In my early 20’s I’d smoke about two packs of Marlboros a day, (up to four when I had done drugs). I loved it, I loved watching the sunset with a cigarette in my hand and I’d savor every single puff.
For some, the cost of tobacco is a problem, not for me: when broke I’d collect cigarette butts from my ashtray, open them, scratch off the gooey tobacco left and roll “2d generation” cigarettes, which I’d then recycle into “3rd Generation” cigarettes. And so on and so forth. I was a real hobo, I didn’t care.
My lungs hated being raped daily by toxic fumes, my throat silently resented receiving the content of an ashtray everyday. I’d cough like a cemetery.When my entire body was at war against me, it was time to quit.
It took me four miserable failures before I finally managed to get rid of the habit, but I learned a lot in the trial and error process and since I completely won the fight over this particular form of addiction I’d like to share a list of tricks to secure a quick and final exit from the ethereal claws of smoke.
If you made up your mind that you’re gonna end the abuse, the below should help:
- Set your timer to 3 months:
It takes three months to be 98% free of nicotine addiction. That means twelve weeks of fierce commitment and discipline. Get ready for it, plan your escape well, ideally you want to determine exactly what weapons you’re going to use to fight the cravings. The good news is: only the three first weeks are really challenging, the second month is a smoother ride and for the third only some awareness is required.
- Cold Turkey:
I’ve heard success stories about people quitting smoking gradually but I still need to meet one of them. The “soft approach” might work for some but it sure didn’t do with me. Cold Turkey did.
Quitting Cold Turkey’s the easy way: it makes it easy to track your results (either you smoke or not) and you reap the full benefits of a smoke free life from the very first day. I’m not gonna say it’s not rough but it’s well worth the pain.
- Reward yourself
Help yourself all the way: give yourself little gifts to reward your efforts: chocolate, movies, massages. It’s not complacency but common sense: your mind and body need to associate no smoking with being happy and relaxed. Consuming dozens of lollipops did the trick for me.
- Use absolute repulsion:
Keep clearly in mind the sense of total disgust that led you to quit. The smell of cold tobacco in your clothes, on your fingers. The ashes scattered in your bed, the butts floating in a glass of beer. If that’s not enough to turn you off, think about the sense of failure you’d have to experience if you fail now. Recall all the reasons that made you quit. This arsenal of dark thoughts is super-helpful to counter-attack waves of cigarette craving.
Shoot the mirage:
The mechanism of nicotine withdrawal is fascinating: it makes you believe that things were far better when you smoked. Didn’t you ever feel that? You suddenly recall a past event that occurring while smoking and some form of sweet melancholy takes over your mind. When that happens, try and remember that your brain is trying to trick you into feeding it nicotine. Stay strong!
Feel the urge to light one up? Wait. Now is your chance to be lazy and postpone the moment to do it. Postpone it again and repeat the process. Get busy doing something else. Another craving? Sleep on it. That trick should be particularly helpful during the first few days. Time is your friend.
- Don’t drink and…don’t smoke:
Alcohol and Tobacco are the Starsky and Hutch of intoxication, they look different but they work hand in hand. After a few beers, your determination to quit smoking will give in, so don’t drink more than a glass of beer.I’ve Also seen tons of friends trying to stop smoking tobacco while doing “weed only”. It never works, so if you decide to quit smoking without cutting down on Kush, expect a humiliating failure.
- Stay away from the Evil:
Humans mimic each other, it’s a powerful tendency that works against you when you’re trying to quit. Stay away from smokers during the first two months and you’ll make it much easier on yourself. That often means No Parties.
- Not one puff (let alone two):
Make it clear what you’re committed to. If you let a grey area in the contract you’ve made with yourself, your brain will use it to trick you into falling back. Your contract should be: not a single puff ever again. Less than that and you’re doomed.
- Keep quitting: As said earlier I failed several times before I really quit smoking, but each time I got better at quitting. It’s only logical that each attempt gets you closer to quitting for good. With time, you’ll see that you get smarter at it, you won’t fall for the same traps and you’ll eventually win.Think of quitting smoking as a marathon: you might trip a few times on the way and it doesn’t matter. Stand back up and try again. Nicotine will eventually be tired of you, and you’ll get your freedom back.
You can do it, you’re stronger than a molecule, and seriously if even I managed to shake tobacco off my back, so can you!
Any other hint to add to my list? (or to challenge it) Please go ahead and share them in the comment section :)