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May 26 12 7:23 AM
Doc Quit date 14th October 2008
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"I want one!"
I want one—no I don't. One sounds great—no it doesn't. Oh just one—not just one. If you keep thinking in terms of "one" this kind of internal debate is non-relenting—it will slowly drive you nuts.
So, don't carry on this debate. Don't think in terms of one. Think in terms of full-fledged smoking. The full quantity, the social stigma, the stench, the costs, the risks. I'm not advocating looking at them negatively. Just look at them how they were—really were at the end.
They were making you sick and tired enough of them that you voluntarily put yourself into withdrawal to break free from them. You did it. Now just keep them in perspective. If you used to smoke 20 a day, say to yourself when the urge hits that "I want 20 a day, every day, for the rest of my life, till it cripples, then kills me." As soon as you hear yourself say it in that perspective you will likely find yourself next saying, "What am I thinking? I don't want to smoke that way." That will be the end of that particular discussion.
Look at smoking in real terms and you will walk away from each urge with a sense of relief and accomplishement. Fantasize about them and you may walk away with a feeling of deprivation. You are not depriving yourself of anything, you are ridding yourself of a deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stay forever resolute to never take another puff!
Fixating on a Cigarette
What happens to some people is when off a certain time period they start fixating on a cigarette. By that I mean they forget all the bad cigarettes they ever smoked, they forget the ones they smoked without ever really thinking about them even at the time they were being smoked, and they start to remember and focus on one good cigarette. It may be one the smoked 20 years earlier but it was a good one and they are now wanting one again.
A common tactic is the ex-smoker will try to tell himself or herself that he or she does not really want that good cigarette. Well, the problem is at that moment he or she does want it. An internal debate erupts, "I want one, no I don't, one sounds great, not it doesn't, oh just one, not just one!" The problem is that if the ex-smoker focus on one there is no clear winning side. The ex-smoker needs to change the internal discussion.
Don't say that you don’t want one when you do, rather acknowledge the desire but ask yourself, do I want the others that go with it. Then do I want the package deal that goes with the others? The expense, social stigma, smell, health effects, possible loss of life. Do you want to go back to smoking, full fledged, until it cripples and kills you? Stated like this it normally is not a back and forth debate. The answer will normally be, "No I don’t want to smoke under these terms, and these are the only terms a cigarette comes with.
Normally if viewed like this the debate is over with almost immediately after pulled into focus. Again, if the focus is only on one, you can drive yourself nuts throughout the whole day. If they focus on the whole package deal, you will walk away from the moment relieved to still be smoke free and sufficiently reinforced to never take another puff!
Just think about something else
Sometimes you will encounter a person who says they are constantly thinking about smoking or sometimes you yourself feel that you fit into this category of individual. Generally when a person says they are constantly thinking about smoking, people around them tries to share the advice to think about something else. First, there is an inaccuracy about what the ex-smoker is saying. He or she is not constantly thinking about smoking, rather, he or she is fixating on "one cigarette" or "one puff." It's hard to think about something else because one puff seems like such a wonderful concept. They are often reminiscing about one of the best cigarettes, or more accurately, about the sensation around one of the best fixes they ever had. It may be one the smoked 20 years earlier but that is the one they are focused on.
So what about thinking about something else? Well, it's hard to think of something else that can deliver such pleasure as this magic memory. Even if they successfully think of something else and overcome that urge, they walk away from the moment with a sense of longing or sadness with what they have just been deprived of again.
So, what is an ex-smoker to do? Change the tactic. Instead of trying (often unsuccessfully) of something else, acknowledge the desire. Don't tell yourself you don't want one, you do and you know it. But remember there is a catch. To take the one you have to have all the others with it. And with the others, you have to take all the problems that go with "them." The smell, the expense, the embarrassment, social ostracization, the total loss of control, and the health implications. The health effects are the most serious of the implications considering they lead to slowly being crippled then death.
