Psychological effects

Ok, I have decided to give this forum one more chance.

I am in day 40 of my quit today and I think I must be free from any form of physical dependency. However, I am noticing that I am experiencing some side psychological effects.

Smoking is cool – You are no longer smoking – You are no longer cool – this is an example of the thoughts I am having, which I have trouble getting rid of. The reason is that, for example, when I walked to a girl in bar, trying to look cool, I would light a cig. Now, after 13 years of smoking every time I wanted to look cool, I have trouble even FEELING cool when I don’t smoke. That is why when I notice a woman I want to talk to, I subconsciously try to look cool, but I can’t since I am not smoking and I feel I am missing something and that gets me nervous and I want to smoke even more. (that is where the craving story about the girl in my job came from). I know that I am not missing anything – on the contrary, even adding a lot of things, but its hard ending 13 year habit without even replacing it with another.

Another - I’ve read about that somewhere, but I am experiencing the same problem. When people smoke they often “reward” themselves with a cig after a job well done. I am sure that most of you are the same. For example when I was in sales, I used to smoke every time I managed to pitch a client. That translates to much smaller aspect of our life as well – for example “rewarding” yourself for waiting patiently at the buss stop, “rewarding” yourself after sex, “rewarding” yourself for driving home from work. The first 10 days in my quit I started to reward myself with something sweet on every occasion, however I quickly dropped that habit because I realized that I would get fat very fast. This is not a very big problem for me though, because when you are rewarding yourself you are happy – and I think being happy and positive are our strongest weapons against the smoking addiction.

Last but not least, I am having the hardest time not smoking when I am angry. I miss the relaxing feeling of smoking a cig, all by yourself, concentrating on only it, while forgetting the reason you get angry about. For example, last weekend my mother came to visit me. All things were fine on Saturday, but on Sunday I went out and when I came back I found that all my stuff were – that’s what she said – “organized”. My underwear was organized, my cards and letters from girlfriends were organized, my boxes of ehem “protection” were neatly organized. When I found that I was so “happy” that I started a boxing match with a concrete wall, thinking how “clever” I must be for not locking my bedroom. Even though I’ve managed to stay smoke free for so long I would have smoked if someone offered me. However, I avoided all smoking places and stores and managed to keep this quit going. This is the most dangerous psychological trap – getting really angry and thinking a cig would calm you down. There is nothing calming in poisoning yourself and increasing your heartbeat when you are angry but still the habit stays.

These are the three main psychological effects I’ve noticed in myself since I quitted smoking. However, I am unyielding in my decision to keep being persistent and find new ways to look cool, reward and calm myself.

7 Replies

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  • Hi Ninetails

    I think I’m just one day ahead of you but I know exactly what you mean. I started smoking to look ‘cool’ and then carried on because I thought it was my way of rebelling against motherhood, suburbia, life in general etc. etc. I now realise I didn’t look ‘cool’ or ‘exciting’ at all and I’m sure people just thought I looked stupid, smelt foul and was anti-social for having to leave bars/restaurants and stand outside. On my last trip abroad I was really worried about sitting outside having a drink at a pavement cafe surrounded by all the ‘cool’ people smoking but the truth was they all looked a bit sad & desperate and I didn’t envy them at all. Maybe if you asked these women you are trying to impress whether they fancied you more with or without a fag in your hand you might be surprised by the answer!

    The ‘reward’ thing and the ‘anger’ thing are still a struggle for me but, it’s early days for us and the fact we have managed to get through stuff like that without caving-in is a brilliant sign that we are not real smokers anymore?!

    One month, one week, five days, 16 hours, 47 minutes and 19 seconds. 1280 cigarettes not smoked, saving £448.34. Life saved: 4 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes.

  • nice post :) i'm with you on the cool thing, i know smoking is harmful and there is no way i want to start again, but it does have a cool image still for me, i think because we knew (subconsciously?) as smokers that the cigarrette would attract the kind of people we wanted to attract, and keep away the ones we didn't (cool!!).

    one of helen's posts got me thinking that i could get the kind of cool i wanted from starting to pay more attention to the way i dress, and to a large degree this has been working for me, i spend more time choosing my clothes and style, so when i walk into that bar... more attention :D

    for anger can i suggest exercise, something full on, but much better than punching concrete (which i have done, or at least the fridge, still has the dent in it, water under the bridge now though :O:))

  • sounds familiar to me...different stages in you quit bring different issues..you

    gotta get through it!...these things are temp and you will see the light at the end of the tunneL!! CONGRATS ON YOUR QUIT TIME!!

    we have to learn how to live and do things and feel things without smoking and then it becomes easier..we have to retrain our brain and that takes time and patience but it will happen so keep the faith and keep working hard at it and it will pay off!!

    you have been smoking for years..do you think that it becomes so easy in 40 days?? no..but it will get better--so keep it up and continue to fight the fight. its much cooler to be healthy and live longer then kill yourself slowly and destroy your body! good luck!!

  • Hey,

    Look, Im on day 9 - minor craving which is why im hear (thank god for the patch) or I'd be smoking most likely..lol. Anyway, change the way you feel about whats cool. Im 34 and a female whos quitting, hell I dont view guys who smoke as attractive at all. It seems like a dumb choice to smoke. Find something cool to replace the ciggarette. Look for something your passionate about that excites you, ciggarettes are a stimulate and depressant. It could be a religion, music, athletics, nature, sports. If you think about it, your SO much smarter and attractive for quitting. I had quit smoking when I was 23 (patch help) stopped for 4-5 years, went back when I had a tragedy (everyone smoked to deal with it). I am at a point where I am determined to quit.

  • Just to make myself clear, I don't think smoking is cool. Since I quited I have more energy, I smell great, my teeth are shining (I even rewarded myself with whitening at the dentist when I made 1 month) and all of this I would say is really cool.

    Its the habit of smoking a cig every time I wanted to look cool that is bothering me. But I am working on it - as you said I am listening to my favourite music which makes me feel good and I am paying more attention to my appearance.

    Now I only have to figure out what to do with my hands :)

  • ok that's good, and i'm sure you'll figure out the hands bit ;)

    but what about the anger, you need a plan, something that will kick in next time, even something as simple as counting to ten or going for a walk.

    one method that works for me is to automatically apologise to everyone present :):o yes, it's usually my fault that i'm angry!!

  • LOL - do you say "wow, I was sooooo good I'm going to reward myself with a cigarette" ;)

    Yes! hahaha :D :D :D

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