How can I prepare to quit smoking or chewing tobacco?
It is generally agreed around here that preparation is the single most important factor in successfully overcoming nicotine addiction. Getting yourself to a state of psychological readiness starts with the thought that you may be about ready to stop smoking, and when that thought occurs, IMHO you've begun the process of becoming a non-/ex-smoker. Then, if you read the posts in alt.support.stop-smoking, soon you may find, as many have, that you've begun to think that you are ready to stop. Before you know it, you'll be setting a quit date! Once you've reached that stage, here are some suggestions to aid in your preparation:
Set a quit date
Preferably around a relatively stress-free time, although you shouldn't wait until the perfect time, because it doesn't exist! If you like, announce your intended quit date to the group and ask for quit buddies, or join in a group which has already formed. Belonging to a club usually gives you extra support, and makes you extra accountable!
Until your quit day, smoke without guilt, but do keep planning
Think about what provisions you will have on hand to comfort you, what (brainless) projects to keep you busy, what comfy quiet spaces if you find you just want to sleep, and whether you'll have access to AS3 and to e-mail. If the people you spend time with have not had the pleasure of seeing you go insane before, consider apologizing in advance for any bad behaviour you may exhibit. :) (After you quit, the statement, "I just quit smoking" will excuse much. Milk it for all it's worth!) As you read other people's posts and the info available on the web, you'll get some ideas that will help you.
Make any appointments, join any classes, lay in any provisions (herbal teas, cinnamon sticks, licorice root, comfort foods, Valium, etc.), and buy your patches, spray or Nicorette if you decide to use nicotine replacement therapy.
Start emptying your ashtrays into one or more clear glass jars which you'll save as long as needed - I kept one for a few months after I quit. (ed.) This 'revulsion therapy' will be of help after the initial motivation begins to leave you and you start thinking that smoking wasn't so bad after all. And each time you open the jar to add more butts and ashes, you'll get a whiff of negative reinforcement. Some people add a bit of water to their 'butt jars' to make them that much more nauseating - not recommended for those with sensitive stomachs!
Keep an eye on the prize
Keep a running list of reasons you want to quit. Especially as your date gets closer, really study the list; pick one of the most compelling reasons and repeat it to yourself over the course of the day. It's best to keep the reasons positive, upbeat; e.g., instead of saying "I want to quit so that I don't die a horrible ravaging death by lung cancer" you might say "I want to take a proactive role in my good health."
f. [Hot off the cyberpress! From Ask Dr. Weil, downloaded 21 Nov. 96]:
Quote: If you smoke, do breathing exercises. They will help motivate you to quit and help you with your cravings for cigarettes. Here's how to start. Sit with your back straight. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the exercise.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times.
- First, exhale completely though your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Next, close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Next, hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Then exhale completely through your mouth, again making a whoosh sound, to a count of eight.
From the same Ask Dr. Weil column; see above.
"If you smoke, you should take antioxidant vitamins and minerals, which to some extent can reverse the changes in respiratory tissue caused by smoking, and so help protect against lung cancer. Also, increase your intake of dietary sources of carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, and leafy green vegetables)."
Visualize: Start looking at people functioning normally without smoking. People who don't smoke are capable of having an argument, talking on the phone, waiting for a bus, playing pool, and basking in the afterglow just as well as people who smoke. Picture yourself getting through moments you normally associate with smoking, without doing so. Don't overwhelm yourself, i.e., you don't need to picture yourself getting through life or even the day without smoking; just one activity at a time. Watch someone enjoying a cafe latte without smoking. You can be in that picture!
Read and Post
i. Keep reading alt.support.stop-smoking daily (hourly, if necessary!), so that you'll start to get a sense of what to expect (good and bad), and post whenever you like, as often as you like, and as nonsensically as you like! Try not to loosen your withdrawal temper on another AS3 poster though.
Most important, keep in mind that quitting smoking is a journey, not an event. You will run into many obstacles on that journey, and meet many false friends. The more you can feel good about the place you're heading (the smober life) and unsentimental about the place you're leaving (life chained to nicotine), the more strength you will have to complete that journey.
Joe Jaquez contributed the following observations to the group:
When you decide to quit, it has to be for you, not for your wife, kids, or anyone else. Find a supportive friend(s) that you can call anytime of the day or night, someone who's shoulder you can cry on... because it's the hardest thing you will ever do, it's harder to quit smoking that to quit abusing heroin or alcohol... The desire to live has to overpower the desire to smoke.... Your primary relationship has to change from the cigarette to you... to have a relationship with yourself and to continue living for years to come.