This is what to focus on when the thought of one creeps into consciousness, the package deal of smoking. Think about the hundreds of cigarettes that have to go with that first one weekly. Think about the thousands that go with that first one every year, or the hundreds of thousands that will go with it until it kills you. These are not exaggerated numbers. Do the math yourself; calculate how much you smoked in your lifetime and figure out how many more will be consumed if you didn't quit.
I am not saying to look at cigarettes negatively, just look at them exactly as they really were. If you pull the whole spectrum of smoking into focus, you will be able to walk away from the "urge" with the attitude that you are glad you are not doing that anymore. You won't feel deprived you will feel grateful. The more you remember smoking the less you will think about a cigarette. In a sense forcing yourself to remember will help you forget. Not forget smoking, but the fantasy, the appeal of a nicotine fix. A nicotine fix was not worth smoking for while you were a smoker, you can bet it is not worth it as an ex-smoker with freedom to lose now as well as all the other implications that always went with smoking.
In summing up, I will say that not smoking will never seem as good as the fantasy of smoking. But smoking was never that good either. The fantasy is "one" with no side effects, and no loss of control. The reality though is a dirty, disgusting, and deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stop wanting them as much.
Again, it can't be said too often, you are fighting for your health and your life. To win this fight is no more complicated than just keeping your commitment enforced to never take another puff!
Boy do I miss smoking
If you say it often enough you really start to believe it. But would life be different if you smoked again? You bet it would. From the moment you awake to the time you go to sleep, life would never again be the same.
Once again you have to smoke as soon as you wake up just to have the strength and energy to drag yourself out of bed. You cough up some of that phlegm in your lungs and get a drink of water for that horribly dry throat. You have a lousy taste in your mouth and a slight headache. But none of this concerns you since you feel this way every morning. Funny though, if you think back to your ex-smoking days, you used to wake up feeling clean, healthy and refreshed.
You start to dress and get ready for work. Fifteen minutes go by so you smoke a cigarette or two. At breakfast the food sure tastes bland. Better add some salt and pepper to those eggs. Coffee sure seems weak today, no smell or taste to it. Better brew it longer next time. When you were an ex-smoker things smelled and tasted so good.
You realize you had better start moving faster since you are already behind schedule. Where does the time go? When you were not smoking you seemed to have so much more time in the morning. Better hurry or you will be late for work again.
The inside windshield sure seems dirty. It is kind of surprising since you just cleaned it three weeks ago. Better try to scrape that brown film off over the weekend. No wonder the kids are always complaining about the smell in the car. Remember when you were an ex-smoker and you cleaned your inside windshield about every six months.
You just hate driving during rush hours. Its forty-five minutes of pure frustration. Three or four cigarettes between home and work. But it sure is better than taking that train where you can't smoke at all. Near the end of these trips you sit with an unlit cigarette hanging out of your mouth, a lighter in your hand. When the train finally stops you push your way out to light the cigarette as fast as you can. When you were an ex-smoker and you drove or took the train you didn't even think of a cigarette.
You are really late now. You run half a block from the parking lot to your office. You start wheezing and coughing. You can't catch your breath and your heart feels like it is going to explode out of your chest. Funny, when you were an ex-smoker a little run like that wouldn't even make you perspire.
At work the phone just doesn't stop ringing. You almost don't have time to smoke. But you know you will make time to smoke at least three an hour. In fact, with that hour-long staff meeting where you are not allowed to smoke coming up, you had better smoke a few extra. You don't want another episode like last week where the boss asked you some difficult questions and all you could think about was when could you get a cigarette. Sure was simpler when you were an ex-smoker.
Rush hour going home is just as bad as going to work. You should stop and get cigarettes, you might not have enough to get through until tomorrow. Another couple of dollars down the drain.
Well, you are finally home. You had better smoke while getting ready for dinner since your kids won't let you smoke at the table. Another half a pack or so before going to bed. You sure are tired. I bet you feel like you smoked too much today. As you doze off your last thought for the day is, "Boy, do I miss not smoking." Consider what life was really like as a smoker. Remember all this and NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
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