Heal My PTSD
4,754 members8,157 posts

I very recently just started smoking again after having quit many months ago. Is this going to hinder recovery?

Hey there

I quit smoking many months ago. Now what have I done? Started again. It's been a stressful time, and literally everyone I know at the moment smokes like a fucking 20th Century Cruise Liner.

Already I feel unhealthy. That said, when I get really stressed I can smoke a cigarette... But I'm not sure if I'm just getting that stressed because of the cigarettes.. I don't remember being this stressed a few weeks ago (I'm back to smoking like, 15 a day), but it has been a stressful time, especially with lectures back on, and then well, idk, day to day PTSD.. Yeah the whole thing's just quite a lot to deal with.

Do you guys know, is smoking going to be a big detriment to me? I could probably force myself to stop if I REALLY tried, but in the same way heroin addicts are encouraged to keep smoking when in rehab, are PTSD people encouraged to do the same?

Many thank yous, have a great sunday! The slowest, calmest day of the week!

13 Replies

I would try hypnosis tapes and maybe those patches if you can. It is not good for the lungs so if there is any way to lower it and stop, I would try . Even if it takes some time.

I eat, so I get it. I eat for the same reason, anxiety, torture of PTSD, things so difficult. We all seem to have something, drinking, etc.

I am trying to replace eating in the same way. It takes time, mistakes, perseverance.

I think it is important enough to try to stop for your health, just baby steps. Like me, and if we mess up, it is ok, gentle on ourselves. PTSD is torture and so very difficult.

And definitely the Buddhist meditation center when you can. I am still working on this for me. I hear you and struggle with food in the same way, I eat to relax when things are so stressful and I cannot seem to find relief sometimes.


Thanks :)

I'm sorry to hear you eat, I eat also :/ not my main vice, but it's there.. Fortunately I exercise enough to keep the serious weight off, but it's not great behaviour..

What is it that you eat? Healthy stuff or junk food? Every now and then I swap my diet to pretty much full vegan, raw, organic etc. and that usually reduces the total amount I eat greatly.. Then with time I have one or two 'treats' which is when it gets out of control and back to snacking on whatever junk I've been buying or crave..

The Buddhist centre definitely helps with this massively! It was because of there that I quit at all.. Weirdly I found it very easy too.

One piece of advice that really helped me with this stuff (though not indefinitely as you can tell) was to not try to fill that void, when you get the need to fill it with food/whatever, but instead to just let it sit there, and accept it as part of you. Eventually when you do that and become comfortable with it, you should become very content with life, even if only briefly.

I don't really know too much of the ins and outs of PTSD as I'm still kinda learning what does and doesn't apply to me in a psychiatric sense, but in reflection of the last few years, and my knowledge now, it feels like I'm afraid to feel anything, happiness included, and when I feel emotions at all, it's like I have to very gently expose myself to them, like submerging myself into very cold water, very slowly allowing the next section of my body to become acclimatised to the temperate, before the next can go in. Sadly I don't have the balls to just dive. I mention this because when I let that void sit open for a little while, it slowly allows this process to take place. It takes great time, but eventually, it feels like (but I do not know for sure, this whole thing is uncharted territory for me) I'll be safe to be fully submerged and comfortable with the cold water being everywhere, and then one day, there'll be no void to fill, because my emotions will fill it

..if that makes sense.

1 like

yeah, it totally makes sense. I feel only God can fill that void. I connect with God in silence and nature most easily.

See for me, I can meditate if it is totally quiet. On a mountain, or in a meditation center surrounded by nature and quiet. Near a stream.

I need that right now for my practicing.

Somehow, with PTSD and cars at home, it just is not conducive.

There is a spiritual meditation center across town, I may have said that, with retreats. I will go when I can. Working on looking for a small cottage in the country, like I said.

Whatever you choose to try to stop smoking, I support you and this is such a supportive site, so you can do it! I guess we need to keep trying even if we slide, just try again.

I do crave junk food to fill that void. And just food in general, when I am not hungry at all. Other times like for lunch, I had tofu sandwich and kale. I do love cake as a reward :)

I will eat it sometimes to fill the void. But I want to stop doing this too.

So I will be trying too to replace it with meditation, a walk on the mountain etc.

