Quitting Smoking

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smoking

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Isn't it funny how, when you took your first drag of that first cigarette you thought you were so cool...it was so much fun? I shared my first cigarette with a friend when I was 12 years old and we smoked cause we were playing with the smoke, trying to blow smoke rings and looking like vampires, letting the smoke slowly roll out of our mouths. That's how it all began...a shared experience. Back then I only smoked when someone else had a cigarette and offered to share... it was a way of belonging.

When I was 14 and began to work, it seems like everyone there smoked... They were all older and I didn't want to be the one left out. That's when I really started smoking, buying my own (in Germany it's easy to do that, cause they have a cigarette machine on every corner). They had smoke-breaks at work, smoke-breaks at school... it was all too easy.

By the time I reached adulthood I didn't like the fact that I was a smoker anymore, but I was in denial. Smoking feels sooooooo good, doesn't it?

I quit when I got pregnant at age 18, cause I didn't want my unborn child to be subjected to the chemicals. I didn't do it for me. As soon as I quit nursing, I went right back to smoking. I quit again when I was pregnant with my daughter at age 20, just a year after I had started back up...and again I went back to smoking.

The years following I quit for a few days occasionally and always started back up. Then, 4 or 5 years before I quit, I started getting serious. IF ONLY...they would make smoking illegal or raise the price to 10 bucks a pack , I thought to myself. I could quit easily. I bought books, brought home pamphlets, got disgusted for not being able to quit and hated myself for being so weak. What a good way to lower your self-esteem and form a Psychological addiction to cigarettes even stronger than before. What I came to realize is: you can't let a relapse make you feel bad... you just have to try again... as long as you keep trying you're really not a failure, cause only once you give up can you say you ve failed and the cigarettes won.

Cigarettes are not my friend anymore. They are the enemy! A work of the devil. And you know, the devil is strong...

Cigarette smoking is an addiction. I think the easiest way to quit is to slow down first, eliminate things one at a time, like smoking while on the phone, smoking in the house, smoking in the car, etc. Anyway, I have come up with my own quitting smoking formula and want to share this with you. I will be smoke-free one day at a time, sort of like a Recovering Alcoholic, we could consider ourselves Recovering Smokers... we will never be able to have just one smoke. We will never be able to say we never have been addicted, so we always be the EX-Smoker, one that has to watch every moment, especially in stressful moments when it comes to avoiding to smoke again. A lifelong battle has begun!!!! I do have to say that I disagree with people who told me that you will want cigarettes 20 years from now. I don't believe they were ready to quit. Every now and again I get the urge to smoke for a split second and I quickly think how negative smoking is. It disgusts me to smell my clothes after I went to Karaoke at a bar. It makes me breath harder when I sit next to a smoker. My body has gotten rid of the poisons and is reacting negative every time I'm around smokers... there is no way I will ever start smoking again. Alone the thought of having a non-smoker smell me if I were to start again is deterrent enough.

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Steps for quitting smoking:

Before you do anything, be for certain that you want to quit. It has to be for yourself, not for a boyfriend, or a parent. YOU! It has to be for you! Without that urge to want to quit, you will not succeed.

1. Set a quit date at least 2 weeks (or as long as several months) from now. Start reading up on all the resources!
2. Start recording EVERY time you have a cigarette, but don't try to slow down. Just thinking of every time you light up will make you smoke less.
3. In that first week, eliminate smoking in the house. It's harder to go outside for every cigarette you want.
4. Find someone who can support you, either a friend who wants to quit with you, someone who has already quit, or a support group either locally or on the internet. Finding more than one source helps even more.
5. Also in this first week, get rid of all the ashtrays and do not throw your butts on the ground outside.
6. In the second week, wait ten minutes every time you want a smoke and start slowing down. Make it a hour after you get up instead of 10 minutes.
7. Switch to the lowest brand you can get, but do NOT smoke more than usual.
8. When you smoke a cigarette, do NOTHING else. Just smoke.
9. Make sure you have some kind of replacement therapy before your quit date, like a nicotine patch, or Zyban. Patches are getting really cheap these days and you can even buy a higher nicotine content and cut the patches in half which makes it even cheaper.
10. The night before your quit date, throw ALL cigarettes away. Do not have any cigarettes left on the morning of your quit date, not anywhere within your reach. Avoid going anywhere where there will be a lot of smoking going on. Stick with your non-smoking friends for now.
11. When you get up, think positive. I AM A NON-SMOKER. Act like you have never smoked in your life.
12. If you want a cigarette, write in a journal, go for a walk, call a friend. The urge to smoke will leave you shortly.
13. To me the hardest days were days 4 through 7. Avoid places where smoking is permitted during your hard days. Try to focus on what's happening inside of you...the repairs that your body is making by now. Give yourself a reward for staying smoke-free for this long. Take ONE MINUTE at a time if you have to. Do not start thinking about a life time of not smoking, just think about today, and NOW. If you can stay smoke-free for another minute, then for another hour, eventually you can take it by the day, then by the week.
14. Never let yourself think that one cigarette won't hurt. That you will be strong enough to be able to handle JUST one. YOU ARE NOT!! Cigarettes are highly addictive and you WILL NOT be able to handle just one, unless you want it to be one of many to come.
15. Give yourself a reward for every week you stay smoke-free.

After one year your health Insurance will go down. Good luck!!

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The following links are three sites who will support you in quitting smoking.

Recovery Table

Quit Smoking

camel in hospital

When you get ready to quit, you might want to make a chart that includes the time of day, Monday through Sunday, and a total on the right and on the bottom. Then you mark down every time before you have a cigarette. At the end of the day you can tell which hour was worst for you and at the end of the week you will know what situations, what time of day and what activities to avoid in order to help you quit. It will also make you be aware of every time you do smoke and you're more likely to think before you smoke. We have a habit of smoking without really realizing it. Writing it down might surprise you how often you really smoke.

To proof my point.. have you ever had a cigarette in your mouth and looked in the ashtray just to find there was already one in there burning? There you go!

To check your progress on a quitmeter click here

Now that I have been a non-smoker for a while I do want to say one thing: All that hype about people feeling SOOOOO much better when they quit is a bunch of bologna. One thing that did change was my voice range, and how much air I have. I guess the biggest thing is that I have not been depressed since I've quit! However, I still get just as many colds as I do before too. So don't get discouraged when nothing happens, you're still improving your health, even if you DON'T feel anything happening in your body. The risk for cancer is getting lower and lower and just think of all the mess you have left behind (like burned carseats, clothing, etc.) One thing I really liked was when I was working for this company and everyone rushed for a cigarette on their short break and I was able to sit down with a book and relax. Cigarettes don't rule my life anymore....what a wonderful feeling to finally be FREE!!!!

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