sorry this is so long, but I think I have some helpful advice that other people haven't given. I quit smoking a year ago after sixteen years (half my life) and this is how I did it.
as long as you are using willpower to quit smoking, you are either a) going to fail or b) be miserable. I think a lot of people have quit smoking but are still psychological addicted to cigarettes. these are the people who go back to smoking after fifteen years of being quit. the best way to quit smoking is to not want to smoke anymore, and to do that you have to realize that cigarettes don't really do anything that you can't get rom other sources or that outweighs the risks associated with smoking.
as a smoker, you believe that a cigarette is some kind of nice reward, that it is something you can have to help you relax, that there is something fundamentally pleasurable about smoking. you believe this because otherwise you would have to face up to the fact that you are doing something filthy and disgusting that offers you no benefits other than the progressive deterioration of your health.
cigarettes do not do anything good for you. they do not relax you; they are actually a mild stimulant. they increase your blood pressure, elevate your heart rate, suppress hunger and make it harder to sleep. it does not feel good to smoke. smokers inhale smoke deeply, which causes a number of relaxing effects on the nervous system. however, cigarette smoke is very irritating to your lungs. in order to smoke, you have learned how to suppress this feeling. smoking is also a general irritant for your body, and causes a small amount of CNS pain. all of these things you have basically taught yourself to ignore in order to be able to go on smoking.
so why do people smoke? cigarette smoke contains a chemical called harman, which is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. in other words, cigarettes are an antidepressant. the beneficial effects of cigarette smoke do not come from nicotine, which is why people who quit using the patch often find it unsatisfying. people started using tobacco long before antidepressants were discovered, but recently we have learned that they cause essentially the same kind of changes in your nervous system.
the other beneficial effects of cigarette smoke come from your body's release of endorphins to numb the pain that smoking causes.
there are a number of things that you can do to help ween yourself not just off the addiction to cigarettes, but off the belief that smoking has anything to offer you.
first, learn about cigarettes. read about them online. not just about the way they damage your health, but also about the pharmacology of cigarettes. consider reading the book "alan carr's easy way to quit smoking." I don't agree with everything he says and it is really irritatingly written, but it can be helpful.
smoke. even after I first quit, I went back and smoked a few cigarettes just to make sure I was right. smoke a cigarette and notice how it doesn't actually make you feel any better. notice how gross it makes your lungs feel, once they have started cleaning themselves out. notice how it elevates your heart rate. notice how it makes your whole body feel tenser. notice how it makes you feel irritable. notice how it makes your head feel clouded and your thinking less clear.
do a lot of cardio. cardio causes the same release of endogenous endorphins that smoking does. it has also been shown to help correct some of the imbalances that long term smoking cause in your brain. it also makes your lungs healthier, which in turn will help you realize how bad smoking is for your lungs.
practice deep breathing. smokers, when they smoke, actually breathe much better than normal people do. this is why people have to be taught to "inhale" when they first start smoking weed or cigarettes. that "inhale," where you pull the smoke deep into your lungs, is actually a proper diaphragmatic breath. practice doing it without the cigarette. just take a puff of air, just like you would if you had a cig in your mouth. or breathe in deeply through your nose as if you were smelling something really good. both of these techniques activate your diaphragm, which has various effects on your autonomic nervous system.
when you have cravings, think about everything you have learned. realize that it's not the cigarette you crave, but some idea you made up in your own mind in order to convince yourself that smoking was okay. realize that the thing you crave is your idea of what the cigarette is supposed to represent, and that in reality the cigarette doesn't offer any of the things you want. then practice the deep breathing technique, and notice how just doing that gives you some of what you were craving. if that doesn't work, take a walk. think about something completely unrelated, like ***** or the economy.
last but not least, try to replace the harman. another good source of MAOIs is, believe it or not, coffee. alternatively, you could get some passion flower extract at a health food store. or try taking zyban; it really does work. I wouldn't recommend chantix, as it is known to drive people nuts.
Last edited by qirin; 2/24/2009 4:35pm at .
Good posts in this thread.
It is time for me to stop. I haven't actually stopped smoking yet but have been changing my mentallity towards the cigs. Today i've only had 4, from 20 a day at the beginning off the week. I haven't been craving them either but they'll come into my mind when i'm idle like in traffic or ****.
And i really hate a £6.00 a day habbit. When I stop smoking properly the money will easily cover all my training fees and travel there and back.
Good luck truepwrz.