1 like

Hi thnksbodn,

I am really sorry that you started smoking again. I know how stressful PTSD is. I would recommend trying to find other more healthy coping mechanisms, maybe mindfulness or having a hobby, depending on what interests you have.

I don't smoke so I can't give you much advise about effects on PTSD. The effects on health are well known. It is very hard to stop, especially during stressful times but if you are interested, here are very good HU communities that can help you with that:

Quit Support healthunlocked.com/quitsupp...

No Smoking Day healthunlocked.com/nosmokin...

All the best.


1 like

Thank you for this, and these resources too!

I'm hoping to get back into going to the gym regularly, and various other sports, smoking will hinder this so greatly that I'll have to choose one over the other, and it ain't gonna be smoking!

1 like

Giving up smoking was harder for me than almost anything else I've done. It was one of my biggest feeling stuffers, so yes, I can imagine it will get in the way of your recovery.

BUT - the main thing I'd suggest is to not beat yourself up for reverting to smoking. That remorse only made me feel worse, and I sure didn't need that. Be gentle with yourself, and like peacefulandcalm said, give yourself credit for baby steps!

During really stressful point in your life is not a great time to try to quit, and if now's just not the right time, honor yourself for that decision. :)


This is good advice, thanks!

I find it so hard to be gentle with myself, it's amazing. Every few weeks, I'll occasionally find the gentleness I need, and treat myself with the love I need to get through, and it's beautiful. I wish I could express that towards myself, and towards others at all times. I could once upon a time ago. Wow how things change.

I'll be sure to honour my decision, lets hope I make a healthy one :)

1 like

You're very welcome!

Boy do I relate - tough for me to be gentle with myself as well!

Good for you to honor where you are! :)

1 like

Smoking is another way that people can take a nice, deeeeep, breath. And with eating, the body has to relax certain muscles in order to swallow, plus release of serotonin if you eat carbs which relaxes the body. So these are both two strategies for calming the body.

These are not bad I guess in themselves it's just when we make them the only way we calm our body that it can be a problem - especially when they create problems themselves. So (and this is something I am having to do consciously myself!) you have to introduce other self calming practices during your day. Whether it is music, dancing, walking, exercising, eating low gi foods to help control blood sugar, meditating, painting whatever works for you and have a mix of them all. Maybe there are 3 things that you do every day. It is hard when you are just used to sitting in frozen terror like I have a habit of doing, but I hate not sleeping well so I do it so I can sleep better. If that makes any sense?

For eg my three are music, exercise and talk with a friend. Even if I only do 2 of those, and I have a second glass of wine with dinner it's not as bad as if I did none. They are all helping me calm down but when I can do more of the other practices then I don't need to rely on alcohol or food or binge watching tv.

But make a commitment because you want to transform your life. Transformation rarely happens in a magic moment. It takes a lot of work and commitment.

Just know that the smoking and eating is just one calming thing you do - so add other calming things to get more control over your anxiety/stress.


This has really helped me! And to some extent I did it!

I went four days without smoking... And then I started again as soon as the weekend came and I had a drink. Ah well. I've proven I do have the will power, I just need to find healthier habits on the weekend (drinking really makes me anxious in the morning actually, it's just a shame I'm a student and that's the culture).

I'll try distraction!

1 like

Hi, try not to beat yourself up too much for starting smoking again. Something probably just snapped in you and it was what you felt you needed at that time.... . I'm lucky that I've never smoked, so am not really in a position to advise. All I know from friends who smoke that it is very addictive and they say you have to pick the right time for you to give up. Not sure where you live, but you could try a smoke stop clinic. Just one step at a time though.... Could you try those ecigarette things??

Like other people have mentioned In their replies - maybe some things to distract you. Exercise, hobbies, etc. You may laugh but I find jigsaws really therapeutic!! And completely distracting :-)

Try to be gentle on yourself ( I know this is easier said than done!!)


I'm hoping to get back into exercise, that usually makes the smoking seem as unhealthy as it is.

In a way I hope you're right that something clicked in me though.. When something like that clicks, I like to think that's a step forward, I'm not stagnant, I'm processing my emotions.

Thank you for this! You be gentle on yourself too :)


Yeah, a bit of exercise may be good. When the time is right you may feel you want to give up smoking again.

Good luck

Yes, let's try and be kind to ourselves x


You may also like...