Icky threes by Terry Martin. About.com

The Icky Threes and Smoking Cessation

The icky threes is a term that comes up over and over again. It refers to particular phases of a person's quit program that can be bumpy and uncomfortable.

3 Days

Physical Withdrawal

The first three days of smoking cessation are intense for most of us. Often, the first day or two are fueled by the 'excitement' of taking the initial plunge into quitting, but by the third day, reality is setting in and so are the discomforts of physical withdrawal from nicotine.

3 Weeks

Psychological Withdrawal

At three weeks, we've gotten through the shock of physical withdrawal and we're just beginning to tackle the mental side of nicotine addiction. This turn of events triggers cravings to smoke anew for a lot of us.

And be aware ... psychological cravings can produce very real physical reactions in our bodies, making a mental trigger feel like physical withdrawal. Thinking about that smoke break can cause tension that makes your stomach churn and leaves you on edge. It feels like a physical craving, and in a way it is...but the source is a thought, not physical withdrawal from nicotine.

3 Months

The Blahs

At three months the "newness" of the quit program is wearing off and we're often left thinking "Is that all there is?" The blahs hit, in other words. That too triggers cravings to smoke, often quite intensely.

Knowledge is Power!

The icky threes are common stages of recovery that most of us will go through as we move through our first few months of smoking cessation. The time intervals may vary somewhat for you personally, but you'll recognize the ickies when they arrive.

Don't let these discomforts throw you off course. They are temporary, and once you move through them, they'll be cleared out and gone for good.

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9 Replies

  • Jean...Thank you for the nice post and for the trip down memory lane. My worst was the BLAH'S..... But survived and now only a vague memory... Do I want it over....NEVER....!!!!!!!!

  • I'm closing in on the Blahs and I too are finding this stage very very hard


  • I like that, especially the blahs. From what I've read on this forum I think a lot of people, me included, get a shock when the cravings come back at that stage, and think there's something wrong. It's good to know that it is a recognised part of the process. Thanks Jean.

  • Thanks for sharing Jean, very informative and one to be pinned :)

  • I'm going to keep a note of those potential dates that it may hit me! Forewarned and all the rest - I'll be ready

  • Thanks Jean. I wasn't aware of the blahs. As I approach 3 months this is definitely something for me to watch out for - it is just the kind of thing I can imagine tripping me up. Now I know what to watch out for

  • Nice post Abuelajeannie the threes were not the best for me and week six to eight with anxiety. Yuck. So glad that is over :o

  • Dam I only just read this...boy do i dtill have alot to look forward too.....that nicotine demon sure is an arse

  • But every day that passes crazytracey the stronger you will be to deal with these difficult phases....keep strong :)

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