Today is the day

Hello Everyone,

Today I've decided to stop smoking - again. I had my last last last cigarette about an hour ago. I've been down this path before, though. The last time I quit, I didn't have a smoke for nearly 9 months, but a few drinks too many, and particularly bad time, was all it took to make me light up.

This time it has to be different, because I simply can't afford it. Unfortunately, the reason I can't afford it makes it a particularly difficult time to stop. I have severe clinical depression and a lovely mix of problems related to social anxiety disorder and OCD. I was prescribed some anti-depressives, which worked wonders for my fear of gamma-ray bursts and planes dropping bombs on me, but not very much for the depression itself. It really didn't help with the problems of going out and dealing with people, either. As you've probably gathered, I'm unable to work and have to rely on benefits for any income. As I'm still breathing, I've been judged fit for work and my benefits are being stopped. I simply don't have the energy or mental resources to appeal the decision, nor am I able to go and sign on every week. The job centre is terrifying for me, and they won't let me sign on via email. Apparently, there's some merit making a grown man shake and cry while you belittle and harass him.

Cutting this long story short - I have no money for cigarettes, though I do have somewhere to live, so it's not all bad. This time I've decided to stop cold turkey, and I'll be using some mental techniques I've been reading about - mindfulness, comedy, cute baby animals (this is a real thing, looking at pictures boosts your willpower), and inspiring videos/people. The inspiring people part is why I'm here, as well as having people to talk to that are stopping as well. I hope I can bring something positive to the community, and I look forward to making some stopped-smoking-buddies (the name may need to be worked on :D).

Thanks for reading.

14 Replies

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  • Very best of luck to you Ash. Interesting what you say about getting out there and dealing with other people. One of my reasons for quitting is to improve my confidence in being around others and to integrate better. I don't have any real anxiety about it, I'm not saying that, or making light of your situation but in some ways I felt that I was using smoking to reinforce a distance between me and others and as an excuse to get away from them regularly.

    Keep us posted.

  • Hi Ash and welcome to the forum!

    Wow sounds like you have it tough but remember there is always someone here to talk to and lots of good tips and advice to read thru. Use the posts here to your advantage they are a font of information and really will help you. Im about to complete week 3 and never would have got this far without the people on here.

  • Thanks for the warm welcome everyone :)

    Aquarius, I know what you mean about using cigarettes to avoid people. I've done that as well. I'm not really sure how to "unavoid" them, though - perhaps a nice weighty club? That's sure to spark a conversation, or hospitalisation - one of the 2 :D

  • Hi Ash, welcome to the forum.

    Well done for making the decision to quit! :) I hope you enjoy a great smokefree Day One today.

    If there's anything you need to ask or you just need a good rant, then please get your butt on here and rant away. There are plenty of us here, all with our own quit journies, to give you a helping hand if you need it.

    I'm now just over two months into my quit and am finally loving it. I found it really difficult at first and convinced myself that I was being punished, but this is the best thing I have ever done for my health and I am so glad that I made the decision to throw away those filthy cancer sticks.:rolleyes:

    My main piece of advice really is to not let yourself get down. If you harbour the bad thoughts and convince your mind that this is some form of punishment, it will feel that way. If you can push those thoughts and cravings out of your head, before they can make any impact, then you'll have it sussed. :D

  • The way I'm having to stop, really does feel a lot like punishment, but helps having someone who understands that. Thank you for that.

  • The way I'm having to stop, really does feel a lot like punishment, but helps having someone who understands that. Thank you for that.

    That's ok. Yours is a tough one really, as your kind of being "forced" to stop. The only reason you have given is that you cannot afford to smoke. Which, of course, is perfectly reasonable, but I worry that this means you're not doing this for you.

    May I suggest that you purchase a copy of Allen Carr's "The Easyway"? It is an excellent book, which plenty rave about, and I found a copy on play.com for around £3.00 (free delivery as well ;)). It might just get your head in the right place so that you can think positively about your quit.

  • That's ok. Yours is a tough one really, as your kind of being "forced" to stop. The only reason you have given is that you cannot afford to smoke. Which, of course, is perfectly reasonable, but I worry that this means you're not doing this for you.

