Formerly known as the About.com Smoking Cessation support forum, this community is open to all who are recovering from nicotine addiction.
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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
The following essay was written by Michelle, one of the moderators for our great forum. Her perspectives are right on the mark - quitting tobacco truly is a process over time. Release from nicotine addiction comes bit by bit, so try to relax and put some time between you and that last cigarette you smoked. The freedom you'll gain is worth every bit of work you put into your quit program.
I see that there are quite a few struggling right now, and I wanted to offer my perspective for what it’s worth. I was visiting with my mother today, who is a smoker, and I found myself trying to think of the right words to help her see that she could quit smoking if she wants to.
I think many of the veteran ash kickers will know what I’m talking about when I say that I wish I had the words to express the depth, the magnitude, of freedom from nicotine. I also wish there was some kind of pill that the newly quit could take to fast forward 6 months or so to a time when nicotine recovery is much more manageable.
The truth is this…there is no substitute for time.
We have a lot of fun here sometimes, but those who have significant smober time do not forget what this forum is all about. I see that some are concerned about how much time they spend here, and I want to say, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! Every post you read, and every post you write is an investment in your future. If your loved ones are missing you and letting you know it, please tell them that you love them enough to devote everything you have to make sure that you can spend as much time as possible with them.
This is your life you are saving, and it’s not easy.
So, it’s true that people quit smoking every day without the benefit of this forum. I believe, though, and I can’t imagine who would disagree, that support is vital to smoke-freedom for most. The articles that you can access from the site home and the posts here will reinforce your resolve. Education is key and essential for long-term success.
I’ll say it again…quitting smoking is not easy. It’s exhausting at times, and there are mood swings and minds games, and it is all part of the process of becoming someone who is not a slave to cigarettes.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but is it easier that living with or dying from a smoking-related illness.
It can be tiring, but not as tiring as chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
It takes some effort, but not as much effort as it takes some to try to take their next breath.
If you are in your 20’s or 30’s and think you have decades to smoke before you do any real damage, please think again. It is about perspective, and as you progress through this process, your perspective will change. Mine has…for the better and forever.
We have become a society who demands instant gratification, and patience has gone by the wayside. I believe some things are still worth waiting for, and I KNOW that smoke-freedom is one of them. The veterans who stick around here do so because we know how great it feels to be smoke-free. It does get better, and it does get easier, and you owe it to yourselves to give yourselves however long it takes to feel good about being smoke-free.
So…rant, whine, scream…whatever it takes to get you from where you are to where you want to be, but PLEASE DON’T SMOKE! I promise that quitting smoking will not kill you, and if you let it, it can even be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.
Quitting smoking will not kill you, that puts the message into perspective, great stuff
Thanks Terry for the posts, all valuable info.
As ex-smokers are fond of saying, cigarettes travel in packs. Research shows that ex-smokers have an increased likelihood of a smoking relapse when there's greater exposure to other smokers in social situations, work, or at home.
If you decide to go ahead and smoke just one, chances are you'll be back to smoking as much as you used to before long. Don't kid yourself that you can control nicotine once you get a taste of it. It just doesn't work that way for nicotine addicts. The only way to keep the beast at bay is to keep nicotine out of your system.
Most, if not all long-term smokers, have a love/hate relationship with cigarettes. From the moment we awake in the morning until we lay our heads down on the pillow at night, cigarettes punctuate each and every activity of our daily lives.
When we decide to quit, untangling the associations we've built up over a lifetime of smoking takes conscious effort; something that smoking cessation forum member Zoe illustrates beautifully below.
In her list of pros and cons, Zoe stands back and takes a critical look at her old smoking habit. A powerful exercise in stepping out from behind the smoke screen that nicotine addiction forces us to live behind, a pros and cons list allows us to uncover the truth about our relationship with smoking. From there, the work of healing can begin ... as it did for Zoe.
I made a list of what I liked about smoking vs. what I hated about smoking ... and though I really missed it at first, looking at this list made me see that I didn't like smoking as much as I thought I did.
What I Liked about Smoking:
What I Hated about Smoking:
Maybe you should sit down and make a list like this for yourself. It might give you the nudge towards where you know you want to be.
Zoe is right: crafting a list of pros and cons is a great way to open our eyes about what smoking means to us and build motivation to kick this killer addiction to the curb once and for all.
There is no time like the present to make the changes you dream of a reality in your life. Don't give another day of your precious life over to smoking -- quit now.