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Need to stop, please help

I would appreciate anyone's successful cold-turkey coping mechanisms. I have found it impossible to not smoke because my anxiety about continuing surgery issues is just such a huge trigger. I've read the info on this site multiple times and my self-shame has finally kicked in. I'm determined to quit and banish this terrible habit that has such a negative effect on the healing I need. Any non-medical, forum-approved suggestions would be helpful, like people say "keep your hands busy", but what do you do? Specific examples are the hardest to come by and can be the most helpful.
Thank you so much.


  • Being a psychology student, I used behavioral modification on myself when I quit smoking several years ago. I'm still very thankfully smoke-free! I knew "cold-turkey" wasn't going to work for me, so I stepped smoking down in stages. I do understand how anxiety can be a big obstacle to quitting smoking, however...Please try not to add more stress to yourself by engaging in "self-shaming"!! That's certainly not going to help!!! The fact that you truly desire to quit is huge!!

    I looked at that times when I was most likely to smoke--drinking coffee, driving, and after a meal. I started putting rules on myself. I did it in baby steps--didn't allow myself to have a cigarette until my second cup of coffee, either putting the cigarettes out of reach or leaving them home when I went somewhere, and putting a half hour in between a meal and a smoke afterwards (then working up to an hour and beyond).

    I can only say what helped me to kick the habit--there is no right or wrong way to quit smoking, after all. One less cigarette a day IS progress, right? :)
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Thanks for the advice and support. Stressing about smoking than smoking because of stress is such a vicious cycle! I'm going to use your suggestion of starting out by cutting out as many as my "regular" times as possible.
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  • No problem at all!   You've got the drive to quit,  now it's time to put your plans in motion!   You are SO right about stress and smoking being a vicious cycle--well said!   Bottom line is YOU CAN DO THIS! 
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646
    I just didn't give up trying to quit. I was never a heavy smoker, but nonetheless it was hard to give them up. At first it felt like the loss of a good friend; such a bad habit to cultivate in order to feel good, at least until the next craving creeps up on you, and the more one smokes, the more frequent the cravings. So I did what Kimmy did too; slowly cutting back, putting some restrictions on when and where I couldn't smoke. 

    I also had to replace having a cig in my hand with similar sized things like straws, and cinnamon sticks. They didn't have ecigs back when I quit, but I've heard they're not a healthy alternative. Chewing gum helped too. And I had read somewhere soaking in a nice warm tub of water helps ease the nicotine toxins out of your body, which helped some, but I never smoked while soaking in the tub, so I wasn't fighting that added anxiety.

    I also had dreams of smoking, and when I would wake up, I would be so disappointed that I caved in and smoked, the next time a craving to light up came I would mentally recall that feeling of disappointment from my dream, which helped give me the "know how" to find something constructive to do instead.

    I tended to smoke more if I drank alcohol back then (in my 20's), so I did avoid a few occasions of drinking until I got at least a couple weeks of no smoking before I was around an army of smokers. I did go through a lot of gum and straws for a few months....but the longer I could go without smoking the easier it became. 

    The rewards of not smoking for me were: having a fresher smelling house, car, clothes, body, and mostly having my long hair smell so good. I also had more energy because smoking had a way of depleting mine, becoming kind of passive, or sedated by the nicotine.

    Through the 30 some years since I've quit, I don't miss it at all, though occasionally there are times when someone's secondhand smoke takes me back, stirs some past feelings up, gives me a slight urge, but it's short lived, and then I'm grateful, and thankful those past stubby little buddies of mine no longer have a hold on me.

    Just don't quit quitting!!

  • Sheri76!!! The SAME thing happened to me with the dreams!! I would wake up thinking I actually smoked, and I'd be SO ticked off at myself for that split second where I wasn't separating the dream from the waking world!! Don't quit quitting--I LOVE IT!!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
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  • I smoked nearly 2 packs a day for 23 years and like Kimmy used behavior modification to quit. I started with a negative reinforment  charting of my progress over a three month period. For each month I stepped down my smoking until I finally quit for good I took away something I hated doing as a reward that week. Cut out a half a pack of cigs? No dishes after dinner that chore was reassigned. Cut back again, laundry went to the hubby. 

    Worked like a charm. Oddly people seem to think negative reinforcement is punishment for bad behavior when it is actually taking negative tasks away for good behavior. 

    If you have the drive and figure out a system that works, quitting is possible. I have been smoke free for a year and feel great about it. 
  • Not sure if this is helpful, but I started playing guitar as a replacement for smoking.
    I stopped smoking in March 2016, after my disc herniation in december 2015. 
    I did not know what else to do so I started playing guitar.

    To be honest, I did the cold turkey approach and playing guitar was just a minor replacement. I played 1 hour each night.
    During the day, I was at work and managed to not smoke at all.

    However, an important thing to consider: Stop drinking too much coffee if you have issues with sleeping. 
    After I stopped smoking, I had terrible nights with terrible dreams and I could barely sleep. I did some research and figured out why I could not sleep properly.
    My caffeine level in my serum/blood was simply just too high. What happens when you stop smoking is, your metabolism is going down/decreases. So the body cannot metabolize the cafeein fast enough. Thus, when you maintain your coffe-intake-habit, you may have trouble have to fall asleep. 

    I then stopped drinking coffee for 2 weeks as well (hell this was difficult as well). 

    No I only drink one cup a day and this is perfectly fine.

    I am smoke-free for 10 months now and I am happy. My disc as well.
  • Good luck
  • AmyForeverAAmyForever Posts: 15
    edited 03/16/2017 - 5:54 AM

    First make a commitment to yourself and stick to it. Make a plan don’t try to quit at
    once but slowly cut the supply. Always be thankful with the privileges you
    have, there is more in the world awaiting to be explored them burning cigarettes 

  • I used to smoke at least pack a day for 25 years or so. Tried various things to quit for at least 5 years. Nothing worked. One day I watched video "Easy way to stop smoking" by Allen Carr. Last time I looked I couldn't source the video on DVD but managed to find it on youtube. After 2 hours of watching the video (and taking cigarette breaks) I threw away all my half-empty packs from my car (there were 5 or 6 of them) and never looked back. It was about 4-5 years ago (don't remember exactly).  
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