Quitting smoking is like climbing Mt. Everest. Sure people have done it before, probably not anyone you know, but you have heard it is possible. And yes, you could climb the mountain with the right training, but when you look at the facts you realize that it is just not that important to you.
I have tried a great many times to quit smoking and have even done so for years at a time. But then comes that moment of weakness and all of those years of not smoking are flushed down the drain. You tell yourself at first you will just have one and no more. Then it’s one a month, and then it’s only the weekends, then one a day, and so on.
Many years ago during my brief stint in rehab, drugs were obviously frowned upon. People were there for a variety of different addictions, but the one thing in common was that everyone would smoke cigarettes during breaks. I kept laughing to myself the entire time because these so-called counselors would condemn your drug usage but allow you to smoke. It was even discussed how nicotine is more addictive than heroin and crack. What I am trying to get at here is that cigarettes are so terrible that even rehabilitation centers refuse to try to get you to stop smoking. Perhaps they fear that you will turn into a raving lunatic and kill everyone over morning coffee.
My best advice if you are trying to quit smoking is: good luck. In all seriousness, people have tried everything to quit smoking and nothing seems to work for them. The most common problem is not being around people that smoke and places where you used to smoke. The common problem is the why. Why are you choosing to quit smoking, you need to ask yourself this honestly and admit to yourself how bad you want to quit. The only way you are going to quit smoking is if you can find something that is motivating enough to convince you to stop. Then any method will work.
I would recommend that you start by doing the following.
1. Assess how much you smoke in a week. Before, during, after work? At bars? Etc…
2. Set a goal that you can reach. Like in the movie What about Bob? – baby steps. If you set your goal out of reach and you fail, then the method will not work. Take for instance; say you will go 24 hours without smoking. When you achieve this goal you will feel proud and make sure that you reward yourself. Go to a bar, have a drink, and by all means smoke a cigarette.
3. Next set a goal a little farther like 36 or 48 hours and keep advancing it as you reach each goal, but make sure to reward yourself each time you reach the goal. This will help to train your body and subconscious that by not smoking you get a reward.
4. Eventually try to work your smoking down to only smoking during one particular instance like after sex, or only when you drink. But remember to reward yourself each time you reach the new goal.
5. One day, further down the road, it will feel like forever has gone by and you will look back and it has. You will say to yourself that you have grown out of this self destructive phase and start poisoning yourself with some other toxin – but at least you will be able to breath after walking up a flight of stairs.
Quitting smoking is not an easy task. Going “cold turkey” might work for that guy at the gym that everyone says did it, but everyone is different. Be honest with yourself and realize that quitting will take a lot of time and discipline. Finding something to replace that need is a good idea, but don’t just trade one addiction for the other. Learn to accept that you have no control over you action and you will begin to adjust. It took your body a long time to learn to smoke the amount you do, and it is going to take some time to unlearn that action.