I have been cigarette free since July 2012. I had tried many times to quit. Now I feel each time I attempted to quit really counts as a learning experience. There are a few added suggestions on helpful supplements and non prescription medications at the end of my article. Please check with your physician as to weather any of my suggestions would interfere with medications you are currently on.
Back to how I quit smoking and made it fun. Here is the breakdown and the break free of it all.
One: You should create a plan that works for you. To create that plan the best way you might have to experiment with your own tolerance level and symptom reducers. If you have tried to quit cold turkey before, great: Look at every time and ask this question: What happened? For me it was stress and a feeling of deprivation. Beyond the usually stomach cramps and headaches and lousy flu like complaints that most people experience within the first week of quitting, there are emotional land mines. All the emotional highs seemed to need a cigarette to balance them out. If I was very excited and happy, I needed a cigarette, if I was bored, I needed a cigarette, if I was angry and irritable, I needed a cigarette, but stress trumped all those emotional moments for me. Nicotine mixes with brain chemistry, and sets off a pleasure bouquet of adrenaline and blood sugar and dopamine. It creates an intense release that lasts for about 10 minutes and then starts to subside. It takes you down.
Two: Create a pre-planned withdrawal day. Pick a day or just a half day where you go without a cigarette. I already know that I will become a bitch and people should not come anywhere near me. That is a given. I also already know that I will want to "snack." Chocolate works pretty well for me. Salty foods seem to work too. This is where you experiment. Have a supportive friend buy you Nicotine patches and snacks at the store. Then have them pick up a funny movie from a DVD rental place. Tell them to not venture into the dragons lair. They should simply leave all items on your door step and tip toe away. They should not even stick their vulnerable head in the door and say good luck. It is best to text message this if needed. I would wear the patch for about 8 hours.
Then peel it off and have a pre planned cigarette. That was the best cigarette ever and I would feel dizzy after smoking it. Start picking more days like that. Plan for a day of abstinence, and then reward it. In psychology we call this creating self efficacy. I knew that I could survive 8 hours without a cigarette.
I grew in confidence. I also want to suggest some other supplements to add to your arsenal in quitting. There is natural antidepressant called St Johns Wort. I took 300 mg a day and found that I handled life better. I have been Type A for a long time and need to chill out sometimes. There are other mood lifters as well and those include taking B complex Vitamins with GABA. Also add 2000 milligrams of Vitamin C as well as MSM at 2000 milligrams a day. This little cocktail is a chemical balancer and will help fill in the gap that nicotine is leaving. Taking walks and doing Yoga Stretches is great too.
Three: Around the second or third week of these planned periods of abstinence you will want to go a bit longer. Perhaps a whole week-end would be nice. Some people venture into nature and hike and camp without a cigarette around for about two days. Take patches and anything that might aid you in not losing your mind. My friends would hide an "emergency cigarette" somewhere for me. If needed I could call and ask for it in an extreme emergency. They would say OK wait one more hour and then I will tell you. That worked the first time. I am psychic and so the next time I received a visual image of where the cigarette was hid. That was not going to work anymore. Sometimes just a little barrier will help people go a bit longer without a cigarette.
Four: During the smoking days start limiting your daily intake of cigarettes. Wrap a piece of note paper around the box of cigarettes and the place a rubber band around this. Tally the cigarettes by placing a mark on the paper each time you remove the rubber band. It helps to explore what you're feeling as well, so instead of a mark, you can write a one word description, like "upset", anxious, "on the phone" or whatever will help explain the need for that cigarette. On the phone was a big one for me. I wanted to light up when I talked to certain friends. I started eating sun flower seeds instead. Drop you cigarettes by two a day each week. By week five I was using patches most of the day but smoking two in the morning and two at night. This is when the health crisis starts.
Five: Up to now, I am working with being gradual but now my lungs are starting to wake up and they wish to clean up. I start having a productive cough and if I am not very careful it will become pneumonia or bronchitis. I learned to stock up on Mucinex, or any Guaifenesin product. Take more vitamins like B, C and D3 and rest all that you can. Drink plenty of water. Start treating yourself for the lung cleansing crisis that is sure to happen. You are doing a great thing for your lungs, heart, cardiovascular system, liver and even bladder. There is an odd connection between the bladder and cigarettes. I would experience a weak bladder and some accidents too and became prepared for that as well. It seems unfitting that nature would reward the withdrawal away from nicotine with that cold/flu sickness. That is very common and it is the not a fun part of quitting. It is a bridge to the other side. Imagine having nice pink lungs. I say wear pink all day every day and sing along with Cyndi Lauper, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and they "want to" have pink rosy lungs too. And if you are a guy who is quitting... hey you can wear pink too. It is your secret.
Six: Start replacing the cigarette with fun things that you can enjoy. This is an interesting task. I often heard myself say, "This is my 5 minute vacation". This is my only vice and I would defend this terrible habit of mine. It is necessary to do something else. Go to You Tube and use the search bar to watch and ASMR videos.
Take up dancing or new hobbies and figure out some short activities that will replace a dependency that once gave you pleasure. This part six still goes on for me. I will probably be seeking short little vacation moments in my day for the next ten years. I like blogging, bubble baths, talking to friends, taking walks and reading. I got through the sixth and seventh week smoking one cigarette a day and finding some new pleasures. Eventually, I was not buying cigarettes or patches. One day in July, it hit me, I am free of this. Praise God and Hallelujah! I did not suffer with this all that much. I found it to be an experiment and a slow transition. If I did badly on one day, I would just get back on track the next day. It actually was a fun and uplifting time for me. I feel great now and have more energy. I do not have a morning cough and I did not get a cold this winter. These are the signs of success for me. I sincerely hope this article will help you with your own personal comfort in quitting.