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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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September 2020 Ex-Smokers    Quit Buddies Unite

Started Aug-31 by Terry (abquitsmking); 10986 views.
In reply toRe: msg 15
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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.

The Pros and Cons of Cigarette Smoking

From 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:

  • The bonding I experienced with other smokers.
  • The feeling of creating a ritual.
  • Watching the cigarette burn and watching the smoke swirl.
  • Momentary gratification.

What I Hated about Smoking:

  • The after-smell on my clothes, furniture, car, house, everything. Yuck.
  • Not being able to breathe properly.
  • The constant nagging cough. All day, all night.
  • Lots of phlegm, lots of throat-clearing and losing my voice mid-sentence.
  • Painful heartburn every night and every time I drank coffee.
  • Feeling winded after extremely mild activity.
  • Severe throbbing headaches, occasional migraines.
  • Lingering colds and bronchitis.
  • Racing heartbeat, more sweating.
  • Increased rate of hypertension.
  • Dizziness after smoking too fast or [having] too many cigarettes.
  • Nausea from smoking too much.
  • The constant coppery, ashy taste in my mouth.
  • Yellow skin, teeth and fingernails.
  • Scaly, unhealthy-feeling skin.
  • Anxiety from the fear about what I was doing to myself and the consequences.
  • No relaxation, always feeling in need of something. A constant feeling of not being satisfied.
  • Mini-withdrawals throughout the day.
  • Feelings of shame while spending time with nonsmokers.
  • Not accomplishing tasks because of wasted time smoking.
  • The late-evening/middle-of-the-night trip to the gas station.
  • Going out in bad weather to smoke alone.
  • Feelings of inadequacy and substance dependence.
  • Driving my cat out of the room every time I lit up.
  • Dry mouth and constant feelings of thirst.
  • Coughing so hard that I made myself sick.
  • Trembling hands and fingertips.
  • Fear. Of being unable to quit, of dying an untimely, painful death.
  • The stinging feeling in my lungs when I tried to take a deeper or slower breath.
  • Getting smoke in my eyes.
  • Burning my lips on the filter.
  • Trying to light short butts and feeling my eyebrows singe. Ouch!
  • Re-lighting a previously torched cigarette, so I don't "waste" any tobacco.
  • Overflowing ashtrays, ashes and dust everywhere.
  • Burn holes in my car upholstery and on my clothes.
  • "Will I fall asleep smoking?"
  • "Will I catch something on fire?"
  • Dry, chapped lips.
  • The cost. All that money wasted on ruining my health and well-being.
  • My nails and hair grew very slowly.
  • Smoking fueled my compulsiveness relating to other bad habits, such as nail-biting and binge-eating.
  • Having to reapply my lipstick after smoking.
  • The filthy taste of cheap tobacco.
  • Having to crack the car window in the pouring rain. Wet leg, wet arm, water in my eyes.
  • Tar build-up on windows and furniture.
  • The way my hair and skin smelled.
  • Limited motivation and energy.
  • Spilled tobacco in my purse, on my dresser, on my computer desk.
  • Lighting the filter end by mistake...
  • Dropping a cigarette while driving.
  • Trying to tap my ashes out the car window ... while the window is rolled up.
  • Dropping hot ashes or losing the tip of a cigarette.
  • Oops! Tapped ashes in my drink.
  • Feeling "exiled" in the smoking section/smoking room.
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell.

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

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.

Jatchat

From: Jatchat

Sep-19

Thanks Terry,

There are some useful lessons in this article that I needed  to be aware of.

Kind regards

Anthony

Matipa

From: Matipa

Sep-22

Hello...I have decided to quit smoking 

Jatchat

From: Jatchat

Sep-22

Congratulations on making that decision Matipa, Do you have a plan? I am using patches (NRT) works well for me, read everything you can get your hands on about quitting and post often the support is wonderful here-non-judgmental.

Take care

Kind regards

Anthony

Lubbercat

From: Lubbercat

Sep-24

Welcome and congratulations Matipa.  Read lots and you will understand that we all struggle to get through this.  Read the articles, there are some great people on here and some great ideas.  Check in regularly and let us know how you are doing.  Have you set a date yet?

Matipa

From: Matipa

Sep-24

Hello lubbercat thanks a lot for your welcome...am definitely sure am in a right place!!i have actually started my smoking cessation today.wish me luck 

Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

Thanks for letting me know you've found something helpful there, Anthony. :-)

T.

In reply toRe: msg 20
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host
Will I Miss Smoking Forever?
Question:
I quit smoking seven months ago. I do feel better, and I don't struggle all of the time now, but I still have days when I find myself missing my cigarettes. I sometimes wish I could have just one now and then. At times, the urge to smoke is so intense. I wonder if I'll ever be free of this habit? Will I miss smoking forever?
 

Answer: Think for a moment of your life as a tightly woven piece of fabric. Each thread represents your life events and experiences. And running alongside all of the many "life" threads are threads of a finer gauge. They are so fine in fact, they're impossible to see with the naked eye. Those threads are your smoking habit, and they've become so thoroughly interwoven in the fabric of your life, you find you can't do anything without thinking about how smoking will fit into it.

The associations that we build up over time between the activities in our lives and smoking are closely knit. Once you quit smoking, your job becomes one of unraveling those smoking threads, or associations, one by one. How does that happen? And how long does it take?

