I have been reading this forum over the past 7 days and it has really helped me to cope with and understand the symptoms I have been experiencing, so I have decided to add my story.
I became a non smoker for the third and final time on the 27th of June 2011. I like all smokers was in denial about who was in control of my addiction, I thought I chose to smoke when in fact like everyone that has ever been addicted to smoking, I was a slave to it. I am 26 years old and I have been smoking for 10 years of my life and I like everyone else here enjoyed it. I believed that it calmed me down and allowed me to deal with anything that life threw my way when in fact what I have been doing for 10 years is slowly poisoning myself to death. I shouldn’t be struggling to walk up a hill at my age what have I done to myself?
I have been thinking about quitting for a while now however the fear and anxiety that comes when thinking about the rest of your life without that one thing that has been constant for so long makes days turn into weeks and weeks to years. We have all felt this and then lit up another cigarette to make the feeling disappear! The sad thing is though, that cigarette is the thing that is making you feel that anxiety not relieving it. This is the first thing you have to deal with when quitting take control of it and do not fear it; it is your first step to recovery.
Before you quit learn to hate smoking, look at videos on YouTube, research what it is doing to you on the internet. We all know smoking is bad for you but do you really know everything that that filthy tar and chemical ridden death stick does to you, and how long your body will take to recover from what you have been doing to yourself. Also research the withdrawal symptoms of smoking (This forum is amazing for that) learn everything you can about what to expect and how to deal with it when it happens. This is the best piece of advice I can give you, knowledge is power, add that to your new hatred of smoking and your reinforced will power from your knowledge and you are ready to stop.
Have your last cigarette in a ritualistic way. Even as you smoke it think about what it is doing to you how it has been controlling you for so long sapping away your energy and your life. Say goodbye to it and realise that it is no longer friend but enemy. It now reminds you of everything you hate in the world you are now in control and are free.
Dispose of all your smoking paraphernalia you don’t want any extra triggers lying around.
I know it sounds a bit strange but it will help you cope with the cravings if you convince yourself to hate smoking.
I am now going to switch this to a day by day diary of what I have experienced.
Day 1 Cold Turkey.
I have taken a week off work to start this as I am aware from my research I am going to be tired and irritable and as I work in sales I am liable to snap at a customer, not a great career advancing move.
I have a nice lie in and wake up relaxed and determined.
It feels weird to go into my front room with my breakfast without seeing my ashtray on the coffee table but instead five packs of chewing gum. I eat and there it is as always the nicotine monster has woken, where is my hit? I ignore it and chew some gum.
The same thing happens a few times during the first day but I am still feeling strong. I remind myself why I am doing this and that I am no longer a slave building a tobacco company’s CEO a nice beach house somewhere.
I am also drinking lots of water and cranberry juice to flush all of the toxins out of my system.
I feel a little edgy but I am coping. I have made sure that I am prepared and I know where I have fallen before, knowledge is paying off.
Day 2 Cold Turkey.
I notice that I feel stronger than any other time I have quit. I am not taking any NRT this time and I have an app on my phone that lets me know that my “sudden death” risk has lowered always good right.
I follow the same routine as day one. When the nicotine monster has a tantrum I chew a piece of gum and ignore it. I am a little bit more irritable, however thinking about how disgusting smoking is helps. I can be angry at smoking not the people I encounter.
I notice that I want to eat fatty foods but I have already prepared for this by upping my exercise routine and accepting that I can lose any weight I gain when my energy levels return to normal.
I read this forum and the one thing that stands out for me is this.
Withdrawal symptoms are not your body craving nicotine or smoking it is in fact your body healing itself.
A great way to look at it.
Day 3 Cold Turkey
I wake up late I am experiencing the tiredness that I have read about. I also have a haze in my head like I am drunk on oxygen. It’s a good feeling though.
