About Smoking Cessation Forum

Hosted by Terry (abquitsmking)

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); 12609 views.
In reply toRe: msg 3
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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In reply toRe: msg 4
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

Welcome!

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.

Quit Toolbox

  • Drink ice water through a straw. Repeat. Drink ice water through a straw. Repeat...
  • Knowledge is power. Read everything you can get your hands on about this addiction. The more you understand about your own addiction to nicotine, the better equipped you become to get through the cessation process.
  • Post on the Forum until your fingers are sore. Post, post, post. 
  • Closely related: Go to the NOPE pledge daily and hold yourself accountable.
  • When you come across posts that inspire and/or strengthen you ~ copy and paste them into a Word document. In this way, you can reread them when you feel wibbly wobbly and are climbing the walls.
  • Distract, distract, distract. (Shhhh.....I would do jumping jacks and by the time I got to about 10-12 I was distracted -- that's for sure. Try puzzles, reading a book, anything that shifts the focus of your thoughts.) More generally, stop whatever you are doing, move, and do something else. The craving will pass.
  • Remind yourself this is a journey and the more time you put between now and that last cigarette, the stronger your quit muscles become and the more you have in your quit toolbox. Take it one minute and hour at at time, if necessary, and the days will keep adding up.
  • Every day you go to bed smoke-free is a good day. Be kind to yourself along the way.
  • What you are experiencing is normal - "this too shall pass".
  • Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Put on lotion.
  • Read your quit reasons.
  • Create a list of all the benefits you are experiencing now that you no longer smoke. Practice gratitude at least once a day for these benefits and life changes.
  • Cinnamon flavored sugar-free gum (even cinnamon sticks).
  • Chai tea (I had to avoid coffee for a while but can drink it now without a problem).
  • Eat healthy snacks, such as carrots or frozen grapes (Some honesty here: I didn't always do so well with this one due to this pesky sweet tooth I developed once I could taste my food again. The good news is that as my quit felt more secure my eating wasn't as erratic.)
  • Protect your quit at all costs by avoiding situations that are high-risk for you, especially in the early part of the quit (e.g., other smokers, alcohol, etc.).
  • Make a plan for handling cravings when around temptation. Do not enter potentially difficult situations without a plan.
  • Remind yourself that it's going to be okay - time is your friend as you relearn every aspect of daily life.
  • Keep a journal to record your journey and it's easier to see how far you have come (It gave me perspective at times when I needed to remember that I may not be where I want to be but I'm most certainly not where I used to be.).
  • Reward yourself for the small accomplishments and the larger milestones (this doesn't' have to involve spending money).
  • Exercise - go for walks, join a gym, just keep moving.
  • Accept and tell yourself (that self-talk we have to turn from negative to positive) that the craving is actually a sign of healing and they will occur less frequently and with less intensity as the smoke-free days add up.
  • Deep breathing -- take 4-5 deep breaths -- fill up your diaphragm and and make your tummy stick out.
  • As ModLisa says: "When in doubt go to sleep". 
  • As ModMic says: "SOME DAYS, IT IS ENOUGH THAT YOU JUST DON'T SMOKE. Some days are crappy from beginning to end, and you can kick, scream, cry, punch something, bite someone's head off...if you did not smoke, you win and a little more healing happened".
  • Visualize a craving like a wave washing over you. The tide does leave. 
  • Tell yourself four things: (1) Smoking is no longer an option regardless of what life throws your way; (2) I am worthy of freedom from this addiction; (3) I can. I will. End of story; and (4) I am stronger than this challenge and this challenge is making me stronger.

0ne year tomorrow.  When will the mind games end?

Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

Hi Lainie,

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!

T.

In reply toRe: msg 7
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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.

In reply toRe: msg 8
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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.

In reply toRe: msg 9
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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.

In reply toRe: msg 10
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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. 

From Dee:

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
...[Message truncated]
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justkee

From: justkee

Sep-12

Wow...powerful message!

In reply toRe: msg 12
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

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.

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