Ok, here goes folks - this is the way I've got through to day 7 after 20 years of cigs!
1) Think hard before (as) you quit. It's an individual thing for every smoker so think about yourself. Not what makes you smoke, but how to stop. I knew (without trying many different quit aids) that the Inhalator would be a good thing for me. I need something that I can stick in my mouth and suck hard on (yes, I do know how that sounds ha ha). I need something to hold and with the inhalator, I can "reward" myself with a new cartridge if the cravings get really bad. For others, it may be the reassurance of a patch, the chewing of gum, the joy in knowing you have the pure willpower to face down the nicotine monster. NLP (hypnotherapy), acupuncture - who knows even those smokeless cigarette things may work (although I've heard that they aren't entirely healthy). Quitting is a duel to the death, but we get to pick the weapons!
2) Quitting comes in stages. Each minute, hour and day can throw up a new and often unexpected challenge. The fundamental rule is... don't light up! Time makes the cravings go - that's a fact. Just get through each second any way you can, try different things and you'll soon find the best way for you. For some people, having someone else there with you is very important. For others being alone works better - try both and see what works best. Remember what made you want to stop in the first place. In strong moments of craving, I remember how unhappy and worried I was when I'd lie in bed at night with sore lungs, how I was embarrassed about going to the doctor or dentist, how my gums were stinging.
3) Enjoy your body recovering! Especially in the first three days, some remarkable things happen. My limbs tingled as oxygen rich blood returned to my feet, my sense of smell started returning, I could go to bed at night thinking "Today, I did nothing unhealthy" for the first time in my adult life. On day seven I'm still getting great physical rewards for having quit. I can feel bits of me that went numb years ago coming back to life, I have colour in my cheeks. I feel and look younger - and that's after 7 days! 7 days v 20 years... the body is a remarkable thing, give it a chance and it'll reward you endlessly for having stopped poisoning it!
4)Remember it's a choice. Smoking takes away your choice. I didn't want to light all those cigarettes - addiction made me light them. I can smoke now if I want, but if it wasn't for the cravings, wasn't for the strange feeling of emptiness, wasn't for the feelings that smoking has imprinted on my habit-forming mid-brain for 20 years, then I wouldn't want to. If I'm thinking rationally, I know the risks of smoking and I would no more smoke a cigarette than play in traffic or plunge a syringe full of heroin into my arm. I don't smoke because I don't want to smoke!
5)Each day gets better. I can't speak for more than the first week, because I'm not there yet. I'll add to these tips as and when more challenges come along. I'm no longer doing what I did on Day One (oh yes, Day One really does deserve capital letters!) and getting through every second, or every minute like on day 2, or every hour like on day three. I don't feel empty and flat like I did on day 4. now I just take it one day at a time and, increasingly, large chunks of each day are spent feeling like my true self - a happier self than when I was smoking. I feel stronger for at least fighting this addiction.
6) "It's not falling down that makes you give up on life - it's failing to get back up". If you do slip up, quit again, as quickly as you can. It's all part of the same process - if it was a game it'd be snakes and ladders! If we were all trapped at the bottom of a pit full of poisonous snakes, and that pit had slippery sides, we'd all be trying our very best to get to the top and out. If we slid back down to the bottom, we'd start climbing again. Smoking is the same, I'm going up those slippery pit walls as fast as I can and along the way I'm going to help everyone possible to escape too.
7) Life stress. Yup that keeps happening. If we are lucky, we have supportive partners to protect us from extra stress and treat us with kid gloves. If we are lucky, we get through the first week or two without anything incredibly stressful happening. But stressful things will happen. Smoking doesn't help these things go away - it just adds another worry to the pile. It makes you do something that could very well kill you so think "Is this stressful situation something that I want to look back on and think 'That thing was so important that I risked my life over it.'" Nothing's worth that...
8)Rewards. Some people count the money they save, others look forward to that future holiday. Many think of the joy of watching their children and grandchildren grow up (I do that one, and I don't even have kids yet). Going on a plane without having to suffer nicotine withdrawal. Not standing outside the pub on freezing January nights. Not having to leave home at silly hours of the day to buy Tobacco. The list really is endless. Also, have something nice to look forward to each day - something for you. Even if it's just a relaxing hour alone in bed to read a book, a warm bath, food, booze (careful with this one in giving up phase :rolleyes:). All bets are off on everything else when we're giving up smoking. It's the best present you can ever give yourself, so treat yourself along the way!
Well that's it for now. I'm off to smoke-free bed and hoping that I'll get through tomorrow. I hope everyone else does too!