How to deal with constant cravings? - No Smoking Day

No Smoking Day

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How to deal with constant cravings?

My_Good_Self profile image
My_Good_Self

Hi everyone, i'm about 1 full day into quitting smoking and for the most part things have been going really well (compared to countless failed attempts before this). But I have to say, that my cravings are starting to get overwhelming and are much more frequent now. Just when i'm patting myself on the back for not giving in, another craving just as strong pops up. I know many people say exercise helps but trying that isn't changing much, i'm also not the sort that can just think "not a single drag" or whatever, and poof the cravings are gone. I feel very strict about not using any medication, vapes or 'stop smoking aids' like the patches/gum/inhaler. Any help would be appreciated, just want to see what's helped others before.

Many thanks! - K

Bit of context - i'm 27 y/o, been smoking for around 10-11 years now (between 10-20 a day).

7 Replies
Hidden profile image
Hidden

The only thing that helped me was feeding off of a self righteous ego buzz. Like I am so great. I think also the plain favt seems to be unavoidable... That we are going to crave something ...that crutch that removes craving is why we smoke. Not cos we enjoy the taste but because we enjoy not craving. Not feeling like we can't handle it and then just trying to resist with will power. I don't think I really even know what willpower is. I don't think I have it. And I have struggled many times when I just gave in because I'd end up crying so much. I'd just get upset about everything. All the regrets in my life every dark thought and smoking just squashes all of that nicely away so you don't feel anything and can get on with the day. I think maybe craving is something that isnt something we can squash... Certainly doing crotchet with my hands of eating a spoonful of hot pepper sauce or something else doesn't hit the spot. Only a smoke will. Also the feeling of being able to breath better right after smoking and the realisation that actually without the false effect smoke gives you your lungs aren't so good. I hate that. You're going to crave. That's part of the deal. It feels aweful. Its as far as I can tell an inescapable pain which can't be run from. But like most pain ...like when you know " its over" in a relationship and you just want to somehow stay with them but you know its not good... You just have to not call them. Not send them that ten page letter saying how much you miss them. You just have to accept its over. And however much it sucks you have no choice. Cos even if you convinced them or cooled them to come back ..you'd always know...she doesn't want to be there and she's only staying to fool you into thinking its OK when its not... And you're alone now. And smoking isn't coming back. So if you crave something that's up to you to deal with. To accept to long for something that you know is bad for you... Its like longing for that ex lover. Its painful and you'll stop doing it eventually when you realise that craving is no good.

You do the Bette milder routine from that movie when she gets divorced and you jump in a cold shower and you go for a run and you crave... And you keep running and you keeo craving...and you go home and you make dinner and you crave the whole way through it...and you sit down after dinner and you feel how smoking isn't there for you like it was yesterday to tell you everything is all fine. ...and you go to bed and the empty ashtray shouts at you... You're alone!! Don't you want to light up? So I can whisper lies in your ears to make you go to sleep? And you don't and you crave and you stare at the ceiling and you crave some more. And you go out running again tomorrow and you call your friends and you watch a box set and eat a tub of ice cream and you might not crave for a bit here and there but mostly craving is going to be with you now instead of smoking. And the good thing about becoming friends with your craving is... Your craving won't hurt you. Your craving will make you feel bad but it won't ever damage you. And just like when you miss a lover you go through missing them...and then you go through hating them...and eventually you thank them for what they taught you about yourself. And you may resent them and crave them for a long time. You may have flings to try to take away the cravings but at the end of the day... The craving is a choice. And eventually you won't resent them or long for them desperately ... Except sometimes. And you'll start to feel good about yourself. Like you already do for how great it is that you've given up! And you'll learn to focus your mind on that good feeling the most. Because there's no point wondering about calling her or what if or why she left or any self torture ...and even though it will be there like a voice in yoir head shouting out all the dark thoughts you just want to go away...eventually you wills top listening to that voice and it will become a whisper. Or you might just really crush that voice and focus completely on feeling good about yourself. But whatever chemicals that addict us to bad relationships are pretty strong and upsetting usually...but they do pass. And the more you reinforce the good stuff the stronger the good stuff gets. I feel like the dark craving voice is like a threat that says without me you'd be nothing. You wouldn't be able to cope alone. You'd never get anything done. You'll always want me back. And I would think hang on you may have been my best friend but you're a total ahole of one. And I've given up bad friends and bad lovers and I've stepped away from mean people so I can sure as hell step away from you. And yeah I might feel bad and I might have times when I want to phone you but I'm not going to let myself do that. Cos I know I may love you, but you're just using me. You're just hijacking my brain. .... Now having said all of that...I've given in plenty of times and I had a total a hole of a friend for 25 years who was a complete narcissist and any time I was down I'd end up calling her cos I felt there was nobody else. But ...there are other things and other friends that you will find that help you 100% more than smoking Ever did. You may not find them right away but you keep trying. And for me it was a sense of self righteousness. Like I am better than this. Imma have my green smoothy and imma do my yoga and imma tidy my house and not think about you.

