Right it seems to be a trap for most, oddly an occassional cigar doesn’t seem to trigger the addiction again, in most dudes.
I think when you wrote your OP, you thought you were listing your failures. But when I read it, all I could see was your successes. I look at all the steps you’ve taken, all the things you’ve tried, and I feel only admiration for you. You say you feel “beaten.” Well, you’re not definitely not beaten because you’re still fighting. It’s completely obvious that you have the strength and determination that you need. You may not have reached your ultimate goal yet, but so what? You’ll get there.
Look, I don’t know anything about quitting smoking, but I do know what it’s like to feel like you feel right now.
Stop beating yourself up over this. Stop being mad at yourself for not having quit yet, and give yourself a pat on the back for everything you have done toward achieving this goal. I know that that’s easier said than done, but let me say this–you have SO MUCH to be proud of! So see if you can find a little bit of joy and pride in your successes.
I wish you the best of luck. And please do keep us updated!
Start with your doctor! Another ex smoker here. As others have said, the fact that you’ve acknowledged you need to quit means you’re halfway there. I smoked more than a pack a day until the agency for whom I worked declared no smoking inside the building. I had a very demanding job, but I’d get outside a few times a day for a smoke. When I started getting short of breath going up a flight of stairs, I knew I had to quit. My doctor prescribed wellbutrin, which is for depression but also helps with the nicotine craving. I also started using nicotine gum. I don’t know anything about chantrix, but that sounds like it’s worth following up on. I still get cravings for a cigarette, but I put it out of my mind immediately and DO something, anything. Get involved with work, go for a walk, get a dog you have to walk, volunteer, exercise; I’ve found that physical activity helps. You say you’ve become a hermit; I can identify – I’m basically a loner (now more social, married and very happy), but if you’re keeping to yourself, that’s another thing you need to deal with. Figure out what you interested in; hobbies? work? Get out there and explore your interests – you’ll have less time to think about smoking, and you may develop some friendships (and more!) See your doctor – he/she can prescribe something to help you, and can direct you to other resources. Good luck. You can do it.
You need friends? We have an entire message board full of potential friends. Seriously, I have made in real life personal friends from this message board. Feel free to use us a support group.
Your attempts that haven’t worked remind me of a movie I saw about Thomas Edison and the invention of the electric light. He had something like 10,000 failures. He was asked if he was a failure. He comment? (from a long ago memory, so it probably just close) Not at all, I know 10,000 things that don’t work.
In your case you know several approaches that don’t work.
Both of my parents were heavy smokers. In my father’s case we are talking about 3 packs a day of unfiltered Camels. My mother was at 2 packs a day of Kools, or Salem. They were so hard core they smoked at the dinner table during dinner (Probably why I never started. I got aversion therapy from birth to about age 5)
Anyway in 1956 they added an extra penny tax on cigs, and both of my parents quit cold turkey. So that penny was their line.
On the other hand I have known several people that had to bottom before they quit. My partner at work, for him it was he had a cold and coughed up something that in his description looked like road tar. For another friend, it was he was standing outside smoking at a party and he just decided that he didn’t want to stand outside any longer. Both of these men had previously tried and failed to quit several times.
I will offer a couple of suggestions that I think might help, they have helped some of my friends cut down or quit.
Have your car detailed inside and out. They promise yourself that you don’t want it to stink, so you won’t smoke in your car any more.
Later on, you can do the same with your home, or maybe a room or two.
If you decide to hang here at the dope, promise yourself you won’t smoke while surfing the dope.
Once again, welcome, and good luck, you can do this!
Not much to add, but from my experience, everyone who successfully quits seems to successfully quit in some way that no one else finds effective. You may have to quit (figuratively) one million times, and on that last time, your emotional state plus your physical state plus hearing some song on the radio plus a dog barking will create just enough of something that you can get through those first 72 hours. That’s all it takes for the physical addiction to drop by (IIRC) 50%. Unfortunately, and I assume we’ll both agree, it’s the mental/emotional addiction that seems to trump everything.
My most successful quitting experience (“it’s easy to quit smoking, I do it all the time!”) was for fourteen years, and it was caused by my finding out that a former girlfriend had gotten engaged. Who knew that would happen? I certainly didn’t think I had an emotional attachment to her. But I just stopped, right then and there, and was fine for fourteen years. Then I got complacent, and then out of left field, I had to get a dental implant, and the sheer terror of this fearful process drove me to an old standby: smoking. In any case, I really focus on those first three days, and I’m (right now) at two days, 22 hours & 10 minutes without a cigarette. (I just need to get my leg to stop shaking and make it to 11:17 PDT)
Something that has worked for me in the past is to not focus on adding a couple of years to the end of my life, but adding quality to my life today. No more obsessively brushing my teeth, no more timing my days such that I can get away to smoke, no more nervousness or, at least, one less thing adding to my nervousness. Mostly, in today’s society, no more feeling like a second class person. Then, within a month or so, I’ll notice that I don’t get as winded climbing the stairs, and some day in the far-off future, if sex is still practiced by human beings, I may participate in that activity, and enjoy it more. (IIRC)
For me, the first 36 hours are the worst – perhaps everyone has different reactions, but for me, it’s incredible muscle cramps in my abdomen. For the past two days I’ve been trying to enjoy the pain, envisioning it as something of the pain of being born again as a person free from this slavery.
But back to my original point: keep trying to quit, and don’t get discouraged. The more you try, and then fail, the stronger you’ll get, and at some point, you will be completely ready to quit, and you will not even have to throw the rest of the pack away. You’ll just curse them, turn your back, and be done with them. It’s really, really going to happen, but don’t ever be complacent about it, because, even 14 years later, you may suddenly encounter a situation where is somehow seems reasonable to smoke a cigarette, and then you’ll have to start all over again.
