Learning to quit smoking: one of the hardest decisions of your life

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known to human kind. I believe that force of habit may actually be the more powerful reason that quitting is so hard. Once the habit is ingrained, facing the thought of quitting seems about as torturous as having bamboo shoots driven under your fingernails!

If you really want to quit, there is only one real way to succeed; you have to make up your mind that you are going to quit and then take action. It’s really that simple. Sure, we are here to help you, we offer many support systems with our auriculotherapy program, but without the will to quit… you will not succeed.

This may be one of the most difficult decisions you ever make, but you have to keep in mind that you are doing this for yourself, to create a better you, and this is the 1st day of the rest of your life.

Ways to Help Make the Decision to Quit Smoking

Every smoker is different, but for some a good starting place is to actually write down, in vivid detail, all the reasons you want to quit smoking; to feel better, get more dates, save money, etc. Write them on post-it notes and stick them up all over the house. Start thinking about your reasons, and every time you light up a cigarette remind yourself of at least one reason. Start practicing this exercise now, and continue throughout your cessation.

Set a Date to Quit Smoking

Pick a date to quit. It could be the 1st day of the week, or the 1st day of the next month, whatever works. But set the date according to your smoking habits, for example don’t select your quit date right before your trip to Vegas, please give yourself a fighting chance! Then once you’ve selected your date to quit, stay committed. Smoke up until then, but once you get to the committed date, there can be no turning back if you really want to quit.

Redirect Your Need to Smoke

Redirection is one of the most effective ways to quit; ask anyone who has succeeded and they will probably tell you that once they quit smoking, they found something else to focus their attention on… hopefully more, not less healthy. It would not be good to quit smoking and start, say, drinking heavily or eating a lot more.

Pick something like exercise, chewing gum or a new hobby to help redirect your attention. Forming a new habit will help you avoid falling back into the old smoking habit. One creative way of working through breaking the habitual hand-to-mouth sensation is to cut 1/4 of a straw, and breathe through it, as if it were a cigarette. This will help you through your “nicotine fits” and will help your practice deep breathing to calm the physical withdrawal symptoms, and some find that the fresh clean air intake is very satisfying.

Dealing with Nicotine Withdrawal

Most smokers who are determined to quit underestimate the challenges of nicotine withdrawal. The Auriculotherapy program we offer here at InsideOut Wellness will help you throughout this phase of withdrawal. This form of acupuncture will calm the physical withdrawal symptoms of nicotine.

Withdrawal symptoms can include any of the following:

  1. Dizziness (which may only last 1 to 2 days after quitting)

  2. Depression

  3. Feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger

  4. Anxiety

  5. Irritability

  6. Sleep disturbances, including having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and having bad dreams or even nightmares

  7. Trouble concentrating

  8. Restlessness or boredom

  9. Headaches

  10. Tiredness

  11. Increased appetite

  12. Weight gain

  13. Constipation and gas

  14. Cough, dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal drip

  15. Chest tightness

This Auriculotherapy program consists of an unlimited number of visits within 45 days of your first treatment.

Resist Triggers to Start Smoking Again

Here’s the scenario most who smoke have already faced before: You are determine to quit and you do actually quit for some period of time; a day, a week, a month or even several years. And then it happens; you have a bad day or break up a relationship, lose your job, a friend or loved one dies, etc. And you tell yourself, just one, that’s it; I gotta have a smoke, but just one and that’s it. But it rarely ever is; once a smoker, always a smoker! All it takes is succumbing to the desire in your weakest moment and you are likely to relapse before you even know what happened.

The truth of the matter is that relapses will happen. In the case it does, write down what triggered you to start smoking again and get back on the horse. Regain you focus that you are doing this to create a better you!

Smoking Cessation a Day at a Time

Relapse is actually very common. Probably for every ten smokers who quit, only one of them goes successfully and never relapses. How you deal with it if and when it happens to you can make all the difference. If you get down on yourself about a relapse and tell yourself you just can’t do it, then that’s probably going to be your own truth. You feel ashamed, like you are a loser who just doesn’t have the self determination and wherewithal to quit.

But if you can accept that you are only human and prone to make mistakes, you can pick yourself up again and quit, even if you relapse several times. There is no shame in suffering a relapse; it’s actually very natural and happens to many smokers who quit.

The main thing to remember is what I started off with; only you can decide to quit and, if you have a relapse, only you can decide to start over again. The only thing that really matters is not giving up on your commitment to quit. Take it a day at a time but don’t ever stop trying to quit and stay that way.

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