13 Things I've Learned About Quitting Smoking

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After 40 years of nicotine addiction, ex-smoker Nenejune wasn't sure she'd ever be able to quit. Once she got through her first smoke-free year, though, she knew she was done for good.

Her perspectives about what is involved in the journey to quit smoking are reflected in this article. They show a fundamental change in the relationship she had with cigarettes, and that is the beginning of true freedom.

Congratulations, Nenejune, and thanks for sharing.

Quitting smoking taught me a world full of lessons. This list could go on forever, but here's some of the most important things I learned:

  1. Education: An educated quit is a successful quit. It sounds a bit trite, but it's true. Read everything you can find about what to expect when you quit smoking and don't stop there. If you think you have read everything there is about smoking cessation, go back and read it all again.
  2. Commitment: Stick with your decision to quit smoking no matter what. Don't waver. Don't look back.
  3. Reasons to quit never change: Write down your reasons and read them over and over. Carry them with you and add new ones as you think of them.
  4. Change your relationship with smoking: Retrain your brain by learning to identify and replace faulty thought patterns that don't serve you with thoughts that do. Replace times you would have smoked with healthier habits.
  5. Support: Family and friends may not always understand what you're going through, but there are plenty of great online support communities for smoking cessation. Find one and use it when you're struggling.
  6. Discomfort is temporary: You are in recovery. Any discomfort is because you smoked, not because you quit.
  7. Visualization: It helped me to visualize my heart and lungs as something precious that I would never willingly hurt, like a tiny baby, puppy, or kitten.
  8. Smoking is not an option: When you take away the option, you have taken away the struggle of “should I or shouldn’t I.” Use visualization to throw up a mental brick wall when thoughts of smoking occur. Over time, this will become easier to do.
  9. Time and patience: Smoking cessation is not over in a few days, weeks, or even months, but it does get better and easier with time. Relax and know that every day you put between you and the last cigarette you smoke will heal you.
  10. NOPE (Not One Puff Ever) pledge: Quitting for the rest of your life is hard. Quitting for one day is easier. Renew your commitment every day by pledging not to smoke just for today.
  11. Forget the romance: Smoking is not fun or enjoyable; it is a deadly addiction. Don't romanticize the good times you had smoking.
  12. Be positive: Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right. Attitude is everything.
  13. Be proud and thankful: You have chosen health and life over addiction, and every day you don't smoke is an accomplishment to be proud of.

Nenejune speaks the honest truth from someone who's been there. Smoking cessation doesn't happen overnight and it does take work. It's hard, but we all have what it takes to quit smoking successfully.

Dig your heels in and do the work it takes to get your life back from your addiction. The rewards are outstanding and you'll love the person you have the potential to become.

Believe in yourself and you can free yourself.

More from Nenejune: Freedom After 40 Years of Smoking

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