Practice Makes Perfect

Recovery from nicotine addiction is a process of gradual release over time.

Every smoke-free day you complete is teaching you how to live your life without cigarettes. Bit by bit, you're reprogramming your responses to the daily events that trigger the urge to smoke. The more practice you get, the less cravings will plague you. Over the course of your first smoke-free year, you'll encounter and have a chance to clear most of the events and situations in your daily life that you associate with smoking.

Seasonal Triggers

Some smoking triggers are seasonal in nature and can create strong urges to smoke months into your quit program. For instance, if you quit smoking during the winter and you're an avid gardener, you could find yourself craving a smoke break the first time you're out digging dirt the following Spring. Thoughts of smoking may hit you with an intensity you haven't felt in months. Don't worry. Once you make your way through the trigger smoke-free, you'll move on with ease.

The first year is all about firsts...experiencing the many daily events in your life smoke free for the first time. And it's all about practice. You built your smoking habit through years of practice. Now, build the nonsmoking you the same way. Practice is a necessary part of recovery from nicotine addiction, so try to relax and let time help you. The more of it you put between yourself and that last cigarette you smoked, the stronger you'll become.

Attitude

There's another step in finding permanent freedom from nicotine addiction that is just as important as practice and time. It involves your attitude. I'm sure you've heard about people who still struggle years and years after quitting. They're the ones who say they "still miss smoking" 20 years down the road. That's a frightening thing to hear, but don't let it throw you. The reason they are in that position has to do with the fact that they never did the work to change what cigarettes meant to them.

Along with using patience and time to help you reprogram your associations with smoking, you must also alter the way you think about your cigarettes. The path to permanent freedom has to do with changing the relationship we have with smoking, and the way to make that mental shift is through education.

As the saying goes...

Knowledge is Power!

In reply toRe: msg 23
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

Taking Back Control - Kevin's Story

I was probably 14 or 15 years old when I became a full time smoker. I blame myself, but peer pressure played a big part. The ones I wanted to spend time with or looked up to (sister, cousins, friends), all smoked. It was cool to smoke, and if I didn't smoke, I wouldn't be one of them.

I smoked for roughly 32-33 years and had a love/hate relationship with cigarettes. I probably thought about quitting with almost every cigarette that I lit, even the ones I loved -- with coffee, with a beer, after eating, etc. As much as I was “enjoying” that cigarette though, there was part of me wishing that I was free from the things.

During my career in the military, every time I deployed, I wanted to come home better. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't.

Maybe I would exercise more, lose weight, gain muscle, quit smoking... Something. But here I was, ten months into a deployment in northern Afghanistan, and I had done nothing to improve myself. Worse yet, I had gained 10 lbs.

But then, the colonel quit smoking and he was making it look easy. Way too easy. Cigarettes had controlled me for over 30 years and this was just enough motivation to get me to give smoking cessation another try. I decided to quit when I finished the last four packs of my carton, and a few days later on May 24, 2009, I put out my last cigarette and went to bed.

I will not lie. I don't think I ever really thought I would actually succeed. I had failed every attempt to quit before and this quit would probably be no different. It was not a matter of “if” I was going to fail; it was a matter of “when”. But, I kept pushing through the urges. The colonel was still doing it, and I was not going to be the first to give in.

I tried nicotine patches for a little more than four days, but I didn’t feel they were helping, and ripped the fifth one off. In my mind, it was me that was pushing through the urges, not the patches. Heck, my mind was my own worst enemy. My mind kept telling me that I would miss smoking forever. But that was the “nicodemon” talking.

Somehow, through determination, I kept going long enough that I started to believe I could do it. I kept thinking to myself, that a day would come that I would not think of smoking every waking minute. I did not look to next week; I worked on today and hoped it would get a little better tomorrow.

I found this forum on the 7th day of my quit. I’ll never know if I would have succeeded without it, but I know it definitely helped. By posting my quit intentions in public, I told everyone reading it that I was going to give this quit an honest attempt. By jumping in and giving advice, I was helping myself as much as I was helping others.

I quit with determination, and a (somewhat) positive attitude. My number one reason to quit was to take back the control from cigarettes and nicotine.

I did it.

It has been over 15 months now, and I DO NOT MISS CIGARETTES. I am thanking myself every day for quitting. I love being free!

Tips from Kevin:

  • Think positive: Know that the uncomfortable feelings you have in the early days of your quit are temporary. You will not always have that “empty” feeling. YOU WILL NOT MISS SMOKING FOREVER. Keep yourself in a positive frame of mind.
  • It gets better: The further I got into my quit, the more I believed in it, and the easier it became. It has been a gradual healing from nicotine addiction.
  • Keep your quit reasons with you in the early days: I also listed out family/friends who quit before me and things to do if I get an urge.
  • Get support: As I said above, a forum full of quit buddies helped me. It kept me honest, and it even kept my quit fun at times.
Most of us quit smoking expecting to fail. Nicotine addiction has a way of stealing our will to try before we've even given it a shot. However, with some determination, education, and a solid support network, this addiction can be overcome and freedom grasped. Kevin's story is a great example of that.

Lubbercat

From: Lubbercat

Sep-25

So, how are you doing today?  Hope all is going well?  I was at home in bed yesterday afternoon with Vertigo so I was not on at all.  

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