I also found a visualisation where you imagine smokes as something horrible which for me was old squashed bananas... Make me gag. That was so helpful. It was also heloful when I broke up with my ex and he'd come over uninvited and be all rosemantic and just reminding myself of all the sh1t he did on me...reminding myself he's a charming a hole...and that I can do better and honestly imagining his willy as a swuashed banana helped a lot. And believe me my ex was probably more attractive and more damaging to my organs than smoking. So if you've ever had a break up and got over it you know you've got this. If you've ever thought someone was charming but then realised they were a jerk but almost got sucked back into it with them ...then you know you've got this. Its a huge deal its not easy to break up with any addictive thing but its so worth it to be free. Its worth feeling crap for a while. Its worth having waves of craving rush through you like hells angels ..you just take those breaths and you wait for it to wave over you and you tread water and you just keep swimming. Like nemo. Because the ONLY way out is through. And if you slip up that's OK. You start again. You remember why you need to leave you pack your bags and you plan your escape and you go. And if you end up back there ten times and every time yoi go back smoking damages you or your lover hits you...eventually you remember that you're worth the air you breath. Every breath of it. Even if its hard. Even if you feel weak. Even if you're angry or scared or whatever else you might feel. You deserve to breath gods air. And every breath you take that's not with smoke is a breath of freedom and a step away from prison. And the prison might look safe...like that movie Shawshank...the guy who is institutionalised....well you're not going to be that guy... Even if you've been there for years...your going to hack through the wall crawl through the pipe swim through the sewage and get out some day on the other side. And maybe on the way you'll be in that room where the guy hung himself...and you'll feel like dying and giving up...but you won't you'll keep that postcard in yoir pocket and you will get bus to the treasure and you'll go to the seaside with Andy dufrein... And you'll be happy. And every moment you're heading that way, hacking that little bit of wall away, is a step closer. So keep going. Because not only will you get out the other side if you do you'll inspire others to keeo going too. And really when you think about it a little craving for a few moments in your day...getting less and less every day...is not so bad. Not for what it wins you at the end. I wish you so much luck and strength to be free to breathe. You deserve it. We all do. And I hope you keep in mind why you're leaving and where your heading and never forget ...it won't take as long as you think. And every time a wave passes you give yourself a pat on the back again. You aren't failing because you crave. You're winning every time you crave and you let it pass you. 😎 gold stars all the way!

Jsoo profile image
Jsoo in reply to Hidden

This is so well said!

Hi I had my last smoke 13 weeks & 2 days ago. That was 5 minutes before I went in for a Femoral Artery Bypass caused mainly by smoking, I nearly lost my lower leg & will do if I smoke again. So in answer to your question about Cravings (which I'm still getting but not as often) what working for me is 'Looking at my right Lower Leg & seeing it still there' !! I also went Cold Turkey after 40+ years of smoking quite heavy as I thought patches etc. would keep smoking at the forefront of my thoughts. Good Luck to You & All. Chuck

kycmary profile image
kycmary in reply to Chuck5

Congratulations you are doing great! Anytime the craving stops by start doing something or thinking something thru. That's every detail of whatever, making a cake rebuilding a motor or building a treehouse. If you can't think of something get a book anything that will take your mind else where . I'll put you on my prayer list too!

mosslady profile image
mosslady in reply to Chuck5

I go in Monday for coronary angiograpy - the doctor is hoping a stint will relieve my blockage - if not I'll be up for the bypass surgury you had. Your photo is a real eye-opener! I too have been a heavy smoker for many years - but over the past year (the year of the plague) I got up to 2+ packs a day. Just mindless chain smoking. A few months ago I started having leg pains, to the extent that I can barely walk a block without severe pain. This is devastating to me, as I have always been a big walker, and I've been doing aerobic walking excercises - 2 to 3miles - several times a week for years. I can't even do a mile at this point. My doctor is very harsh about quitting. Over the past few weeks I've cut back to about 10 a day - which has been hard. I'm mainly trying to be "mindful" about smoking - making it a point to go outdoors and just smoke one. And wait a minimum of an hour before I have another. I'm trying to increase that interim, so I have at least one or two of my "allotment" left at the end of the day. I think I'll have to use Nicoret gum or a vape to give up those final smokes (although I've gone cold turkey once before, due to surgery - they don't let you smoke in the hospital. )

Chuck5 profile image
Chuck5 in reply to mosslady

Hope all goes well on Monday for you & it's a stint rather than a Fem Pop By Pass as I had, it's now over 15 weeks since the Op & it's still sore. On the smoking, I still haven't had one & will not be. I was saying to someone yesterday the prospect of dying doesn't really bother me as I'm a big believer in 'When your times up' however I would be devastated if I lost part of my leg & that will happen if I go back to the smoking, it doesn't really take a Surgeon to work out the fact that a vein is thinner than an Artery (I think) & they use a vein to by pass the Artery so therefore it will block easier after the op.

I decided to go Cold Turkey as I thought if I was using patches, vapes etc. it would still be at the front of my thoughts & as I've mentioned before, when things are bad I just look at my legs & think 'At least I've got 2 complete ones.

I'm not strong enough to limit my smoking to 'A Few' a day.

Take Care

Chuck

Whale1 profile image
Whale13 Months Smoke Free

HiWell done for quitting. The first 3 days are the worst. You aren't addicted to cigarettes you are addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is the most addictive substance in the world. No wonder they added it to fags, very clever. The good news is, nicotine leaves your body after 3 days. It takes around 3 months to leave your brain. In that time you will get cravings as the receptors in your brain want you to get back on it NOW!. Just don't give in, take deep breaths and if it gets really bad, have a biscuit or some nuts or fruit or do the washing up go for a walk or just recognise what this is and tell yourself ah, I know what this is and I'm going to fight you. If you can keep going, I'm 10 weeks into stopping smoking and the cravings get fewer and less intense. Also, try to vary things, if you always had a smoke after something, change it up. Remember you are going to be smoke free, richer, freed from the tyranny and panic smokers feel if they can't smoke. You become much calmer, life doesn't consist of stress that can only be relieved by a disgusting cigarette. Good luck, keep strong and you will conquer this hold on you and life will be sweeter.

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