This article is not about taking the moral high ground and preaching about the benefits of giving up smoking. It is just a simple article about what worked for me - a 47 year old guy who had been smoking for over 30 years and ended up on 60 cigarettes a day. I reckon if I can do it then perhaps this article will help others to seriously consider giving up.
How many times have you tried to stop smoking? If you are anything like me you stopped, (at least temporarily), because you saw something on the TV, a friend had a stoke, you were short of funds or... there are umpteen reasons why people give up and then start again as soon as the initial "scare" has worn off.
As I said, I was smoking 60 cigarettes a day and was well and truly addicted.
You've heard everybody going on at you about why you should stop smoking. Generally the worst people are those who have given up smoking themselves and have set out on a personal crusade, (although it sometimes comes across more as a vendetta), to banish every last trace of smoke on the entire planet.
I advocate a more reasoned approach to stopping smoking. The only important factor in the whole process is YOU.
It is absolutely NOT about...
** doing what somebody tells you to do.
** doing exactly what they have done to stop smoking.
** feeling awkward and guilty around people who do not smoke.
When Is The Right Time To Stop Smoking?
The reason why people stop smoking and then start again is simply because they were not ready to stop at that time.
I thought things through for around 3 months before I finally took the plunge and even then I told everyone that it was only a first step I was taking to stop smoking and I would take it just one day at a time - I found this took the pressure off me so that if I did start smoking again I wouldn't appear to be a "failure".
Remember that smoking is a very real addiction. It takes over your whole life. You probably find that whatever you do revolves around when you are going to have the next puff. Whether it's working in the office, in the garden or whatever... your mind is always thinking about stopping what you are doing to go and have a smoke.
Don't feel guilty about this... as I said it's a very real addiction.
Just as an aside, (at least in the UK), there are more and more doctors who will point blank refuse to treat you for smoking related illness if you are a smoker.
Personally I think they are sick. Far better to refer someone for counselling, (which honestly does work despite my initial skepticism about having someone pry into my habits!).
My counsellor, Doreen, has been marvelous right from the word go. Low key, does not pry, no shock tactics, no lectures... just a very informal chat about the best way for ME to stop smoking.
Doreen put me on patches and gave me a little puffer as I call it, (a nicotine inhalator to be posh), and assured me that at no time would these be suddenly taken away after 3 months or whatever.
A controlled amount of nicotine into your body to take away the urges does you absolutely no harm at all. The real danger is from the smoke going into your lungs. I don't know enough to be technical here but if nicotine is causing the addiction and you can have as much nicotine as you want for as long as you need it, in the form of patches or whatever, then it's all good news for us.
I'm not saying you won't get cravings once you decide to stop smoking but the cravings in my case were normally associated with certain habits. For instance I would associate smoking with coffee. A cup of strong sweet coffee with 5 or 6 cigarettes was pure heaven. I still miss it now to be honest but I normally drink tea and if I do have a coffee I always have my little puffer for a quick blast.
Also remember that the urge to smoke only lasts a minute or so. If you can think about something else for a few minutes, (I know it's easier said than done), but the urge really does go away.
Whilst researching the Internet for some facts before writing this article I became so despondent about the "advice" from the so called experts I decided to just sit down and write as I feel from a personal viewpoint.
One of the snippets of "expert" advice was to make a "Stop Smoking Contract" and have your family and friends sign it. I mean, give me a break will you... If this is not putting pressure on someone trying to stop smoking I don't know what is.
Another expert gem was to plaster No Smoking signs all over the house and around your workplace. Great if you need a constant reminder about smoking.
The whole idea is to gently, in your own time, get away from the habits and thoughts associated with smoking.
I certainly feel better for stopping smoking. Apart from the huge amount of money it saves me, my legs are not tired all the time and I generally have more energy.
In conclusion I would say that in your quest to stop smoking make sure it is what YOU want at a time that is right for YOU.
Go and see your doctor to refer you to a counsellor before giving up. Be honest with the counsellor... If you smoke 80 cigarettes a day then say you smoke 80 cigarettes a day. It is self defeating to say you only smoke 10 or 20 or "about a pack a day".
When YOU feel the time is right to stop smoking then do it but not before. Don't let anyone pressure you into stopping.
Remember, if you don't succeed the first time, (although if you have prepared yourself then there is no reason not to succeed), this is not a failure. It is a huge first step you have courageously taken to stop smoking.
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