I began smoking when I was 17. The group of kids I ran around with all smoked and I wanted to fit in. It was easy to start.
At first, I hid it from most people because it was becoming socially unacceptable. But to a non-smoker, I stunk. The smoke permeates itself into everything it touches. You cannot hide the smell.
I loved smoking. There was nothing more enjoyable than a cigarette after a meal. And when having a night cap, that made having a drink that much better. My worst craving for a cig was driving in a car, I had to have one. I greedily looked forward to those moments.
I put smoking before my family. If you smoke, then you do too. I understand, believe me. I smoked in front of my kids which in the 90’s was borderline taboo.
The dependance to cigarettes is so powerful that it’s been compared to drug addiction. When I woke up in the morning, after eating and right before bed are the premo times for smokers. And it didn’t matter if it was hot, cold or raining, I would stand outside to get my cigarette time.
A smoker tends to associate certain events coupled with cigarettes as very pleasurable. You get that release of dopamine when you combine the two. It’s a euphoric rush.
But let me tell you what else it’s a rush of; toxins. There are 1000s of different chemicals in each cigarette. The super scary ones are hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, tar and nicotine. Ah yes, it’s the nicotine that has us coming back for more.
I’m singing to the choir here when I talk about what is in the tobacco. You are familiar with all the health related diseases that might affect your heart and lungs. Oh, add cancer to that and now the cards really are stacked against smokers.
But ladies, did you know the secret ugly truth? You’ve seen the strange texture of their faces and heard their raspy voices. Smoking will cause wrinkles, dry skin, brittle hair and stained teeth.
Just like with some drugs, smoking will steal your appearance.
Ok, enough of the horrible stuff, I want to tell you that you can end it. Yes right now, today, this very minute. But first, tell yourself you want to stop. Look in the mirror if you need to and say it out loud.
:: I WANT TO STOP SMOKING ::
This is going to suck! It is. I’m sorry about this part, but you need to do it. Throw away all your cigarettes and lighters. Yes, every single one of them. Break the cigarettes in half if you need to, just get them out of your house and car. Remove any ash trays as well.
1. Keep your hands busy
Here’s your shopping list: invest in some sugar free gum, hard candy and lollipops. You will need to keep your hands busy while your body is detoxing. Suckers are excellent to have because they last a long time and you’ve got to hold them.
Another trick is to brush your teeth after you eat anything, because toothpaste and cigarettes never tastes good, yuck!
2. Start sweating
Plan to exercise every chance you get. Here’s some awesome news; the more you exercise, the faster your body will detox because you’re sweating out the nicotine. Know anyone with a sauna? Does your gym offer access to one? Take full advantage of sweating your butt off so you can recover sooner.
3. Buddy up
Find an accountability partner. Preferable one who is a nonsmoker. You can’t trick them, they’ll smell you from a mile away if you cheat. Your hair is also a dead giveaway, it’ll stink like smoke!
Expect to have nervous energy or agitation. The exercise will help with this. Run in place, take a shower, call a friend or scream if you have to. Just keep yourself from smoking. I did all of these things.
There will be side effects and they’ll kick you in the rear if you’re not proactive. Expect to do battle with your nicotine cravings. Time will be your best friend, people who still smoke won’t.
Accept that you do have your limits and consult a doctor if you are unable to cope with being smoke free. What I did to stop smoking, the cold turkey method, may not work for everyone. I did not use any medications, acupuncture or hypnosis. I used the strategy that I suggested in this post.
I stopped smoking cigarettes in 2009 and have been on the wagon since. I still think about lighting one up on stressful days, but I don’t. I consider myself a nicotine addict because it would only take one and I’d be hooked again.
But for now, I’m smoke free and loving life.
For additional information on how to quit smoking, click HERE
Are you a former smoker? How long have you been on the wagon?
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