Becoming a Non-Smoker

I’ve nearly quit smoking. I say “nearly” because, for the past two days, I haven’t smoked a full cigarette. Yesterday, I lit a cigarette, took one draw and stubbed it out – ten times. Today, I’ve done the same five times.

Oddly enough, despite these “cheats”, I can feel the difference in my body. I am breathing a little better. My eyes don’t feel so strained. I feel 'different". I am so- o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o sleepy for much of the day and yet can’t sleep through the night (I wake up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m.). When I sleep, I am dreaming a lot more than usual. So it seems like my body is going through some form of withdrawal, even though I am still feeding the addiction a bit. I am not using patches, gum, or another form of NRT.

It’s been a slight challenge, but it hasn’t been hard. I haven’t been eating sitting around eating Mars bars, either – matter of fact, I’ve lost two pounds. If I could keep going like this, I might be able to quit altogether. Unfortunately, I’ve been off for a few days but have to go back to work tomorrow. That would be the same office where I can’t lay down when the urge to snooze becomes overwhelming; the office where a group of smokers stop by my desk as they head out for a smoke on a regular schedule; the same office where I can’t indulge in my non-smoking weirdness (like, during moments when I might normally smoke to “regroup”, I have been sitting on the stairs and just staring into space, not sure what to do next. Or jumping on the exercise bike to keep myself from smoking).

Anyway, I did s search and found a few threads about smoking. This one, in particular caught my attention. It looks like the OP never came back – this was his/her only posting. What I relate to most is this:

Rather than resurrect an old thread, I figured I’d try to start a new one to ask for advice and experiences. Has anyone else faced such problems? What did you do to get through it? Tricks? Tips? Advice? I’m ready to hear it all.

I had an inability to sleep when I quit. It was really nasty, but it only lasted a couple of days, so I was able to fight through it. I went completely cold turkey, and it was hard, but worth it.

For a while I just didn’t take breaks, avoided the situation all together. I felt pretty sorry for myself because I had to deprive myself of going on breaks and socializing with my smoker friends for a couple of months, sometimes I cried because I was so miserable, but I made it through. I hated driving for a while, because I loved to smoke in the car, but I took some water or diet soda to sip which helped because I was able to periodically bring something to my mouth. Gradually I learned to fill the time I used to spend smoking with other things, and after that I was happy I didn’t have to waste so much time smoking.

As the months since you quit progress, the cravings get less. It will go from many times a day, to a couple times a day, etc. As far as I can tell, you get cravings for it pretty much forever, but over time they get less and less. I quit in May 2006 and I only get a craving once every few months now, usually after eating, and I get irritated at myself whenever I get a craving, but I don’t have any desire to actually act on it.

In the meantime, it’s just hard, one of the hardest things I ever did, but I did do it.

Every time I thought about lighting up I’d check my Silkquit meter to see how much I’d saved and how long I’d gone. It’s been over 2 years now and I still occasionally check it when I get the odd craving.

The first few days I drank a lot of water and chewed ice. I avoided coffee and sugar because it was all part of the same commitment for me at the time. Becoming a non-smoker is the only one that stuck but hey, at least ONE stuck!

I also reminded myself every time I wanted to smoke that even if I DID smoke, I’d still want to smoke soon after. It’s tough, no doubt about it. But you can do it. It’s not impossible.

Also,** Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking** FTW.

The first time I seriously quit (and I was quit for two years that time!), I had a little gooshy ball thing. I have no idea what you call it, but you seem them in executive toy shop types of places. It kept my otherwise idle hands busy. Most of the anxiety was taken care of with Zyban, though.

After that, I smoked for a year again, then started with Chantix (the Zyban made me into kind of a jerk while quitting). I didn’t nothing to keep my idle hands busy, and perhaps coincidentally, it didn’t stick (plus I was in an environment that it’s easy to place the blame on).

I’m quit again presently, and so far it’s been the easiest thing ever, even when going to restaurants/bars. While I admit I’m doing nothing for the nicotine habit or the mental habit, it’s never been so easy to not smoke. It’s e-cigarettes. (There are a few of us talking about it over in IMHO.)

I have no actual suggestions, but I did want to say “You can do it, Portwest! If I could do it, you can do it!” I quit in law school (talk about a stress-filled environment!) and my mom just quit after 50 years of the nasty habit (okay, the oxygen mask and nearly dying had something to do with it, but she did it and she’s the better for it!). Take some handweights or a jump rope to deal with the cravings. Hey, I did have a suggestion after all!

Bottom line: you can do it. You’ll be happier; I’ll be happier; the world will be a happier place!

Check out this thread.

I bought an e-cigarette kit a month ago, and as of an hour ago it’s been two weeks since my last real cigarette. This thing really makes it easy - because for all intents and purposes, you’re still smoking. Except that you’re inhaling clean vapor rather than chemical-ridden tobacco smoke.

