It's weird about triggers lately. They are so much more specific and so much more widely spaced. When I first quit, EVERYTHING was a trigger. Every part of life, all of the dumb little things you do every single day, all felt very raw and wrong without a cigarette.
Now I'm completely used to walking to class without smoking, taking classes without smoking, studying without smoking, drinking coffee without smoking, talking to friends outside without smoking, talking on the phone without smoking. . .the list goes on. These are all no big deal anymore.
Recently I heard of a lady who quit smoking with NRTs. She was so afraid of going back to smoking that she moved to live in a different location from her husband (who still smoked) and changed everything about her life. She stopped going to bars and restaurants and dropped all of her smoking friendships. I swear I am not making this up--it was on another quit smoking forum and a lot of people thought it sounded quite sensible.
This illustrates the importance of not running away from triggers. I used to buy all of my cigarettes from the same gas station on the corner and since I quit, I never go to that gas station anymore. I don't have a car, so I don't need to buy gas, but I used to go there to buy snacks, too. This morning I had to get up early to take an exam and the bagel shop wasn't open, so I had to go to the gas station to get some breakfast. It was the first time I've been there since I quit smoking, and it felt completely bizarre to not be buying cigarettes there. I was kind of afraid to even go in--had to take a couple of deep breaths, first. I hardly get that feeling anymore, but that's because most of my triggers are already out of the way. See Monster under the bed.
Can you imagine if I hadn't had any practice in dealing with triggers? Can you imagine if at some point, years from now, I had to continue dealing with these kind of triggers because I kept putting them off when I first quit? What, am I never going to go into a gas station again? Never going to talk to my friends who smoke again? Never going to enjoy life as I previously knew it again? If all of that were what quitting smoking entails, hell with it! That's too much to ask--to save your life while simultaneously quitting living.
I think this woman's story also illustrates the ineffectiveness of NRTs. The woman who hid from all of the triggers she could really did have something to be afraid of. You see, when her brain told her that a cigarette would be a good solution to the trigger, her brain was absolutely correct. She still needed nicotine, and a cigarette would be an effective way to answer that need.
In the gas station this morning, a cigarette would have been an answer to a need I no longer have. Buying a pack would make no logical sense. That makes it relatively easy for me to smile at my trigger, buy coffee and a donut, and head out the door with no looking back.
2 months 3 weeks 5 days nicotine free