Incidentally, quitting smoking shows incredible strength of character, and you already have that character, as evidenced by the many ways you’ve tried to quit. You may need to get to a place where you acknowledge that you’re an important enough person to deserve a higher quality of life, and then you have to give yourself that gift, because no one else is equipped to do this task for you. (Clearly, in my case, there are some self-esteem issues to deal with). YMMV, and good luck, and by the way, please wish me good luck as well.
Crap. Missed the edit window. What I left out was: since I believe that everyone quits in a set of circumstances that are unique to them at the time they quit, don’t get discouraged, and just try something else. Maybe you’re not going to be helped by drugs or by other methods with good success rates, but (IMO) you might find some weird little thing that’s particular to your life that you’ll be able to use as a focus or emotional backstop or whatever, and suddenly you’ll just know that you’ll succeed.
It doesn’t come up much, but it worked for me. See if your local hippie shop or herbalist has a tobacco substitute like this.
I started out by filling most of my hand-rolled smokes with this and just a smidge of tobacco at the end, because I’d read that you satisfy your craving with the first inhalation. Then I mixed it through what was left of my “last ever” pack of tobacco so it was about 50/50. Every other day or so I’d top it up with more of the substitute.
By the time I chucked out the packet, I’d broken the connection between tobacco craving and smoking. I’d get cravings for either, and dealt with those by using any (and probably all) of the replacement activities listed by others.
Like you, I took many attempts to quit. You *will *find the method or combination of methods that work/s best for you.
I attended a 2-day conference on how to help others to stop smoking. I was a smoker who stopped about fifteen years before attending the conference. I relapse rarely – a couple of times a year. So I still don’t consider myself completely successful. But I forgive myself for worse things.
The course basically reviewed the literature on how/why smoking is such a difficult behaviour to eradicate, and reviewed best practices around quitting smoking. Since Lily was the chief conference sponsor, there was a lot of recommendation for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) going on – with the rationale being that it increases the success rate for quitting – this in itself is a reasonable notion. Multiple methods are said to increase the likelihood of success, and there was much talk about how safe this was, but at the very least I bet some people would feel like crap with all that pharmaceutically pure nicotine on board. And personally, I would suggest that whatever methods you use be combined with standard motivational interviewing before you even try to predict success. But for what it’s worth, I would have been much happier if the nicotine inhaler existed before I ever tried to quit. Or I could be addicted to pharmaceutically pure nicotine. Either way, I might be happier. So my advice is to avail yourself of what comforts exist, to the extent that you need and want them.
Speaking of comfort, rates of smoking are high in people with mental illness. Since at least some of recovery, or of chronic disease management, involves trying to want to go to extraordinary effort for the “reward” of normal life, sometimes it can be very difficult to deny oneself what seems the comfort of smoking. But people from all walks of life quit. They do. And they stay quit.
Another vote for Chantix. I quit about 20 years ago and my husband started quitting then; he relapsed a hundred times, used nicotine gum, patches, everything. Nothing worked for more than a few days. Then he did Chantix. He’s been smoke free for six months. Says it is still not easy but the best it’s ever been.
Just remember too that the world is making it easier for you to quit if you think of it that way: when I quit people were smoking everywhere. Now, you have to hunt for a spot to smoke. When you quit, you don’t have to do that any more!
And as far as making you feel better: I still remember the first time I climbed a flight of stairs and at the top I stopped and said omg I don’t have to stand here for 5 minutes waiting to get my breath back! (On the other side, the renewed sense of smell is not all that great when your cat breathes its tuna breath in your face…)
Keep us posted, and remember that it CAN BE DONE!
Oh yeah, the stairs. Nice. I’ve just started a new job and I’m up and down stairs all day - hadn’t even realised till I saw your post. It’s the first time I’ve dealt with that since I gave up smoking. Napier is small and flat - I’ve barely walked up a dozen flights of stairs in five years!
It wasn’t until I visited a smoker friend for a weekend that I remembered about the ‘Coughing incessantly until the first ciggie of the day has been sucked in’ syndrome. It’s good waking up able to breathe normally.
Well, this is sort of a cop out, but what has worked for me, when I absolutely couldn’t get myself to stop smoking, was to make that cigarette as least harmful as I could. I’d break it right above the filter. Then smoke it. At least that way, psychologically I’m satisfied when the smoke is done, and I’ve only inhaled about 1/4 what I normally would.
Wow. That OP was pretty much word for word a description of me.
The only exception from your experience Latheress is that I have tried Chantix.
For the people chanting the “Chantix Baby!” mantra, well, I’m happy for you but I have posted my experiences with it and from everything I’ve read about it I’m not alone. So yeah, it’s a lifesaver for some but you can’t say it works anymore than cold turkey, gum etc. Those work for some people but not all. Chantix is no different.
I’ve quit for anywhere from one month up to seven months at a time but it never lasts. I’ve pretty much given up at this point. There are no books, tapes, medications or methods I haven’t tried (multiple times for some). And yes, it does make you feel like a loser.
I’m sorry not to contribute to the positive posts here and I’m not trying to discourage you, but I felt such a kinship after reading your OP that I had to let you know there are others like you out there.
Please, if you ever find the cure for this obsession let me know. Our pattern of addiction and methods of quitting are so similar that maybe what finally helps you will help me as well.
A smoking fiend friend and his smoking wife went to a hypnotist. She stopped and never restarted. He restarted immediately. It might work for you.