Granted, the addiction to nicotine is still just as strong as ever, but this way is much healthier and much less costly than cigarettes. Eventually I plan to tapper down the strength of my nicotine juice, and hopefully get off of it altogether; but for the time being… baby steps. :slight_smile:

I was going to mention that vapourizer thread. It’s worth recommending to my smoker friends who want to quit.

Thanks for the encouragement. The “executive” squishy thing might be good. As for the e-cigarette, I’ve got two of 'em in a drawer. Using them gave me so much excess phlegm that I was choking in my sleep.

I’m sipping herbal tea (I’ve been caffeine-free for several years) and that helps some. The biggest help is the exercise bike and being able to just sit and stare. Again, I worry about what I’ll do at work, where I won’t be able to bike or sit-stare.

Again, thanks. Please keep the experiences and advice coming!

Well, not any other conventional form of NRT. That said, you should look into the patch, since it appears one of your chief worries is “what should I do when I come upon a situation or stimulus that I am conditioned to associate with smoking?”

For me, when I quit smoking, the biggest hurdles were the situations I had long associated with smoking. Like you, I went cold turkey (although I didn’t permit myself any relapses, however momentary). The best thing I found for those was to anticipate the situation arising and visualize how I would handle it without smoking, essentially practicing defensive non-smoking maneuvers, so to speak.

Anyway, best of luck to you.

Physically, it gets much easier after day 3. Psychologically, it takes several months. I remember two months after quitting I was waiting for my wife to leave town so I could slip a smoke. Luckily I did not when I had the opportunity. Not long after that the urges just disappeared and I was repulsed by the smell of smoke on other people. I never wanted to touch them again.

One of the best ways to stay quit is to tell everyone you know that you are an ex-smoker. Friends and family that don’t smoke will really root for you and you will feel that you let them down if you start again. This type of shame worked really well for me.

Here is a tip sheet from a website called Admittedly, they are hardcore about relapse and taking a few puffs(and are anti-NRT in any form), etc., but some of the articles really got me through some of the toughest times and really opened my eyes about the addicted brain.

Good luck

I was back in the GTA again last week, and thought to ask about the price of cigarettes there. $11.00! That’s, like $11.11 in American money these days.

I quit a couple of weeks ago. Basically, every time I smoked a cigarette I could feel my blood pressure raise and it would make me feel sick. I went down to 2-3 smokes a day and finally said I wasn’t going to do it anymore because each cigarette brought on a panic attack-like feeling.

I don’t have cravings, I have urges. I have an urge every time I pass the store I bought my smokes at. The urges are very easy to quell. I have urges if I see someone I know having a smoke. I just remind myself that the last time I smoked, it made me feel like I was having a panic attack and that will keep me from smoking. My smoking buddy at work is respectful of my quitting and hasn’t asked me to go out with her. When sitting near a smoker on the train in the morning, the smell is now offensive to me. I can’t believe I smelled like that for such a long time.

When I talked to my therapist about quitting smoking about a year ago, she said that when you no longer need smoking as a crutch to stamp out your emotions, you won’t smoke anymore. It seems really simple and easy, but I think that is exactly what happened. I don’t need the crutch, so I stopped doing it. My husband called “bullshit” on this, but I am no longer smoking, so who cares about the why and how as long as it sticks.

It totally helped that I had the flu about a week after quitting, so I really didn’t want to smoke just because I was sick. The habits surrounding smoking are getting easier and easier to break. I don’t have the instinct to grab one as I leave the building after work, etc. I threw away all the empty packs from my car, I gave away all my lighters (except for one that is still in my coat pocket.)

I have noticed that I no longer need to use my Flovent Inhaler every night, so that is a huge plus as well.

When you have this extra time, think about the power you have by quitting. You are removing a monkey off your back. You are taking control of your life instead of letting the drugs rule you. And also think of all the money you will save.

Yes, you may have to form new social circles. Non-smokers just don’t have much in common with smokers after awhile. You may even come to resent the pulmonary rape of second hand smoke.

Congratulations! And no matter what, don’t quit quitting.

No advice, as I never smoked. Just posting to encourage to keep at it. You can beat it.

Thanks for all the encouragement. (Omar Little, it means a lot to have the support of a never-smoker. Kalypso, thanks for letting me know I’m not the only sleepless one. Rushgeekgirl, I’m thinking I’ll download a meter the minute I’m totally off cigs. Minnie Luna, I’m feeling similar: kinda sick when I do smoke).

I continued to have one or two puffs on a cigarette every few hours tonight – maybe ten times over the whole course of the day. That’s the least amount I have smoked in decades and, while I wish it were even less, I’m pretty amazed that I was able to cut back so far (from 20 full cigs to 20-30 puffs). I’m yawning and headed to bed. I hope I can sleep through the night and stay the course tomorrow.

Thanks again.

If you keep puffing you will be up to your regular habit in no time. You are also extending the withdrawal phase by taking those puffs. Puff a little every day and you will be in constant withdrawal as opposed to the usual 3 days it takes.