Sunday, January 5, 2014

Realistic ways to quit smoking

Cigarettes addiction is real. It's like a piece of fresh, bloody meat to a hungry great white. When the craving kicks in, my mind will go blank and all that I want at that very moment, is a few puffs of that cancer stick. I used to be a heavy smoker, at least 20 sticks a day, sometimes slightly more if I need to stay up late.

For many years, my new year's resolution started with 'Quit Dunhill'. It was until June last year that I finally kicked the deadly habit. Every one tells me to quit but no one mention anything about relapse. Do you know recovering from a relapse is harder than quitting cigarettes the first time? Your mind is telling you that it's okay to have one stick, then another stick, and another one, because you have done it before (quit smoking, that is) and you can easily do it again. Then BAM! You are hooked again and you're back to square one!
What's an easier way to quit smoking for a first timer? Answer is, when you are mentally ready to do so. And what's the easiest way to quit smoking after a relapse? Cold turkey. 

Of course that's easier said than done. I KNOW, because I have been there, done that. So having gone through all the 'quit smoking' processes and relapses, I am writing this to help those who really want to quit smoking and those who are going through a relapse and struggling to quit.

Step #1: Have a solid reason to quit.
(You don't need 10, just 1 super solid reason to do so.)
Ask yourself, why do you even want to quit? For relapse, remind yourself the reason you quit in the first place. Let's admit it. Cigarettes are very pleasurable indeed. In fact, my brain used to be so dependent on nicotine that it can't function without me taking a puff. It gave me the boost I need to function daily. It made me feel more relax, it calms my nerves and in return, I can think better. So why do I want to quit? Because I don't want my life to be controlled by cigarettes. Because I don't want to suffer and die of a painful death. Have you seen man living with cancer before? Just watch Breaking Bad. (Word of caution: Movie series are as addictive as ciggies.)

Step #2: Purchase some 4mg nicotine lozenges.
(Lozenges are expensive but they're cheaper than cigarettes in long run.)
I have tried nicotine patches, gums, inhaler and lozenges. Don't bother trying the patch and inhaler. Smoking is also a habit besides an addiction. When I wake up in the morning, I make myself a mug of coffee and I smoke. When I'm restless, I smoke. When I'm angry, I smoke. When I'm drinking and partying away, I smoke. When I have some free time on hand, I smoke. After a meal, I smoke. It's a vicious pattern, an unhealthy habit. To break the vicious habit, you need to replace the smoking part with something proactive and nicotine patch isn't going to help. Lozenges, on the other hand, is something proactive because you need to open the child-locked top, take 1 piece and pop it into your mouth and slowly suckle at it. One piece of lozenge will last you 2 to 3 hours in the mouth. Do not chew!

Step #3: Timing it wisely.
The timing of when you have your last stick (last stick for good) matters! The best time is, before bed time. When the craving kicks in, instead of going out to buy a pack, march right to bed! Brush your teeth thoroughly, triple wash your hands so there is no odour left to remind you of smoking.

Step #4: The last stick in the pack.
(Enjoy it while it lasts!)
There's no need to bid goodbye or whatever so. Please, people! Just enjoy a quiet moment with your last ciggy while mentally preparing yourself that this is the last stick. You'll realise how good it taste! Lol. Should you have leftovers in the pack, I'm sorry but you'll have to throw it away. As an ex-smoker, I know it's still better to smoke them all rather than throwing any sticks away, right? So go ahead, smoke them all till the last stick.

Step #5: Warn your loved ones!
You will go bonkers during the first week of quiting. Your emotions will go haywire and tempers shall flare at the slightest bit of irritation. You're agitated, restless, frustrated, exhausted, feeling sick and moody. But, somehow, your appetite will grow and you'll feel hungry. Prep yourself and those around you well enough with nicotine withdrawal symptoms to avoid the possibilities of you biting their heads off.

Step #6: Distract yourself.
You wake up in the morning and the first thing you usually do is to light a stick. The craving is so strong, and your throat is still sore and dry from smoking. Today's the first day you're quiting cigarettes. So what do you do? Distract yourself! Eat some chocolates, suck on an ice cube, have breakfast. Do something you don't normally do. E.g. If you normally make yourself a cup of coffee to go with ciggy, try taking a shower first. After that, munch on some bread before making your coffee. If you normally smoke in the toilet while taking a dump, avoid the toilet. Go to the kitchen first and munch on something sweet like chocolates, or you can opt to shower first. The key is to alter your daily pattern and break the habit. You need to continue doing this for the first 7 days or until your cravings for morning ciggies have mellowed down. Don't forget to suckle on the lozenges too!

Step #7: Stay away from convenience.
(For at least 2 months. Yes, you heard me.... 2 months!)
These are the danger zone blinking in RED. Smoker friends, pubs, parties, boozes, convenience stores, cigarettes counters, etc. Yeah, you have to stop all that. Zero connection. That's the hardest part, I know. There were times when I was walking pass a convenience store on my way home and I swear there was a strong magnetic force that drew me in to purchase my cancer sticks. And saying no to smoker friends' invitations for a cuppa? Worst feeling ever! Suddenly, they became the devils because I chose to be an angel. Urgh.

No comments:

Post a Comment