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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October 2020 New Ex-Smokers - Start Here   Quit Buddies Unite

Started 12/26/19 by ModDee; 5258 views.
In reply toRe: msg 5
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.
In reply toRe: msg 6
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 7
Terry (abquitsmking)
Host

Knowledge is power when it comes to beating nicotine addiction for good.  Soak up all of the information you can about what to expect as you heal, and it will set you up for success.

In reply toRe: msg 8
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
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In reply toRe: msg 9
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: writing out 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.

Terry

You are awesome.  You were here 10 years ago when I quit and you are still here helping smokers be non smokers.  Way to go!!!

shatiag

From: shatiag

Oct-24

Hello I have been searching for 5 months on guidance to help me stop smoking I am 5 months pregnant and I am struggling horribly..I feel so awful that I smoke while pregnant.but now I have a little hope no’s that I found this website.I’m still learning it but the posts feel like it will help me get thru this I will be reading more and take advice thank you 

Loreficent

From: Loreficent

Oct-25

Hi there!

Yes, you’ve found a great place for support. This is a perfect time for you to quit! The sooner the better. I don’t want to lecture you on all the bad stuff of smoking while pregnant as maybe that isn’t so helpful. Come hang out and read and post a lot and keep yourself distracted here. You can do this, and I know you won’t regret it. Have you started at the beginning of this thread and read the posts? 

shatiag

From: shatiag

Oct-25

Yes I have I’m still figuring out this site but I will read and reach out I have tried so many things even apps 

In reply toRe: msg 14
shatiag

From: shatiag

Oct-25

Ok I see what your talking I will start from the beginning thank you for having me 

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