Stories & experiences


Ripping off the patch and going cold turkey

Posted in Quit experiences 05 Feb 2019

Hi folks I am on day 36 ...I think. Only counted the first 30 days. I quit 1 January.

I have made one other post here about how challenging I have found the unexpected psychological journey of quitting. A bit ill prepared and perhaps ignorant but maybe serendipitous that I was unaware and have had to just wade through it.

When I started 1 January I needed the nicotine patch. I needed to know there was a feed of nicotine while I went about the process of quitting. Noting I had no idea what I was in for regarding “the process of quitting”. I needed to know I had some help there.

But now... I’m not so sure I want or need the patch.

Intuitively I think the nicotine in the patch is making me more crazy. I prefer to be naturally crazy! That is, I know I am still on my quitting journey and the psychological part has been pure torture, and will continue to bite each day, but I can not imagine this is worse without nicotine.

The patch is also a reminder I am not free yet. The journey has been excruciating so far for me and I keep seeing my patch which tells me I am not done yet. I want to be free of both smoking and nicotine.

So I haven’t put my patch on today. I was putting the patch on within an hour of waking. But today have just decided enough.

Am 6 hours into no patch and feel no symptoms that are worse than yesterday when I was wearing a patch. I am still getting intermittent gnawing insatiable stomach pits and waves of irritation. So the usual.

Will keep you all posted on how the next few days go.

Here’s to freedom

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  • Kathy Karban February 05, 2019 | 12:53
    Congrats!! I know how you feel was on chantix till one week ago and restaarted it today, but there is no nicotine in chantix but I think I am going to go back to one a day for a few weeks my doctor said I could be on it for a few months but I think till the weather gets a little better where I dont have cabin fever and I signed up for the gym yesterday so I keep at for a couple of weeks and see how it goes
  • BethP February 05, 2019 | 18:05
    I am on 8 weeks today. I still experience moments of "I want a smoke" but they don't last long. It's a little more difficult when others are smoking but I know I can't start up again. Good luck.
  • Debbie317 February 05, 2019 | 19:12
    Hi Shamrock, I did cold turkey and have no experience with patches. But the first 3 days with nicotine withdraws were horrible. I took off work for a whole week and I thought I was crazy. Was moody, cried at just about anything, brain fog just to name a few things. But it only lasted 3 days. On the forth day still wanted to smoke but all the other things vanished or decreased not sure. The fact is we all have to do our time to get free. You will be free. so when you are ready give you self 3 days off the patch and i bet all will be good on the forth day. good Luck
  • PuffNoMore, Southern NSW February 05, 2019 | 19:35
    Remember to be patient and try it with no patch. If it gets too much put a patch on. Its your choice to use whenever you choose. Its no big issue compared to smoking.

    Stay determined NOT to smoke
  • Chef, South Eastern Sydney February 05, 2019 | 21:37
    Hi Shamrok, i was on patches for 10 weeks or so some days on some days off, then when it was time to proceed to step 3 i realised that the patches were not sticking to the skin anymore as they were too small (not enough surface to hold onto the skin) and slipped away with the sweet so i decided to just go without, it has been several weeks now and don't feel the difference, it's all in the head. I use to use an inhalor for when the urges when unbearable maybe it can help you too. Stay strong
  • PuffNoMore, Southern NSW February 05, 2019 | 22:35
    Yeah, I used the inhaler and got down to 1 cartridge a day. It might be what you need when the going gets tough?. And any of the NRT;s can be used when you think you need it, including the patch! Put the patch on or off when you want to. We know you want to rid yourself of NICOTINE, But be patient and stay smoke free,,,,That is more important at this stage
  • Happiness February 06, 2019 | 2:56
    You know yourself better than anyone Shamrock. I went cold turkey and no cravings after the 3 rd day. Cutting down before i quit for the 3 days was the hardest, and after, the cravings were no worse. So done in 4 days. Unfortunately no one else has had it this easy it seems. The key is wanting to quit , in head and whole heartedly.

    Since hearing stories on quit lines, i truly believe that there is no difference between nicotine cravings, or the psychological ones. My belief is that if someone uses a nicotine replacement, then take enough to be comfortable while you accept being a non-smoker. Eventually you have to get off nicotine, and i don't believe it makes a difference whether 30 cigarettes worth or 2. One puff every 3 days will keep you hooked. You don't wake in the night to smoke, and in the morning 93% of nicotine is gone.

