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Posts Tagged ‘quitting smoking’

In 2009 I took a six-week class at the Highland County Health Department in an attempt to quit smoking. The class covered all the need-to-know stuff that is a part of both the addiction of smoking and the process of quitting. We were even provided with patches, gum and lozenges, but unfortunately, I’m still smoking.

At that time I did get down from my average of 10 cigarettes a day to just three. Some questioned why I was even still smoking and my response was, “I’m not quite ‘there’ yet.”

Oh how I wish I had stopped completely because now I realize that my addiction to smoking is just another faulty coping mechanism I use when I’m bored, tired, anxious, afraid, nervous, etc. In other words, emotions trigger the craving for me. So does diet soda, alcohol, eating and driving.

In my defense, the educator of the class informed us that nicotine is the second hardest drug to quit next to heroin. However, according to a Psychology Today article on the seven hardest addictions to quit, “In ratings by cocaine and alcohol addicts, smoking is regularly cited as the more difficult drug to quit, generally on par with or more difficult than heroin.” The article also sites love and potato chips as the top two addictions, but that’s a whole other post.

In realizing that I hang onto smoking as a way to cope with life and emotions that come along with it, I know that I can quit. I know that there are healthier things I can do when I “need” a cigarette. My biggest fear about quitting has been the probable withdrawal symptoms. From what I’ve learned, people who quit smoking can experience night sweats, vivid dreams, severe mood changes or depression, sensitivity to caffeine, and rapid weight gain due to increased hunger or increased eating in an attempt to avoid smoking. Can you see why I would be afraid?

In recent weeks though, my oldest sister quit smoking for about the fourth time. She unfortunately only lasted about two weeks before giving in to the craving after a stressful event occurred. She says she will quit again and I believe her, but this time I said, “Wait for me. Let’s do it together. I need to set a date though.” Then we went outside to engage in our habit. Why do I need to set a date?

And why am I telling you all of this? Well, because in life there are always things we can use to cope and many of those things can eventually have life-threatening consequences: drugs, alcohol, eating or not eating, purging, excessive exercising, etc. We must learn to manage whatever it is that is driving us to our addictions. We must first, however, be willing to admit it IS an addiction and then come to a place where we want to kick it out of our life. Continued support from family, friends, groups and therapists can all be beneficial in “staying quit” as the saying goes.

So I’m going to check my calendar once again, pick a date and strive to get the cigarettes out of my life once and for all (they stink anyway… yuck!).

*For more information on quitting smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.smokefree.gov.

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