This community is open to all who are recovering from nicotine addiction.
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Hello, my name is Megan and I’m on day 13 of my quit. Some background on me is that I had my first smoke at age 16 and I’m now 35. I never smoked cigarettes, always black and mild cigars, and I inhale them. It was a gradual process over the years becoming a smoker. In the beginning, I snuck a couple of puffs with my friend, who introduced me to them, when her mom wasn’t around. I got a head buzz and enjoyed the feeling. Then eventually, and for a long time, I only smoked 1 cigar at the end of my day to unwind. I knew it wasn’t good for me, but didn’t think one a day was too bad. I also never got any noticeable problems from it, like breathing problems. However, in the back of my mind, I did always worry that I might develop COPD or cancer, or something else horrible and possibly die from this. Fast forward to the last two years. It seems as though the onset of COVID is when things started to get really bad. I’ve been binge smoking 4-6 cigars back to back in one night. I’ve also been “trying to quit” during this time too, but seemed to only be able to go 3-5 days before breaking. The longest I ever went was a week and I felt like I was dying. I knew I needed to try something different or the same pattern would continue. So, this time at day 4, when I felt that I couldn’t make it another day, I went out and bought the patches. They have really helped me, but it’s still a struggle. I thought after making it past a week that things would be easier, but it seems like it’s getting harder again. Maybe because there is so much more nicotine in cigars then cigarettes the time line is different, but I still feel uncomfortable all the time. It’s weird that before this quit I would only think of smoking every 3-5 days and now that I’ve quit, I think about it from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.
You are on the right track. Your body is healing and your mind is rebelling at the same time. Your mind is trying to tell you that you want to smoke even though you know you do not. This is the time to re-train the mind. It is as gradual as when you started smoking. Every day, every minute of every day and especially every time a thought to smoke creeps up, you have to retrain your brain that 'no, you do not need or want a smoke'. Try replacing it with something else like exercise, ice cold water and/or crunchy foods (carrots, celery, radishes).
Getting up to day 13 is awesome - you are starting to recover from all those years of smoking. Now is the time to be very vigilant. Don't give in to those thoughts of smoking and your reward will be peace from such thoughts.
Well done and keep up the good fight.
Thank you Anne for your words of encouragement. I really appreciate it. I made it through my toughest day yesterday and didn’t give in! I can’t wait to celebrate being smoke free for 2 weeks tomorrow. I came home yesterday after work to a nice hot bath, instead of a smoking binge. I played relaxing music and took deep breaths. I also exercised for 30 min on my lunch break. I watched tv after my bath and crunched on mints and pretzel rods. I learned that my patch wasn’t stuck very well to my skin when I went to bathe, probably wasn’t getting all of the nicotine from the patch that I was supposed to.
GOOD FOR YOU!! Everyday is a triumph. Distractions are key. Deep breathing works wonders if you have nothing else. Remember that thos cravings only last a couple of minutes.
Pretzel rods are a great for keeping your mouth busy. I also used cherry cough drops here in the office. I get a nice cool air when I inhale after one of those things.
You are on your way to a new non-smoking lifestyle. Keep up the great work and before you know it, you will forget all about smoking. Seriously, totally forget. At first I couldn't believe it but its true. After a few weeks, you start to forget and be a couple of months its practically gone.
We are all rooting for your so keep up posted on how you are doing.
I can’t wait to be on the other side like you are. I still can’t imagine “totally forgetting” about smoking at this point in my journey. What freedom that will be! I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. Thanks again for being here for support.
It will happen. It takes time but, it will happen. Keep up the good fight and you will get there, but only if you do not smoke. Not one puff.
It can be hard at first. Your mind will say "I need a cigarette" even though the rational brain says no. It feels very powerful at first, like you cannot get over it but it becomes easier with time. I'm 5.5 months along, and when the thoughts come, they are much easier to dismiss.
Because of how the nicotine molecule works, it stimulated the same part of the brain that is responsible to learn how to perform basic life tasks like eating or drinking, fight or flight etc. Over time, that part of the brain perceives a Nicotine hit as important as seeking food. This unconscious part of your brain is going through withdrawal and it tries to get you to do the same thing you did before to get the hit it is used to ( cigarettes, cigars, vaping, chewing, however you brain got the fix)
But this knowledge can give you ammunition. You understand these thoughts and realize what they are. You really don't NEED cigarettes to live, you have been indoctrinated into this not only by using nicotine but also by what see and hear in our culture.
When it was so hard at first, I used a line on myself. I would think, ok I really want a cigarette now ,I cant cope without them, but see if I can wait 20 minutes. After all I can always smoke in 20 minutes. If it wasn't getting better I would wait another 20 minutes, and so one. Usually in 20 minutes it subsided to a lever that I did not need tp pry yourself off the door handle. On some evenings when I was itching for one I thought, ok, I can always start smoking. again tomorrow, lets see if I can go to sleep early and see what happens in the morning. It worked for me. Somehow the reassurance that I can always start smoking again if i wanted to, so why. not. wait a. day? a month? a year?
I am 5.5 months in. It is much easier BUT, I sill have to be careful, the only key to beating the addiction completely is to never take another puff again. Keep at it. This poisonous drug to kill you , maim you, take you health away from you, destroying your quality of life.
Keep posting here, it helps.
Today marks one month into my quit. Not my first quit, unfortunately, but I intend to make it my last -- one day at a time! I'm glad you turned to this forum for support -- it has helped me so much during the first horrible weeks of quitting. For me, it has been so helpful to constantly remind myself that I am not my own worst enemy, i.e. a weak person who took up a bad habit and hasn't been strong enough to resist doing it even though I know how bad it is for me. The enemy is the power of the drug we all became addicted to: nicotine. I remind myself that my addiction to nicotine resulted in my brain creating more receptors / pleasure centers that tell me I need the drug in order to be happy or relieve stress. The good news is, the longer I go without nicotine, those receptors go away. Yes, the brain physically changes!! This is awesome for those of us in the early stages who can't conceive of life without smoking. I also lean heavily on the success of all the ex-smokers on this forum. Bless you all! As I mentioned, I've quit before. I recognize that what brought me back, every time, was the decision just to have a puff. So I really take to heart the "NOPE" pledge. Finally -- I want you to know that my quit has already become easier. You CAN do this thing!
That is such a pleasure to hear! I am almost 6 moths in. Things have changed a lot, Im getting a lot more done, I have more energy and I realized I never really enjoyed smoking at all, I was just addicted to nicotine, and fell pray to tobacco companies ploys to make smoking seem like the bad/cool thing to do. Another factor is my smoking friends, we lolled each-other into a comfortable denial. I still have the same friends and I do not preach, it doesn't help anyways. I just chose to stop. Do I get cravings sometimes? yes. Not when I see someone smoking interestedly enough. My brain all of a sudden is triggered, but it's not really me, it's an instinct what was formed during the age of 15 to 48, in that part of the brain you were talking about. So I just get over it and it goes away.