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Seeking advice...

JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

Not so much a question as much as seeking advice. I've vowed to quit smoking after nearly 30 years of doing it. In the past month I've been able to overcome a lot of bad stuff in my life. Today being my second day of attempting to quit, I was just like my old self, snapping at my girlfriend and my son, getting angry with someone at Walmart. I ended up leaving for work early just to get out of the house so my family wouldn't have to deal with my attitude. This quitting isn't going very well as I've been sneaking cigarettes left and right. Granted I've smoked a lot less in these past couple days than I usually do, but after all I've been through and survived in my life, I can't believe these little tobacco tubes are kicking my butt so badly. I feel horrible for how I acted today and don't want to keep acting like this. I'm not very good at telling myself no on anything and that's one of the things making this so difficult.
Does anyone have any advice?
Thank you all so much. As always, I bow to each and every one of you.



  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Try everything:

    • stop smoking hypnosis on youtube
    • gum, patches, herbal cigarettes etc

    After trying before, one thing is different this time: acceptance of imperfections.

    Self Govt

  • @JohnCobb

    When it comes to quitting smoking, a common accompanying habit is a drink (alcoholic or non alcoholic beverage) in one hand and a cigarette in the other they goes hand in hand so to speak...

    It's important to try and occupy the cigarette holding hand with another activity, such as holding an unrelated object like mala beads...

    Also physical exercise helps, like powerwalking, bike riding, swimming etc one in which the whole family can partake in...

    Does your partner smoke ?

  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @Shoshin she vapes. We've agreed that she won't do it around me and we have removed all smoking paraphernalia from the house so I don't have to see it.
    @lobster that's a very interesting article. I'll read it a little closer when I'm off work in the morning, but I took a cursory glance thru it and it seems to be full of good information! Thank you all ❤️

  • That's a good start....👍

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    I have advice. Which may or may not help.
    I smoked a pack a day from 1972 to 2006 … that’s 34 years. I tried support groups, nicotine gum, the nicotine patch, hypnosis, cold turkey. Always, the cravings would make me SO tense and frantic that I HAD to end up going and buying more smokes.

    Then one I ran into an old family friend I hadn’t seen for about 15 years … previously, my husband and I had stopped being friends with this man because he had become a heroin addict. But now he was "clean", and his story was germane to my own struggles with nicotine:

    He had tried to quit heroin several times, but every time the withdrawal symptoms were SO awful (yes, google them - FAR worse than nicotine withdrawal) that he HAD to go out and score another hit. Finally, he got together 3 months’ worth of survival supplies and had a friend drive him up into the northern bush (yes, we live in Canada). Told his friend to come back in 3 months. Either he would be dead or he would be straight. Then he settled down for the pure hell of withdrawal … and had NO withdrawal symptoms at all. ??!!!

    Taking his story, I recognized a similarity. So I took a week of vacation from work, climbed into a car with a friend who did not smoke, and we spend 4 days driving through the Rocky Mountains ... and NOT stopping to buy cigarettes. Interesting, the first two days I only felt fuzzy-headed … except for the first night when we got a hotel room because it was raining (no camping out). With cigarettes and smokers around outside, I felt a frantic craving, but It was over within one hour (I went for a walk to distract myself). I had quit for good and there were no temper tantrums or terrible tension … except for that one hour.

    It is maybe significant that I had a water bottle with a pop-top and every time I had a craving, I would suck some water from the bottle instead of sucking on a cigarette. And would firmly inwardly say, about cigarettes, “I don’t DO that anymore!”. Even more significantly, I just WASN’T where I could easily get cigarettes.

    The thing is that our brain does NOT like to change, and will do anything it can to make us so uncomfortable that we feel the ONLY solution is to .. not change. At least, if there is any possibility we can get our hands on a smoke, in which case our brain has a temper tantrum to try to coerce us into getting a cigarette.

    Understand that no craving, emotion or thought lasts longer than 90 seconds in our brain, from the time the neuro-chemical signal starts to travel until it is reabsorbed and that craving/emotion/thought stops. If it SEEMS to go on longer than 90 seconds, all that is happening is that as soon as the first one ends, we immediately start a NEW, identical one ... and it can seem like one LONG feeling.

    So the trick is that we can withstand anything for only 90 seconds. Take a suck on the water bottle, distract yourself, firmly say you don’t do that anymore. Do some in-place calesthenics - whatever works for you. And start by breaking BREAK YOUR DAILY HABIT by taking a vacation and getting away from everything that trigggers smoking.

    Yes, I did have cravings from time to time, but never strong enough to drive me back to smoking. They passed quickly because I didn't hang onto them. And with every week the cravings occurred less and less, weaker and weaker, and it was … I guess about 4 months and I no longer craved smokes. And have never had any cravings since that time. 15 years ago.

    I should have quit much earlier in life. I have COPD now, and wearing these covid facemasks makes me SO breathless :(

    So best to you. I hope my experience is helpful in some way.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Superb pointers from @FoibleFull .
    Also, don't tell people - or YOURSELF - that you're 'giving up' smoking.
    Tell others that You. Don't. Smoke.

    "No thanks, I don't smoke."
    "WHAT?! Really?? Since when?!?"
    "Since right now. Is that a problem for you?"

    (That's the angle my brother took. It worked. It stopped people from tempting him, or cajoling him to 'go, on, one won't hurt...!' It made them take responsibility for their own insistence...)

  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran


    I quit a few years ago after over 20 years of smoking. I didn't use any nicotine replacement, but that was because I had tried nicotine replacement in the past and I didn't stay quit.
    My decision to quit for real was a part of my decision to right the ship of my ethical behavior. I had been lying to people about smoking occasional cigarettes for years - primarily my wife. Since I didn't smoke every day and when I did it wasn't all day, admittedly the habit was probably easier for me to stop than it would be for someone who hadn't already cut back.
    Here's what I did: I came up with a short list of four reasons for quitting that I found to be the most meaningful to me. When I had an urge to smoke, I did a short meditation. I first identified the physical sensation of wanting a cigarette, and reminded myself it would be over soon. Then I pictured in my thoughts each of my four quit reasons. Since I couldn't do that in the car, (gotta keep those eyes open) I made a little poster out of yellow cardstock, pasted a photo of my kids on there, and put in bold letters these words: DO YOU LOVE THEM? NO SMOKING. Every time someone saw it they gave me lots of encouragement. Especially at the Starbucks drive-through. Those kids were super cool. I also wore a pin on my chest that advertised that I was quitting.
    Another great resource was my wife. The first few days it was pretty hard, and I texted or called her for support. She was very helpful and non-judgmental because I was finally leaning on her instead of denying her help and then lying to her.
    The awesome thing about doing it this way was that I was paying attention to how I felt the entire time. I was having emotions and dealing with them. I was refusing to live in denial. I was receiving helpful encouragement from loved ones and strangers. Sure, I was grumpier than usual, but that's part of mindfulness - learning how to identify hard feelings and the physical sensations that they produce, and setting them aside.
    Good luck, my friend.

    One more thing: there's a Buddhist addiction recovery group called Refuge Recovery. It doesn't matter that you're not trying to quit booze or pills or whatever, you'll be welcome. They have weekly meetings and they can be your sangha. There are lots of virtual meetings as well, in case that works better for you. Google them and check it out. I think you'll be grateful you did.

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