Three Pieces of Advice for New Quitters

I thought I'd offer three pieces of advice for new quitters. Perhaps others will join me and offer their perspectives as well. My advice comes from me, and I speak only for me. My "truth" may not be "THE" truth!

1. Train your mind NOT to go too far ahead. When I first quit, the thought that I could NEVER have another puff was frightening and overpowering. I've tried and failed at so many "rest of your life" things, from quitting smoking to making dietary changes to exercise programs, and each time, the thought that it was going to a permanent, life-long thing made it too daunting and I soon gave up.

Instead, when you find yourself thinking about the distant future, bring your mind back to the here and now. Can you get through another hour? Can you reach the end of the day without a cigarette, even though the cravings are strong? Could you postpone any decision about having "just one" until tomorrow?

String enough day-at-a-time moments together, and soon you have a week, or two or three or even a month - and then you begin to see that you just might succeed at this quitting thing.

2. Name your adversary and start talking back. To be honest, it's been a while and I can't remember what I used to call him, but it was probably something like Nic or Evil Nic or whatever. I gave my cravings a name and a personality, and I started back-talking. I would have a mental dialogue with my adversary, and started putting him down. "That the best you got, Nic?" or "Seriously? You think I'm going to go out in the rain and have a smoke?" or "You're getting weaker every day, Nic. So sad, too bad!" etc.

3. Consider avoiding high trigger situations for a while. When I first quit, I couldn't imagine being strong enough to handle certain situations, so I avoided them for a while as best I could. I would stay away from smokers (easier for me than for others, because I live alone). I wouldn't go to bars for the time being. I would go out of my way to walk around someone smoking outside a building.

I knew that eventually, I'd have to be able to handle those situations, and that turned out to be true. But I needed stronger "I don't smoke" muscles than I had at the beginning. I let my quit get stronger and stronger, and then began moving into high trigger situations, and as I succeeded in them, I felt more powerful and capable.

If I were to add a fourth tip, it would be this:

4. Try to see the humor in all of this. I know it's not funny, it's challenging and agonizing and difficult. That's why, to me, it's even MORE important to laugh about it all - about how you let yourself be taken hostage by tobacco, how you crave a cigarette in the most ridiculous times and places (in the shower, anyone?) and so on. If you can step back and have a good belly laugh about it, you'll go a long way to strengthening your resolve.

That's my tips for the day. Good luck! You can do it!

12 Replies

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  • Hi DGee, thanks for that post, inspiring.

    How are you doing now? How long was it before you didn't crave?

    Thanks, Nicki x

  • Hi DGee, thanks for that post, inspiring.

    How are you doing now? How long was it before you didn't crave?

    Thanks, Nicki x

    I'm doing great. A couple more weeks, I'm in the Penthouse!

    As for cravings, I haven't had one in so long I can't put a date to it. I'd say the craves probably became a non-issue after about three months, and by then, they were few and far between.

    I have no cravings now, but I get a certain wistful nostalgia come over me every so often. I dismiss it quickly with the back of my hand.

    One other memory comes back. I used to tell myself, "If you can make it a full year, THEN you can have a cigarette if you want one."

    Well, it's almost a full year, and I don't want one. :)

  • So pleased for you! It's fantastic isn't it, that knowledge that you don't have to do it?? One thing I keep seeing, and have no idea about is this Penthouse thing? What does that mean???

    Nicki x

  • So pleased for you! It's fantastic isn't it, that knowledge that you don't have to do it?? One thing I keep seeing, and have no idea about is this Penthouse thing? What does that mean???

    Nicki x

    The Penthouse, as I understand it, is the "room" for people who have quit for a full year or more. I've not been there yet, of course, so I have no real idea of what it looks like. But most penthouses are quite spectacular, so I'm eager to see it. I have 17 days to wait. :)

  • Wow! Exciting!! Something to aim for then!

    Thanks for all your words xx

  • Nicki, I'm a fair bit closer to you in time and for me DGee's right. I can honestly say I'm not craving any more, I still have moments when I 'want' to smoke something, but they're easily dismissed. It's psychological only from here on in.

    DGee I will give a more detailed response to this post at some stage with my own experience, you've done a great thing here by starting this thread in my view. But for now, please can I just say your posts are resonating with me, I enjoy them, and your point about humour is bang on. Take a bow for this post, loved it! :)

    *round of applause*

    Hawkeye

  • Thanks so much for that DeeGee! Loved it. This is exactly the kind of thread that i come on here to read, straight to the point, inspiring and and so helpful.

    I started my last failed attempt on the same day as you quit. You have done amazingly well and should be so proud of yourself. Well done!!! :):):)

  • Nicki, I'm a fair bit closer to you in time and for me DGee's right. I can honestly say I'm not craving any more, I still have moments when I 'want' to smoke something, but they're easily dismissed. It's psychological only from here on in.

    How long has it been for you? I'm on my 7th day, cravings a bit of a nightmare today and have been a bit tetchy but all in all, still got another day gone!

    Nicki x

  • DGee

    Reiterate what Hawkeye said. Fabulousss post. Thank you so much:)

    Fi xx

  • I'll answer Nicki's question.

    For the first three weeks, I had craving nightmares, but not every day. I had cravings every day, but most were run-of-the-mill types which disappeared easily if I simply thought about something else.

    Generally, things got a little easier every day, but then a day would come along and WHAM! have me struggling all day long.

    These WHAM days also started to recede probably during week three or four. There were a few more after that, but they were way far apart, and by then I knew how to laugh at them and ignore them.

    First three weeks are the toughest. But don't focus on that. Get through TODAY. Let tomorrow come when it gets here.

  • Nicki, I'm a fair bit closer to you in time and for me DGee's right. I can honestly say I'm not craving any more, I still have moments when I 'want' to smoke something, but they're easily dismissed. It's psychological only from here on in.

    How long has it been for you? I'm on my 7th day, cravings a bit of a nightmare today and have been a bit tetchy but all in all, still got another day gone!

    Nicki x

    Hi Nicki,

    I have to say that after the first month the physical "really need one" stuff was over for me, then the mental requirement for the stamina to say no to the stupid plant that's trying to prod you into a moment of weakness took over and that's a different challenge entirely. I call him/it The Imp.

    Admittedly in the final week of the first month Xmas arrived, I put on 8 lbs and something called a "mother-in-law" was a bigger emotional challenge to deal with, but DGee's correct stance that humour is necessary took over, I found this forum on 2nd Jan and the rest is sort of history for me.

    You are doing so well, stay with it and stay with us and you'll be in the penthouse before you know it :)

    H

  • Dgee, your post is so true, a brilliant read when struggling Thankyou!!!

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