Advice on continuing to stay a non smoker

Hi Everyone,

I found this forum via Google and thought it looked interesting.

I was a heavy smoker and stopped two weeks ago with the help of patches.

All of the advice out there seems to be on how to quit, like setting a quit date etc. There doesn't seem to be much advice on how to stay quit. If anybody can offer any advice, in particular on how to manage stressful situations, where previously I would have smoked, now I am struggling with cravings in these circumstances, even though I don't smoke. i.e. previously if i was stressed i would have a smoke. Now when I am stressed my brain is trying to get me to have a cigarette, as that's been the default response for about 8 years. When I know deep down I don't want to smoke.

If anyone has any advice or can point me to some resources I would much appreciate it.

Cheers

mk

9 Replies

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  • Welcome and congrats on your two weeks smoke free!!!!! I am on day 18 - so I do not have a much advice for you as I am still trying to deal with the same situations as you. But I will say this forum has been outstanding for me. It is a good outlet when you need to let out some of those emotions you go through while fighting the cravings. Everyone here has gone through this fight and has great advice and tips. Best I can tell you is read through other peoples postings and pick-up whatever tips are helpful for you. Good Luck, fight the fight and use this website as one of your tools!

    A couple of things I use: sun flower seeds, cinnamon sticks, lots of deep breaths, and way too much candy. :o

  • You have to consciously change the way you think about smoking.

    You will have seen smoking has been a crutch, a reward, an accompaniment to pleasure etc. etc. In truth its feeding an addiction, the want for nicotine causes stress on the body and mind so relieving the stress is what has been the pleasure in exactly the same way as having a pee after a long car journey is a pleasurable relief.

    Having stopped using the drug there are deeply ingrained associations you have to break, and practice makes perfect. Basically you have to tough it out initially, stubbornly refusing to let nicotine win and every time you face a trigger to smoke and beat it your quit will become stronger.

    The best way I found to reinforce things in your mind is to approach quitting as a positive thing, regaining health, wealth and control rather than seeing it as a sacrifice and depriving myself of some great pleasure. Ultimately there is no loss from quitting, you have just stopped poisoning yourself. As most of us have smoked for all of our adult lives it does take some time to learn to live with out them, but a dogged approach does work.

    Have a browse of the links in my signature there is loads of great advice on them.

  • You hit the nail on the head when you talked about your brain.

    You will continue to get the subconscious prompt to smoke at various times and in various situations. In truth, a cigarette doesn't relieve stress, or heighten happiness - but we have trained our brains to believe it does. Undoing those years of mental programming does take a little while. You get good days and bad days. But the more you face up to these situations without smoking, the easier it gets. The brain relearns new habits pretty quickly, and the journey gets smoother and smoother.

    Ultimately though, in these early weeks, you do have to keep making that conscious choice not to smoke when those feelings hit. Find ways that suit you to distract yourself. For stress, try breathing exercises, cold water, walking. Keep reminding yourself of why you're doing it, and remember that a cig wouldn't actually help with anything - smoking only adds to your troubles. Take one day at a time. You'll get there. And this too shall pass.

    Hang in there!

    Helen

  • I think that staying quit is definately an ongoing thing for a while, until your mentality towards smoking really changes. Almost three months on I still have times when a cigarette sounds appealing, then I'll sniff it on someone and think "good god, I definately don't want to smoke!".

    But you will reach a point on your own (whether that's through reading books like Allen Carr's or just by watching other people smoke) when you feel really great about being a non-smoker. You will feel as though its' more of a choice than a chore, and that was when it started becoming much easier for me.

    I think I'll be using the help of this forum for a little while longer though :)

  • Hi Everyone,

    Thank you all for your great advice. I will certainly carry on and follow the tips you have provided. I will certainly stay on this forum as its the best one I have found. Thanks again guys.

    Cheers

    mk

  • All wise words! I quit CT so this may be a little different if you're using patches mk, but quitting for me was just an event, a few seconds where I put out my last cigarette and said 'that's it'. Most of my mental build up to the event was actually preparation for life as a former smoker, which was a two-phase approach:

    1. Get rid of the physical and mental addiction - the first few weeks of werewolf behaviour. Dealt with by abject mental defiance - I will not smoke, for any reason, at any time NO MATTER WHAT. End of story.

    2. Replacing it with something else, which can be a conscious choice, and I chose to simply listen to what my body was telling me. As a result I've replaced smoking with a number of things which I can identify:

    No guilt

    regular feelings of calmness and serenity

    More exercise than I was capable of as a smoker

    This forum :)

    Simply knowing I've made the best decision and done the best thing I can for my current and future health

    Walking - regularly

    Eating - even more regularly :o

    More time with the family in large, uninterrupted chunks.

    In short I saw quitting is a quick act, and what follows is simply life as you choose it without smoke. I'm choosing to chill out a bit, after all I don't smoke any more and that's the coolest thing in the world. Stay strong in the quit mk126 you're doing great!

  • I think that staying quit is definately an ongoing thing for a while, until your mentality towards smoking really changes. Almost three months on I still have times when a cigarette sounds appealing, then I'll sniff it on someone and think "good god, I definately don't want to smoke!".

    That is spot on!!

    I lost (gave up, chucked, whatever) an 18 month quit because although I stopped smoking, my attitude to it hadn't changed. I enjoyed my ciggies before I got too ill to smoke (and wow did I try :eek:), was looking forward to starting again ASAP but got nagged into staying off them. Managed to stop as well, but the thought of smoking was still an appealing one, might have been that I wasn't ready, was too immature, whatever - this time thanks to this place and Allen Carr my mind's different and although I still crave a cigarette, the thought of smoking isn't appealing.

    The real quit isn't not putting a cigarette in your mouth and lighting it any more - it's in your head. Reprogramming yourself to realise smoking isn't a treat, nice, relaxing and so on. Allen Carr definitely helps here :)

  • Staying quit

    I am just entering into month 3 and can see now that the initial quit is not the full story as you have said - staying quit is something different.

    I don't have any physical cravings to nicotene - that has gone but I do still have psychological cravings. In moments of stress my first reaction is I need a cigarette - in fact I don't but the feeling still comes. If I don't respond it will eventually disappear.

    I am finding my way now and feel that the staying quit involves quite a complex re-adjustment especially for heavy and long term smokers - I never let my guard down - as one puff and I'm back to day one.

    I am still compensating by eating - and still trying to get to grips with that - the journey is long but am guessing gets better as you move down the road.

    My motivation comes from the fact that I have made a conscious decision and chosen to stop this habit. I do not judge those who smoke - everyone has a choice and I am now following through on mine. I am never complacent - sometimes we all need something to help us through - smoking for me is no longer the answer - never was. Just took me a long time to let it go! We all must make our own choices.

    Forum has been great support and probably not able to quit without the support and help and just reading about experiences of others - it helps.

  • The best advice I can give (one which I read some time ago) is that smoking will not change the situation one iota. The only thing that will change is that you have smoked.

    Car crash -> smoke -> car is still crashed

    Argument with partner -> smoke -> still argued

    Work crisis -> smoke -> still have a work crisis

    etc.

    Research has shown that we smoke when we are happy and when we are sad, angry, or whatever. There's always a justification.

    Next time you feel like smoking, think about it. What will change if I smoke?

    Temporary relief only comes from satisfying the craving... Everything else remains the same.

    Alex.

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