    May I suggest that you purchase a copy of Allen Carr's "The Easyway"? It is an excellent book, which plenty rave about, and I found a copy on play.com for around £3.00 (free delivery as well ;)). It might just get your head in the right place so that you can think positively about your quit.

    I actually have a copy of his book. I never got on well with it before, but I'll give it another go, as yourself and others seem to have done really well on it.

  • I actually have a copy of his book. I never got on well with it before, but I'll give it another go, as yourself and others seem to have done really well on it.

    I actually found that reading it made me feel like a failure, as I wasn't enjoying being a non-smoker at all and I thought I shoould be finding it easier. I never felt as thought I was "following the instructions".

    Now that I am much more settled I have realised that Allen Carr had some great ideas about positive thinking and not allowing bad thoughts to take over. Also I agree that quitting smoking should not be such a difficult task, as we gain absolutely nothing from the habit in the first place.

    But I also believe that everyone follows their own path and it isn't always sushine and daisies. I'm actually thinking about reading it again, so I can take away the bits I want and agree with and ignore the bits I don't.

    Someone on here actually suggested highlighting those parts we agree with most and leaving the rest unhiglighted :)

  • That's good advice for any philosophy. The last time I looked over his book, I found it quite poorly written, which set the "scam" bells ringing in my head. That was maybe a book-snob knee-jerk reaction, or too much time hunting for deals on Ebay :o that caused that. Also, I found him too much of a geezer and didn't like his sexist side. All in all, I found it really difficult to see the actual advice.

    "What I'm using is "The Path of Mindfulness Meditation" by Peter Strong, PhD.

    amazon.co.uk/The-Path-Mindf...

    (Sorry mods if that counts as advertising, please remove the link, but let me know so I can grab the book description).

    I use it for my depression as well, and it basically boils down to letting your mind deal with things without interference and not latching on. For example, I "watch" the cravings going on, I analyse how it feels, how it sounds, how it tastes even. I notice the emotions, the associated thoughts and triggers and I sit with it. I try to understand it, I try to treat it like a loved one in distress until it passes, until my mind moves onto something else. What I'm not doing is giving it massive amounts of headroom, I'm treating it as it actually is, and for that I need to know what it is. Weirdly enough, I now think a craving is like a the sneeze that just won't happen :D

    I'm sure that's as clear as mud :D

  • That's good advice for any philosophy. The last time I looked over his book, I found it quite poorly written, which set the "scam" bells ringing in my head. That was maybe a book-snob knee-jerk reaction, or too much time hunting for deals on Ebay :o that caused that. Also, I found him too much of a geezer and didn't like his sexist side. All in all, I found it really difficult to see the actual advice.

    "What I'm using is "The Path of Mindfulness Meditation" by Peter Strong, PhD.

    amazon.co.uk/The-Path-Mindf...

    (Sorry mods if that counts as advertising, please remove the link, but let me know so I can grab the book description).

    I use it for my depression as well, and it basically boils down to letting your mind deal with things without interference and not latching on. For example, I "watch" the cravings going on, I analyse how it feels, how it sounds, how it tastes even. I notice the emotions, the associated thoughts and triggers and I sit with it. I try to understand it, I try to treat it like a loved one in distress until it passes, until my mind moves onto something else. What I'm not doing is giving it massive amounts of headroom, I'm treating it as it actually is, and for that I need to know what it is. Weirdly enough, I now think a craving is like a the sneeze that just won't happen :D

    I'm sure that's as clear as mud :D

    I believe that when the book was written it was considered quite sexist but, since then, I think there has been a seperate copy published that is different in that respect but still the same book.

    It is easy to be a book snob when we usually read things by such great authors, but I didn't mind his wiritng "skill". He does admit to being no great writer, but it is a cheap alternative to attending sessions at his clinics and I did find it quite effective. I started reading after I'd already quit, so I think my mind had already set itself a certain way.

    I wasn't quite able to adjust my way of thinking, though I did find the "brainwashing" chapters very interesting.

    When I first quit, I really found that allowing the thoughts in helped me. I was able to think about smoking (and I did, a lot!) but not crave it. I registered these thoughts but then resolved them. I found that this worked for me because I've heard that avoiding the thought of smoking altogether can be a bad thing.

