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I smoked 60+ cigarettes a day for over 30 years and had tried many times to give up, but just couldn't stay off them.
Finally I found a strategy that worked and I have now been smoke-free for 18 years. What I did was:
1. Set my intention to give up as soon as I felt I could. I reinforced this by thinking about how things would be better if I did. More money. Less smelly. Better health. No hassling by my kids.
2. Started to observe what was happening within me when I wanted to smoke. I learned that each craving only lasted about 2 minutes, and if I distracted myself for that time, I could then have some more craving-free time.
I also tried to understand why I wanted each cigarette. Doing this allowed my to change from "I need a smoke" to "I'm tired and I want to feel alert", or "I'm not concentrating well, and want to focus better", or "I'm feeling stressed and need to settle myself", etc. This identified what I actually wanted - which was to feel better in some way, not actually to smoke. Over time I found other ways to achieve these feelings such as eating a mint, hyperventilating, relaxing my shoulders, or just riding the wave of the craving. Over 5 months I cut down from 60/day to 15/day.
3.One morning when I woke, I felt "Today's the day!". I binned all my cigarettes except 3 which I kept for emergency puffs only. I smoked these gradually over a week (just enough to take the edge off my extreme agitation). Then I didn't give myself permission to smoke any more at all (knowing how easily I could fall back).
It was hard for a while, but I could see that the cravings were getting less frequent and less intense.
Now no problem. :D
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