    When you do decide to get off of nicotine, make sure you halve your coffee intake, eat breakfast, and drink water, all of which negate some symptoms associated with cravings.

    The mind is a powerful thing. You know what is best for you. At least without the nicotine, you know it is all in the head. Own it. You will do it. Great job to date. It is not a race, just stay off the smoke.
  • Shamrock February 06, 2019 | 10:25
    Hi all. I survived cold turkey ! As I suspected - it was no worse than having the patch on. Did I have cravings yesterday - sure did. But had to fight them the same old way I have fought them for the last 36 days. I had a crap sleep with my joints aching but knew this would pass. When I woke i actually felt better and less agitated than any other day since quitting. Does nicotine irritate me that much ? Maybe ! But who cares now - it’s gone. Still lots of work to do but made it this far so keep going.
  • Happiness February 06, 2019 | 16:14
    Good job Shamrock! Thanks for confirming that the cravings are no worse after getting off the nicotine. That is what I also suspected. I am certainly not going to go back to smoking to quit again and find out!!!

    Now you can take pride that you are off smokes and nicotine. With no reminder that you were a smoker (no patch) rejoice in the fact that you are a non-smoker now and are free!!!

    For those who have yet to wean off of nicotine therapies, it is declared to be no worse than with the nicotine. Accept your freedom and being granted the chance to live as a non-smoker.... there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
  • Shamrock February 07, 2019 | 10:49
    Hi Happiness yep no worse without patch. The reason I ripped the patch off was to intuitively felt it was making things harder and making me crazy. I was right. Think it was the slow feed of nictotine that kept me in a frenzied dissatisfied state. Now that said, I don’t think I could have quit without the patches as my first step. I needed them to get me started and had no idea the journey was going to be so hard. Today is day 3 cold turkey and many commenters encouraged me to slap the patch on if I needed to. Good advice to give oneself this permission and I had already decided I would do that if turkey got too crazy. My point here is that you need to listen to yourself and chose what works for you. It’s ok to change your plan like I did. Oh and I would definitely encourage folks to read and listen to the folks in this forum. These are real experiences from real ex smokers. This is where I got my idea that I could rip off my patch mid cycle !
  • PuffNoMore, Southern NSW February 07, 2019 | 12:57
    You're doing great Shamrock! From my experience and what we're learning here, using NRT might keep the those nicotine receptors in our brains alive and wanting to be fed and hence creating a craving.
    Hopefully after your 3 days without Nicotine your receptors maybe dying off and the demon will leave you alone since you dont feed it!
    Lets assume you needed the Nicotine Therapy to get you started, but now almost 40 days, you dont want OR need it now.

    I think you are doing the right thing.
    You are doing it your way and thats the best way for you because you are totally in control. You know what you want better than anybody else.
    Stay away from those smokes.
    Your a winner!
  • Happiness February 07, 2019 | 15:18
    Great jobs Shamrock..Just a reminder that most of the nicotine is out of your system at 72 hrs. and just one puff will fire those receptors up again. They start shutting down and are all shut down in 3 weeks. Bottom line is.... NOPE after the 72 hrs. unless you want to start over!!!
  • Shamrock February 07, 2019 | 22:58
    Freedom.... always hard 3 cold turkey today and one of my worst days ever. The amount of energy and self talk I have expended today to get my self through some mental bubble - yes I am calling it that as the technical craving terminology does not seem to make sense as I am not thinking about or craving a cigarette. Mental bubbles on the hour, bubbles that don’t float and disappear in 10 seconds but rather engage my brain in warfare for 20 minutes at least. Exhausted today. Wondered if it was that last screaming leg of the 72hours cold turkey that nasty nicotine was trying to make a final plea. Like all the posts I read from you fabulous people there are references to the moods the crying the anxiety and the depressed state. We all have a version of this or a combination of these. I have had them all - except the crying. Somehow have missed that one. I have been a total nutter since 1 January and really miss the strong version of myself that seems busy at the moment lol ! Feel like I have lost my mind and going insane. But freedom I have sought and found. I will not give it up. So I have digressed with chatty chat, what I was really wondering - advice from you all - is if I have done 30 days NRT managing withdrawals and cravings does that mean I still have another 2 week version of this post 3 days stopping nicotine ? I still hold my position that cold turkey has not been any harder for me than NRT, even with a super crap day today, but really ....When does it all ease up ? It’s exhausting....any wisdom ?

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