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Want to be nicotine free - need help

Posted in Reasons to quit 03 Apr 2021

Hello - I am a 32 year-old American man. I have smoked for most of my adult life. I have been sober from alcohol and drugs for over 4.5 years now, and I desperately want to be smoke-free. I have had some success in the past with nicotine gum and patches - however, I really want to be free of nicotine, completely. I have had several quit attempts since the new year, and am having a really hard time with committing to it, 100%. I could really use help towards becoming successfully nicotine-free. I have done a lot of research into cold-turkey quitting, and I know that the most intense withdrawal symptoms go on for 3-5 days after the last cigarette. I also know that this is largely dependent on the severity of one's habit. I have been a pack-a-day smoker since I was about 24 - roughly 8 years, now. I was a social smoker during college as well, so I have smoked in some way or another my entire adult life. I fully expect that, even after the initial withdrawal phase, I am in for a long road to recovery. The first time I got sober from alcohol and drugs was when I was 22. I remember that the first 90 days of sobriety were absolutely critical, and that my brain had a ton of recovery to undertake. I expect that when I have my final cigarette, this will also be true of recovery from this particular addiction. I would like to apply the 12-step model to my nicotine addiction, and colloquially, take it "one day at a time". In the early days of quitting cold-turkey, it will really break down to taking it "one moment at a time" (i.e. "get through this craving" "get through the next 5 minutes" "get through the next hour" etc., etc.) I need to have a solid quit date planned, and do as much work as I can before that quit date, so that I am adequately prepared. Quitting cold-turkey will be very difficult, but it is definitely not impossible. I believe that I will be able to do it when I am completely ready and completely prepared. Obviously, life will continue to present challenges, even if I am totally nicotine-free. But I can apply 12-step principles to difficulties that will inevitably come up, as I move forward with life. I just know that smoking is a horrendous addiction, that it is holding me back in life in so many ways, and that I'm 32 years old - not so young anymore, and becoming acutely aware of how this addiction will seriously screw up my life, if I don't beat it at this age. To anyone out there, I could use all the help I can get.

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  • softly40, Mid North Coast April 03, 2021 | 9:07
    Welcome Carnivore88, I have tried many times to give up smoking and have finally been successful, with the help of Champix, taking only half of the dose. This is under direction of your doctor, because it is a script only product. Unfortunately Patches and gum still have the "Nicotine" in them, so it prolongs the moment of actually being "drug free"

    You would have had some experience in the 12 step programme, which puts you way ahead and you have a good chance of following through on your moment to moment aspect of quitting. The brain is a powerful machine, so the "forever" aspect needs to be in place. I had some difficulty with this even when I had quit, until I adopted a phrase from one of our long standing advocates which you might find helpful NOPE (not one puff ever) to be said every day as much as you like, I practice this still, along with meditation or a quick deep breath in and slow breath out.

    Begin with a joyful heart have a look a video on u-tube "How to grow to be a happy non-smoker" presented by NASIA DAVOS ... TEDxUniversityofPiraeus

    The best help was this forum, so you are really good to go, once you get that NOPE fixed into your brain. Good luck and by the way I am a whole lot older than you.
  • Happiness April 03, 2021 | 9:53
    Yes, you are a baby. Some of us smoked for decades. Two packs a day .

    You are making excuses already.

    Already you are making the quit difficult.

    I would think that having beaten addiction in the past it would be a piece of cake for you. It was for me.

    I went cold turkey. Cravings are really only thoughts. If you are afraid that you will miss your "lifelong friend" , you probably will. What you need to do is read, learn and find the WANT to be nicotine . PERMANENTLY THIS TIME. No one has quit more than once. They just abstained. They used willpower, but they did not find the BELIEF THAT THEY COULD, nor did they learn to WANT to quit forever.
    Get unbrainwashed. We were young and drugged. We became addicts because we didn't understand the nature of nicotine. We kept on smoking just to get peace from it's relentless cravings if we didn't. We soon learned to feed the beast before it became unpleasant. We then assumed that we must enjoy it. Why else would we systematically poison ourselves?

    We only THOUGHT that smoking gave us confidence, eased stress or anything else. We just came to REWARD ourselves with a smoke for a job well done.......or a break to complete it.....or after dinner .....what ever excuse we could find to rationalize being ostriches.

    It can be EASY to quit smoking. WHY would you want to continue?

    Start thinking of smoking in a different light and you will wonder what ever took you so long to say ENOUGH. It really can even be EASY . Think POSITIVE.
  • TWS, Northern NSW April 03, 2021 | 23:57
    Hi Carnivore 88, its great you got off alcohol. I quit cold turkey and lasted 3 years and foolishly took up smoking again. I struggled for another 10 years before using patches this time (over 1000 days off so far). Forgive my directness, life will always present all kinds of situations, there's nothing a smoke can do that will change circumstances, in other words we must stop making excuses to have a smoke. I agree that cold turkey is short lived but it is intense for this short time, it is the quickest way to getting that feeling that you are on top of it though. using cold turkey method I felt on top of it around 3 month mark. using patches was easier but took 6 months to feel on top of it.
    If 12 step program is helpful, I would encourage you to use whatever tools you can muster up. When quitting smoking I have found a long term approach is a really good way to look at it as quitting is overall a short term affair. Which ever way you decide to quit, I wish you well and remember, making excuses to have a smoke is really only a symptom for addiction.
  • Red-67 April 06, 2021 | 7:18
    Maybe I was just lucky, but I really think it was my attitude toward the quit, that made it fairly easy. I was a pack a day plus smoker for over 45 years. Never really thought about, wanted to, or tried to quit. Then, one day, I was driving past a restaurant, and saw a young couple coming out the door, pulling out the smokes, and lighting up.. We all remember that. Could not wait for that after a meal smoke.. DUH.. Anyway, I was thinking, just how stupid do you have to be to start smoking, knowing what we know now ? ? A strange feeling came over me, when I looked at the one I was smoking, and I asked myself, How stupid do you have to be to keep smoking ? ? In a moment of clarity, it hit me,, SMOKING MAKES YOU STUPID,, That's how it works. It turns off that part of your brain.. Now, I never claimed to be a rocket scientist, but I never thought of myself as being stupid. so that was it, at 67 I decided to quit. I had 3 pack to work off of them, and I promised myself that I'd never buy another pack. I made two packs last a couple weeks, and then went cold turkey. Sure, there were a few miserable weeks of physical, and mental withdrawal, but I can't really say it was bad cravings. I made a cigarette something I did NOT WANT, not something I could not have, I kept the 3rd pack, lighters, and ashtray. For me, the idea was not to be without, but to not want it. I knew within a month, that I'd never want another one. It can work for you too. Set yourself free. Let yourself see what we LET smoking do to us. and the quit can be very easy :)
    Do it while you are still young enough to really heal. I waited too long, but at least, I will not die a smoker.. :)
    BTW, I'm in the States too. South Mississippi :)

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