something that has lasting meaning for you.
About those cravings...can you tell me a little more about what is going on? How often do they occur, what the setting is, etc. Also, what is your mindset about smoking? Do you miss it, long for it, or are the cravings more like triggers that pop up with certain activities?
Nicotine addiction creates so many associations that become hardwired over the years, and recovery is a combination of putting the time in to heal, and proactive mental adjustments to change the way we think about cigarettes.
Getting rid of lingering/nagging urges to smoke is a process. Don't be discouraged and don't give up.
If you can give me some details on what you're feeling, I will try to help.
Congrats again on a YEAR!!!! SO GREAT!
The internal chatter in our minds when we first stop smoking can be non-stop. The voice inside is bargaining and desperate, but if you can find a way to block it out, it will fade away in time.
For me, it was just about three weeks of constant noise. I'd wake up thinking about smoking, go about my day planning how and when I'd buy a pack and somehow end the day smoke-free. It was exhausting, but it did let up and it will for you, too.
Gotta go through it to get through it.
Education about what to expect is key. Read, read, read and post! The folks here will be happy to hear from you and help in whatever way they can.
Nicotine withdrawal can include a whole host of symptoms. Take a look at the following article to get an idea of whether what you're feeling is related to smoking cessation or not.
When you first quit cigarettes, it may feel as if every waking moment is consumed with one thought and one thought alone: the urge to smoke.
If you pay close attention though, you'll notice that most cravings last only around three to five minutes. They tend to come off the blocks strongly and decrease gradually until they're finally gone.
Early cessation is no walk in the park, regardless of how much we might want to quit. It's easy to quickly lose sight of why we're here and why we should push through the tough stuff.
ModDee wrote a valuable message when she reached five years smoke-free. Please read it and keep going. The bad days will give way to a freedom that is well worth the work it takes to achieve.
In the world of early smoking cessation, five years can seem to be light years away; an eternity, especially when you’re a stressed out newbie trying to make it through another day smoke-free, one hour, or even one minute at a time.
The past five years for me has meant five years of freedom.
Five years of gratitude.
Five years of living the abundant smoke-free life that I was meant to live.
Five years of walking shoulder-to-shoulder, hand-in-hand with my fellow travelers seeking freedom from nicotine addiction.
Five years with the awesome privilege of sharing life experiences with open-minded, non-judgmental people from the world community.
Five years of enjoying the diversity of our various cultures, nationalities, ethnicities and the often amazing wit and wickedness of our sense of humor.
Did you know that we are the lucky ones? We are lucky because, through our struggle to quit smoking, we are empowered to make a difference; empowered to save lives, including our own; empowered to find joy in working our special magic each day in this special place, one post at a time.
What a marvelous journey this has been and continues to be.
My First and Only Quit Attempt...
Sadly, I was too much of a coward and too fearful to try quitting sooner. I found this forum two weeks after I'd quit smoking. As a naïve newbie, I reasoned that if I could keep from smoking for five years, I’d probably be cured, free to live life without cigarettes and smoking. Little did I know then that my freedom would arrive so much sooner. I believe that subconsciously it has continued to be my personal litmus test even after realizing going into my second year, I’d never smoke again. This five-year achievement is my final affirmation.
I quit smoking cold turkey after 32 years of smoking close to two packs a day. I was angry, and sick and tired of smoking. I absolutely hated it. This anger fueled my desire to quit.
Good fortune shone on me during my early weeks of smoking cessation. A little sunshine managed to seep through, just enough to lift the severe brain fog a bit for me to really get it -- "it" being to never look back, never fantasize about the "good cigarette" and to never, ever entertain the junkie mind game of believing I could smoke just one cigarette. This is not to say that this revelation made quitting tobacco easy. No, it didn't by any stretch of the imagination, but it did give me a solid foundation from which to build my quit program.
With the help of this forum, build on it I did! One day at a time turned into months, and then years. My resolve was cemented with each milestone, opening a whole new world of peace and freedom to me, for which I am eternally grateful.
Keeping my memory green and not falling into complacency is easy to do, even after 5 years. The brain fog was intense and the mental cravings were relentless for the first 3 to 5 weeks -- not something you just forget about.
After whining a bit about "When will it end..." and, "I’d like to go just three days without thinking about quitting cigarettes every waking moment", one of the oldies, who shall remain forever nameless, advised me to try and relax into my quit. She said to visualize the cravings rolling over me in waves and to understand that these cravings are an indication of my body re-adjusting and healing itself. This was a true light bulb moment for me and directly led to my salvation.
Education about nicotine addiction became a powerful tool for me. I read everything on this forum that was available to me. I learned that cravings and urges would only last a few minutes.
I know this part may sound a little weird and unbelievable to those of you just starting out, but I found that I started to embrace the challenge of the process of recovery from nicotine addiction. The real fun began when I made a game of it. I analyzed my triggers and devised strategies to deal with them. The joy of seeing my strategies work was powerful reinforcement for me and lifted my self-esteem tremendously. It was also during this time that I developed my personal mantra...
· "I don't care what happens today, nothing and no one can make me smoke.”Friends: Five years later, my blessed reality is that smoking is just something I used to do and will never do again. I don’t have any special insight other than what I consider my personal perspectives, my version of th