    But I am very much a "thinker" and so, when the cravings hit stronger, I was beginning to find that I harboured these thoughts too much. They would become negative and I would allow them to distract me. It made my life a nightmare for a couple of weeks and I very nearly caved.

    Now I guess something has shifted in my head and I am able to say that I decide every day to not smoke, which is great. I think I just decided that it was really silly to become so involved in something that could be such and easy achievement, if only I would let it! Lol.

    Whenever I have even a fleeting thought about smoking, I remind myself of the taste and smell, the after taste and the cough. The vision of myself holding a fag in my hand (unattractive!) and that seems to be enough at the moment :) One day at a time and all that!

  • That's a very good way of looking at it, and it's building up a sort of disgust cycle when you think about smoking. I'm gonna give it a few days and see how I get on, then I might have a look at some other bits and bobs.

    What I really want is the smoking vaccine for ex-smokers, so I can't slip up again :D

  • Thanks for the welcome Max.

    It's certainly been really great chatting to the community - both for the inspiration and the distraction :)

    As for Carr, his writing style really made me feel that the work was a scam, but as I've seen so many on here that are happy with his methods, I may well give him another look :)

  • Hi Ash :)

    Well done for quitting and i hope your first day is going well :D

    It's great to post on here 'cos all of us will understand the good and bad parts of your quit and there's alays someone you can rant to - have found that just writing down how I felt on here was a big help, especially early on :)

    I actually found that reading it made me feel like a failure, as I wasn't enjoying being a non-smoker at all and I thought I shoould be finding it easier. I never felt as thought I was "following the instructions".

    Now that I am much more settled I have realised that Allen Carr had some great ideas about positive thinking and not allowing bad thoughts to take over. Also I agree that quitting smoking should not be such a difficult task, as we gain absolutely nothing from the habit in the first place.

    But I also believe that everyone follows their own path and it isn't always sushine and daisies. I'm actually thinking about reading it again, so I can take away the bits I want and agree with and ignore the bits I don't.

    Someone on here actually suggested highlighting those parts we agree with most and leaving the rest unhiglighted :)

    It's a bit tricky, the Allen Carr thing.

    I've read Easyway, some of it twice and I agree with a lot of what he says, but some of it's complete rubbish - to me at least.

    Fact it we're all different, so no two people will react to quitting in exactly the same way!!

    Think he oversells the "enjoying quitting" thing and the feeling great too - and like Sarah says that can make you feel worse.

    Maybe he felt like that because he smoked for a long time, and far heavier than 99% of people - and he was giving himself nosebleeds etc. To be free of that must have been great, but for people like me who are still young and

    didn't really notice any health problems from smoking it's tougher.

    That said though, he's right that we're brainwashed into smoking - even non-smokers are to an extent, my dad hated me smoking but when I had a car accident a few years ago he asked if I needed a fag - and smoking doesn't have any positive things going for it.

    Think the best way to go is to read the bits that help and skip the bits that don't.

    He hates NRT for example, while I know I couldn't have quit without it so I skipped those parts.

  • Well my biggest health decline came when I got seriously depressed, rather than through smoking. I was a very keen climber, mountaineer and all round outdoorsman - I thought nothing of walking in the hills for 12 hours then paddling a grade 4 river when I got back. I smoked, and I was exceptionally fit. I'd also been smoking a good 30+ rollies a day since I was 14.

    The other thing was, I enjoyed the flavour, I enjoyed the niccy rush, I enjoyed blowing smoke-rings. I did use it as an emotional crutch, especially when I got over-excited, and I used it to slow down my drinking. In fact, the first time I stopped, I really got very drunk and made an **** of myself - not because of the pain of not smoking, but because I wasn't slowing my drinking down with a few fags. Smoking also really helped, when I was thinking about something - I could go on chew on a difficult problem while I smoked and work out an answer.

    NRT as well, has been very useful in previous stopping experiences, so I guess I'm the opposite of his point of reference :eek:

    I do have very good reasons for wanting to stop, money, which I don't have and all the health related issues, that I could get - I'm really terrified of dying of something lung-related, I can't think of anything worse than having my breathing effected. Funnily enough, when I have panic attacks, it feels like my lungs are freezing and I have to fight to breathe, and I hate it.

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