Trying To Quit Smoking? Never Quit Quitting
So you tried quitting. You quit cold turkey. You tried a medicine like Chantix. You tried working with your doctor. You quit with a friend. And each time you quit you made it so far. Then you gave into that urge and smoked once again. If this describes you, you are not alone. Most people who quit make many efforts. And expert advice to you today is: Never Quit Quitting!!!
Quitting quitting is not a failure!
This we want you to know. It is not a failure if you quit and then quit quitting. The reason I say this is that you always have your experiences. Let me give you an example. Let’s say there was that time you quit cold turkey. It was hard, but you made it for three days. So, you have three days of experience not smoking. You made it two weeks? You have two weeks' experience as a non-smoker.
Fine. So you restarted smoking. Still, you cannot take away that experience as a non-smoker.
You had a great reason for quitting!
So, why did you quit in the first place? Why do people quit smoking?
You quit because you know it’s hurting you. You are putting a harmful substance into your body. You are putting poisons into your body. You know that it’s harming you, but you keep on doing it. Sure, there’s joy in smoking. Sure, it’s a habit. And it might just be the toughest habit to break. But, you also know it’s hurting you. So, a part of you decided it was a good idea to quit.
So, you are aware it’s harming you. You know this. You cannot take away this wisdom. It’s there and you can add this to your experience, and that’s good. It’s not good that it’s harming you. But, it’s good that you are aware that it is harming you. Or, you are aware that it has the potential for harming you.
So, you think about quitting
At times, you may actually succeed at quitting. You might succeed for half a day. You might succeed for 2-3 days. You might make it a week. I have had patients make it months before they quit quitting. I have had patients who said they made it several years before they lit up another cigarette.
They sometimes say things like, “I am a failure.” And I say, “You are not a failure. You succeeded! You quit. That’s a success. You now have three days of success as a quitter. You have weeks worth experience as a non-smoker. You have a year’s experience as a non-smoker. You have five years of experience as a non-smoker."
You cannot take away those experiences
So, think to yourself: “Those times you quit smoking, what caused you to light up again?” Ask yourself this question. And then try to find some way you can get around it.
Was it the habit?
You get up every day and you have a cup of coffee. You sit at the table and drink coffee and you smoke. Try something different in the morning. Plan ahead what you will do instead. Get up and go for a walk right away instead maybe. You can also talk to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine to help you overcome that desire to smoke.
Was it a social event?
I know many people quit but restart during a party. They have a drink and their willpower falls away. They ask a friend to borrow a cigarette and the habit is restarted. So, you can plan ahead this time. How can you prevent this? Maybe it’s a good idea to avoid such social events until you think you have a hang of your new non-smoking habit?
Was it loneliness?
You quit quitting because you felt isolated. You quit quitting because you were avoiding others who smoked, and now you feel lonely. What is a way to get around this? This time maybe you can do it with a friend. Maybe you can use a quit-smoking helpline. Do you need counseling? That's an option too.
Was it the withdrawal symptoms?
This is the most common reason why people give in to the urge. You feel depressed. You feel anxious. You get a headache. You gain weight. What can you do to get around this one? Well, there are options here too. The best option might be talking with your doctor. There are nicotine replacement strategies. You may use these to gradually wean off nicotine. There are many nicotine replacement options to choose from. There’s gum, lozenges, inhalers, etc.
Was it because you lack motivation?
So, you started smoking again because you just don’t see the point of quitting. You enjoy smoking a lot more than non-smoking. So, you quit quitting due to a lack of motivation. So, think about what would motivate you to keep on quitting. What would help you get over this obstacle? Well, how about your health. And if that’s not motivating, how about your kids? How about your grandkids? You quit and maybe you’ll get those extra years to spend with those cuties. You can do it for them.
Was it something else?
We are all unique. We all have our own unique experiences. So, each of us may have our own reasons for quitting. So, what are your unique reasons for lighting up again? What unique roadblocks (if any) caused you to go back to smoking? If you can define the obstacle, perhaps this time you can plan to get around it.
Take a step back
You cannot take away your experiences. You cannot take away your smoking experiences. In the same way, you cannot take away your non-smoking experiences. So, if you quit and then lit up again, that’s fine. Take a step back. Take some time off and regroup. Think about what caused you to light up again. Come up with a plan of action to overcome this obstacle.
Don’t ever quit quitting! You can do it.
Which of the following best describes your COPD diagnosis?