Hello! Well it's been a while since I visited this forum, the reason mainly being that I have been busy and haven't had access to internet all the time. The second reason being that the last 10 days or so have been a breeze - cravings have been few and weak.
I had read several places that week 3 tended to be quite difficult. I didn't really think much of this, but having entered week 3 myself I must say that it is certainly true. First a little summary of my day:
After not having experienced any major difficulty for a while, today (day 18) I've had the worst cravings since day 4. I had an appointment in the evening with a friend of mine who is a smoker. Actually he is probably one of the main reasons I started smoking in the first place, and I knew since quitting that seeing him would be one of the major challenges in my quit.
Throughout the day I could definately tell that my brain EXPECTED to get nicotine. It's a weird feeling; it's like my brain is hardwired to associate my friend with cigarettes, and it kept sending me cravings the entire day to let me know.
Long story short, I managed to not smoke (wasn't that difficult, but cravings on that magnitude are very annoying this far down the line, see below), and I am happy about that.
Setting aside the fact that seeing my friend was my craving-trigger, I think week 3 is difficult for many, for 3 primary reasons:
1) Quitting is no longer "new":
- The rush of self-esteem and happiness you get from quitting cigarettes starts fading. Not smoking becomes routine and normal. Your friends and family no longer tell you how well you are doing or how proud they are etc.
2) You are no longer "alert":
- When you start quitting cigarettes you EXPECT things to get rough. You know that you will physically crave cigarettes badly, and you brace yourself for it. The first two weeks you also expect to get cravings after dinner, in the morning, before you go to bed etc., and you deal with it. In week 3 you don't think about cigarettes very often, you tend to forget that you are trying to quit, untill a craving hits you, this can catch you off-guard. You might get thoughts like "will I ever stop wanting to smoke?", "is this really worth it". What I tend to forget when a craving hits me though, is that I might only think about cigarettes for 30 minutes of a day, the rest of the 23h and 30 mins it doesn't even cross my mind.
3) You start "missing" being a smoker:
- When a craving hits you in week 3, you know it is not a physical urge to smoke, it's a mental thing. At this point you start to wonder, if quitting was a mistake. You don't feel like you are addicted anymore, you just "miss" smoking. Because you only get cravings on rare, special occations, you start to get memories of when you first started smoking: Every cigarette was "special" because you only smoked so rarely - on the balchony overlooking a beautifull sunset, on the beach, in the summerheat by the pool etc.
You start associating smoking to those occations instead of all the dreadfull routine-cigarettes you had, like that 10th cigarette that just made you feel sick.
Anyway, if you are just entering week 3 I think it will help you through it to know what to expect. EXPECT this week to be difficult, just like the first week, so you don't fall into the traps listed above.
Untill next time