Stories & experiences

Illawarra Shoalhaven

Separate Ends & Means

Posted in Hints and tips 04 Feb 2019

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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  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 13:32
    18 years ago!
    Can you remember how much your 60 cigs a day cost you?
    It could cost me $68 to buy 60 cancer stix at today's prices!
  • graemeff , Illawarra Shoalhaven February 04, 2019 | 13:37
    As best I can remember it was costing me abt $30/day. That was very draining. I sure couldn’t afford it now!!
  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 13:52
    Sounds right, I remember in the year 2000 it was costing me just under $20 everyday for a pack of 25 of Benson & Hedges. So its fair to say they have doubled in price in 18 years! I cant afford them either. :(
  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 13:57
    Thanks for your Quit story. Simply cut down before you quit is just as good as any other method, just as long as it works!
  • graemeff , Illawarra Shoalhaven February 04, 2019 | 14:10
    For me the cutting back had just been a major ongoing effort which wore me down. My real success came from changing my inner dialogue from cigarette dependency, to nicotine just being one way to feel more alert, relaxed, focussed, .... then I more often chose other options and cutting back happened naturally.
  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 14:27
    I'm hearing you
    I'm wearing down through too many Quit attempts and my inner dialogue is starting to change to "I dont need to put myself through this anymore" Its draining and costly.
    I'm ready to commit to it now!
    Thanks graemeff
  • graemeff , Illawarra Shoalhaven February 04, 2019 | 14:34
    All power to you, my friend!! It is sure worth it in the end. (My health is so good I haven’t needed to see a doctor in 16 years!)
  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 14:49
    Thats amazing, whats your age? I'm 51. And reasonably healthy. I've developed a pot belly with all of my non-smoking days since september (about 100 but unfortunately not in a row). My aim is to stop smoking permanently. I'll get there.
    I'm sure others who come on line will appreciate your story
  • Happiness February 04, 2019 | 15:00
    That is very perceptive of you to recognize what your body is asking for and can be pacified with unique action. Cutting down, understanding yourself, nicotine and behaviours are all a vital part of the process of quitting smoking. Cudos to you for your insightfulness. Thank you so much for sharing your valuable suggestions.
  • graemeff , Illawarra Shoalhaven February 04, 2019 | 15:35
    I gave up at 50 and am just about to turn 68. I put on some weight for a start, but have gradually lost most of it again.
  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 15:43
    Congratulations on 18 years! And your good health!
  • PuffNoMore , Southern NSW February 04, 2019 | 15:56
    And thanks for reminding us that there are other ways to get past a 2 minute urge to smoke.
  • aussie_dreamer February 08, 2019 | 0:20
    What a great inspiration you are! I am eating carrots when I get those 2 minute urges to smoke by the time I finish the carrot the urge is gone. Your story made alot of sense to me thank you.
  • Sandydee February 08, 2019 | 23:06
    I can’t believe it after a lifetime of smoking I’m so free 30 cigarettes a day I smoked for over 40 years been quit now for nearly 3 years I tried so hard many times till this time I was like I’m never going to put myself through this again I’m going to quit this time and I did so my advice is just keep trying never give up trying to quit do whatever is good for you I walked the dog every time I had the urge he loved it and so did I well good luck guys NOPE not one puff ever

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