Today is the day that the last bit of nicotine leaves my body for good. I drink lots of water and chew lots of Gum. Keep yourself hydrated it will help a lot even though no one seems to know why.
The morning and afternoon pass fine however the evening becomes a living hell.
No matter what I do I can’t get rid of the thought of smoking it’s almost like my body says “alright enough now, you have had your fun now give me what I want”.
But I don’t I eat too much yes and I am sat here talking myself out of it aloud on my own (strange I know but it helped). I remind myself that I don’t want to have to go through those three days again so I man up and fight it head on. “You will not beat me I am in charge here”
I go to bed and can’t sleep dreams are getting weird to lots of smoking dreams.
Day 4 Cold Turkey
I wake up and I am rewarded for my strength yesterday with energy, I feel amazing today. I spend 3 hours in the gym and I am bouncing around all day. The nicotine is gone now the healing can begin and I have a stronger resolve to quit then I did when I started.
Remember every time you fight the craving and win your brain chemistry changes. Fight it enough and you will be free of the anxiety and fear of your addiction.
Not many cravings again until the evening. This is when I used to smoke the most so I knew the habit and the addiction would combine into strong cravings but I fight it. I look at videos on YouTube I read reports on lung cancer I reinforce the hatred I built up at the beginning of my quit. It will not beat me this time.
Day 5 Cold Turkey.
Today is weird I had so much energy yesterday but today I feel down and lost. I was expecting this feeling as well after all I was losing a friend as one website put it. This is another healing mechanism I am grieving my loss. My Brain thinks that this feeling will make me smoke when it asks for its hit but I understand what I am feeling so I will not be tricked into putting that rubbish back into my body.
I don’t get such a hard time during the evening. I crave but it is nothing like it was before.
My brain is trying to trick me now though. You know how you used to reward yourself with a smoke after completing a task “ I will just do this and then I will have a fag” (sound familiar!) well this is where my cravings are at now no longer constant but in those gaps that I used to light up.
It is getting easier
Day 6 Cold Turkey
I wake up nervous as I know that tonight I am going out and I will be drinking. This is where I always fail, it is how I began smoking and the relationship in my head between alcohol and smoking is deeply rooted.
I could shy away from this as four of my friends smoke and I know this is going to be difficult but I take up another piece of advice I got from this forum.
Attack this head on you have actions that you associate with smoking. The quicker you begin to break the links between the two actions the faster you will heal. You don’t want to not drink, get through a month of not smoking and then have a beer and you are puffing away again.
I am outside at a carnival all day and there are people lighting up all around me including some of the people I am with. THIS IS HELL.
It would be so easy to smoke right now; this is my first real test.
I enjoy the carnival in stages going from high to low but I do not smoke. I get quite drunk and I want to smoke but still I do not smoke.
I take to being that self righteous ex smoker and annoy my friends that smoke with all of the facts I have learnt about how deadly it is etc. I now know why ex smokers hate smoking so much, you have to so you can quit for good. I do not apologise for this as I am making the smart choice.
Spouting these facts is more about me convincing myself not to smoke not convincing them stop.
Just one last thing the cough began today and my sense of smell returned.
Day 7 Cold Turkey
Woke up with a hangover to which my normal response is a cigarette. I drank a lot of water took ten deep breaths and put some gum in my mouth.
I am so proud of myself that I didn’t smoke yesterday so why would I want to smoke today. It is getting easier and by the end of today according to the app on my phone the physical dependence on nicotine will be gone.
I am winning and I never thought I would get this far.
Added to my feeling of success I coughed up some black stuff this morning WHY DID I START SMOKING IT IS DISGUSTING!!
As a summary of week one I would recommend cold turkey. NRT prolongs the pain go clean and free yourself quicker. I still have a way to go but this time I will do it I am in control.
Every smoker feels guilty about smoking. You think you choose to smoke, you don’t. You are a drug addict, hooked on a drug that kills more people every year than any other. Stop now choose life, do it for yourself.