Posted by emfleek
Well, I can't technically say I 'quit' just yet. It's been about 26 hours since I had my last cigarette. Wish me luck. I'm going to need it...
Feel free to share your success stories and/or hints and advice. The candy thing doesn't work for me...I'm not much of a candy fan. My best bet, I think, is to simply stay busy to keep my mind off of it.
I smoked for about twelve years, and quitting was a 2-year-long process for me, but it actually wasn't that difficult. My advice is to not
go "cold turkey." I can't imagine how to make it more difficult on yourself than that, and I think some people who try aren't really serious about quitting; after a while, people started to notice that they hadn't seen me smoking.
That's the first thing you need to do: You have to actually decide to quit, not just say you're quitting. Be honest with yourself, even if you lie to everyone else. In fact, I specifically didn't
tell other people that I was quitting.
Assuming you genuinely want to quit and aren't just trying to look like you're trying, here's how I did it:
First, I tended to smoke at predictable times, so I sort of 'mapped out' my smoking patterns: I smoked on my way to work or school in the morning; I smoked after eating a meal; I smoked when I wanted to take a break from working or doing school work; I smoked while drinking coffee or beer; and so on.
So my first "trick" was to quit one cigarette at a time. The first cigarette that I quit smoking was my first cigarette of the day. Then I quit smoking the cigarette that I would smoke mid-morning, to take a break from work. Then I quit smoking the cigarette I would smoke after lunch. Eventually, I would only smoke in the evening. Then I would only smoke on weekends. Then I would only smoke while I was out at a bar or at a party. Then I would only smoke when I was out of the country. Obviously, this would be different for you, based on your "map" of your smoking habits.
For a while, I replaced some of these cigarettes with a mint or a piece of gum. The stronger, the better. Altoids were too weak. I needed something that burned and made my eyes water.
Also, I don't agree with people who say you should avoid activities that you associate with smoking, like drinking coffee or beer. I didn't want to change my entire life, I just wanted to quit smoking, so I re-trained myself to do those things without cigarettes. I still drink beer and coffee, I still go outside to stretch my legs after lunch, and I still have sex. The only thing I quit doing was smoking.
My second "trick" was to allow myself an "emergency cigarette." That is, I allowed myself to smoke against the pattern once in a while. For instance, I had two on September 11th, 2001, even though that was a Tuesday, and I was only smoking on weekends. I wasn't "falling off the wagon", or failing in any way; those smokes were part of the plan.
My third "trick" was to only keep as many cigarettes from each new pack as fit my new pattern. In a sense, I bought just as many packs as before - buying them was part of my habit - but I shrank each pack of smokes to fit. Towards the end, I was buying a new pack of smokes and then giving or throwing away 17 or 18 of them. This made buying cigarettes increasingly painful, and after a while I was spending $1-$2 on every smoke.
I chewed a pack of gum a week for a couple of years after quitting, but I've even quit that now, too.