Self Image: Sitting with a smoke

I have realized that I have a strange self image.

Whenever I picture myself going off to think/ponder or contemplate something (work or personal). I have the mental image of me finding a desk, a park bench, somewhere with a view and taking a puff. This must be in part down to nicotine being a mental stimulant (as well as the other psychological impacts of the drug).

Does anyone else have this sort of "self image" in their mind? Each time it comes up I chastise myself over it and say to myself, "NO! Thant's not me anymore!". Any ideas on a way to alter my self perception on this one?

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  • Hi David,

    That is an interesting concept. I think like everything else about quitting we are all so very different and what works for one person does not necessarily work for the next person.

    i quit cold turkey just over 9 months ago and I very rarely even think of a cigarette in any way shape or form.

    when people walk past me after just finishing a cigarette, the smell revolts me and this is probably the only time that i do think about cigarettes and this is just thinking about how bad i must have smelt to others :D :D

    Once I made that decision to quit - that was it - from day 1 I seen myself as a non-smoker and have always looked at as a positive change. This has enabled me to get this far without any difficulty at all.

    Even when i went through some of the physiological processes of the body adjusting to me not smoking, I always looked at it as a positive irrespective of how bad i was suffering at the time :D :D :) :)

    For me I think studying of psychology a few years back has helped me put everything into prospective for myself hence why i feel my quit has been easy :) :)

    My only regret is not ever trying to quit earlier....Maybe, the timing wasn't right for me :) :)

  • you do have a self image of yourself smoking especially when you first stop, but once you start doing all the things you would normally have done whilst smoking now without smoking, you ingrain that into your self image ..... I would always have a cig walking to collect the kids from school it was like my special cig cause I could enjoy it without the kids and I'm sure everyone would associate me with this ritual ... But fast forward 6 months I never even envisage myself doing this, because from that first day stopped smoking this image was replaced by me doing as a non smoker .... And that's it the only thing that has ever changed is the fact that you don't smoke, you do everything as you would normally just you do it as a non smoker .... And it's fantastic you can think clearer, your healthier and your you, how you were ment to be .... Well that's how I view it any way 😊

  • well David I just keep saying to myself how much better everything is as a non smoker and that does the trick for me πŸ˜ƒ I remember going to a hotel some years ago and the first thing I did was open the window and have a cig then reception rang and said someone had been reported smoking out the window 😑 I have been known to smoke in the bathroom of another place I stayed, sooooo guilty and ashamed 😟 always looking for the next fix so now I'm happy I don't have to do any of that anymore πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡ See yourself as the non smoker you are now and laugh at the old image πŸ‘ πŸ˜ƒ x

  • Thanks, I guess I just need to stick with reminding myself "NO! Thant's not me anymore!".

  • I think you're right David. It's possible you will always see yourself as an ex smoker rather than a non smoker. I quit for 15 years from 1978 to 1994 but still had a clear image of how I "enjoyed" smoking. It's a pity I didn't have an equally clear memory of how hard it was to quit the first time. Maybe I would have resisted the temptation to smoke again. Perhaps the images will fade over time but if not, being an ex smoker for the rest of your life beats the alternative hands down.

  • I think part of it stems from there not being a replacement activity... Or at least a good replacement activity. Something simple to do with one hand which you can do anywhere you'd be able to smoke which stimulates you... And is socially acceptable to do in public.

  • I know where you're coming from mate. I found deep breathing was really good but it's so similar to smoking in practice, it may be reinforcing the old pathway. I'm substituting breath mints, raw carrots & seedless grapes at the moment (not all at the same time!), until I can come up with something more sustainable.

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