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I recently transitioned off the patch and thought I would share my experience to give people who might be interested, a frame of reference, if you will. (Please keep in mind this is just MY experience and not representative of the patch experience in general.)
First things first, I smoked for roughly 18 years and at my heaviest, was smoking a solid pack a day. Due to this amount, I started with the NicoDerm 21mg patch which I planned to use for the recommended time of 6 weeks before transitioning to the 14mg. As with any good plan – it went out the window! Turns out, I am allergic to the adhesive on the patch. While some skin irritation is normal, my skin would remain red and itchy for several days after taking it off. I think this is partly because there are only so many viable options as to where you can stick it! It says between your neck and waist, but any place that the skin bends is not ideal... because of this, I repeated in areas more often than I should (that probably helps explain the reaction!).
Anyway, a few days after starting my quit on NRT, I caved and smoked “just one” which then promptly turned into a pack. A week went by before I buckled back down and gave quitting another try. Luckily, that one stuck!
That patch was a god send for me; it took the edge off quitting entirely! By that I mean, I did not experience any of the symptoms you hear people mention when they go cold turkey – I was not irritable, no mood swings, I was able to maintain my concentration, I had energy, had very few cravings – basically, the whole experience was positive – I was shocked how good I felt! I will admit, I ended up sleeping with the patch on (even though it gave me weird, vivid dreams), I found I was more motivated in the morning when I woke up with it on.
I ended up using the 21mg for 3 weeks. It should have been 4 but I wasted a handful of patches when I relapsed and went back to smoking. Given my allergy, I decided to get off the patches as soon as possible and did not use the 21mg for the recommended 6-week timeline. After a box and a half, I dropped down to the 14mg. I made the switch over the weekend, to make sure I had time to adjust before having to work. I will not lie – I could feel the difference! By that I mean, I was a little more on edge the first day I used the 14mg. So much so, I think I chewed a piece or two of nicotine gum that day. Come day 2 on the 14mg patch, I was back to normal and felt as I did before on the 21 mg – perfectly okay!
I used the 14mg for the recommended 2 weeks, and then over a weekend, went down to the 7mg. This time, I did not notice the difference! I was convinced I would, but for one reason or another I did not! Actually, there were a few days where I forgot to even put the patch on! I took this as a good sign :)
I used the 7mg for 2 days shy of 2 weeks (again, I wanted to stop using them over a weekend to make sure I would be better adjusted for Monday when I had to work again, so I left 2 patches on the table and saved them, just in case I needed them come Monday). I used my last patch a little over a week ago on May 29th – and have remained smoke free and patch free since!
My first weekend without the patch went quite smoothly! I did not feel a difference, and by this time, I had already developed positive habits to keep me busy and smoke free. I will admit, Monday was a little bit tougher… I am not sure if it is because it was a rough day at work, or if it was because what little nicotine was left in my body was leaving. Either way, ultimately, it was manageable and that was the only day I felt that way. The rest of the week flew by and here I am a week later, still smoke and patch free!
So, all in all, I used NRT for 7 weeks and have 8 weeks total for my quit. For me, the patch was a big help – it allowed me the time to overcome my physical addition (hand to mouth), and calm my inner junkie thinking while the nicotine in my system gently decreased.
I hope that if you took the time to read my lengthy post, that at the end, you are encouraged and optimistic that you can have a similar story as well!
Also, if anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! I will do my best to answer them! :)
Congratulations in coming off the patch successfully Eliza! .. And good on you in getting 8 weeks down. YOU GO!!
It's weird because technically it is 8 weeks, but I won't hit the 2 month date until the 10th. Which do you use? Also, I should be honest and admit that I still carry a few pieces of gum with me where ever I go. It is my just in case gum, and I think it is better to be safe than sorry! I wanted to ask, do you wait to chew it after you eat/drink? It says to wait 15 mins, but that seems to defeat the purpose! I don't want to wait! lol
On another note, I was just thinking about you this AM as I did yoga! I have been meaning to tell you, turns out, even before yoga, I was naturally doing a few poses when I stretched! Cactus arms, warrior pose, and another one that the name escapes me right now, are very similar to how I stretched before even knowing it was a "pose". I am really digging yoga, thanks again for the recommendation! :)
Good Afternoon Eliza - no shame in game in carrying the gum. I do not wait 15 mins after I eat .. I rinse my mouth out with water and then take gum immediately after. Still take after lunch and dinner but downgraded to 2MG.
I know what you mean about having been doing poses befote ypu even knew they were poses .. I did that eith a few of them too .. Relaxing child's pose comes to mind.
Have a great day. It is absolutely gotgeous out there today .. So my kind of weather .. Enjoy!
I know that Allen Carr's book says nrt isn't the optimal way to quit, but every time I've made it more than 5 months it was with patches giving me a head start. I love them, because it does take the edge off and it does help me battle the psychological cues to smoke. To each his own, but the patches are a godsend to me. My downfall is anxiety and stress. Note that I do follow the directions precisely when I use them. Anyhoo, I've also found the lozenges to be helpful for those considering that route. Congratulations and well done!
Hi! I am happy about your quit! I hope that you continue to be successful in your quit!
I read this thread and I've read a lot of other material about the best way to quit smoking. I have personally tried every way that I know of at least once, with the exception of the gum. From what I've learned there is no evidence to support the fact that any specific way of quitting is any better than the other.
Now, someone will come on here and provide facts that state otherwise. It's just not true! I can find facts all over stating different things. A person's chances of quitting smoking have nothing to do with the method. It's all about the individual person's mindset. Everyone's quit is different! If your mind is not into the quit, your not going to make it. If you are committed mentally to your quit you will make it, as long as that commitment is kept up.
I quit once using Chantix. It was the longest quit I ever had. Tried it again several years later and couldn't quit at all. It was never about the Chantix, even the first time around, it was about me. I wasn't ready, mentally, to quit the second time. I thought the drug would do it for me. WRONG!
Lastly, I would like to congratulate everyone who has quit smoking, no matter how they did it!
I agree. It doesn't matter what it takes, just quit, that's the important part. I've had a million people tell me a million ways, buy at the end of the day I know that I have to want it. I have to want it so bad that I'm willing to do everything in my power to fight for it.
Your doing fine! If using patches keep you quit, so be it. Whatever it takes.
I have quit so many times in so many ways, I can't even remember them all. But over the last couple of months I came to a conclusion. The only way I'm ever going to beat this addiction is to get my mind right about it. I'm doing alright now, but I still have to take it one day at a time to stay quit. It's all up to me.
A person's chances of quitting smoking have nothing to do with the method. It's all about the individual person's mindset. Everyone's quit is different! If your mind is not into the quit, your not going to make it. If you are committed mentally to your quit you will make it, as long as that commitment is kept up.
Thanks Jeff, well said.
I hear you and feel the same! For me, patches were the way to go as well. I did intend to use them as directed, but due to the allergic reaction, I sped the process up a bit. I also understand what you mean about anxiety and stress, I suffer from both as well. Have you checked out the articles on the verywellmind site? There are a number of articles on there with tips/tricks to help combat those thoughts/feelings, I personally, have found them very helpful. Don't get me wrong, I have not been cured overnight by any means, but now as those thoughts/feelings start to creep up, I have tools to help dismantle them and stay present in the moment I am in.
I haven't tried the lozenges (I still have SO much gum left!) but I have heard good things about them.
Forgive me, where are you now with your quit? Are you using patches now?