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I Want to Stay a Non-Smoker

Remember that just one cigarette will hurt. All it takes is one puff to start again.

Coping With Cravings
Coping With Stress
Coping With Feelings
Coping With Social Situations
Developing Positive Addictions
What If I "Fall Off The Wagon"?

Coping With Cravings

The most difficult aspect of coping with cravings is the desire or need for a quick fix. There is no magic wand you can wave to make it go away. In the past, nicotine has been in control of you. It's the feeling f not being in control that is so hard to handle, not the actual symptoms. Focus on the positive.

  • Wait it out. It should only last a few minutes. You'll find that the urge fades then disappears.
  • Review your most important reasons for quitting smoking.
  • Pay attention to your self talk. Don't justify or rationalize because "just one" cigarette can hurt you. Talk yourself out of an urge.
  • If you get a strong urge to smoke a cigarette, stop what you are doing, get up and do something different. "Hey, this isn't going to last. I really want a cigarette but instead I'm going to take out the garbage..."
  • Think away the craving. Think of diseases related to smoking. Tell yourself "I am a non-smoker". Think of the benefits.
  • Stretch and touch your toes.
  • Put something in your mouth, preferably something low in calories. Crunchy, chewy foods work best to keep your mouth busy (carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, pretzels, apples, celery, gum, rice cakes). Chew on a toothpick or inhale through a straw.
  • Drink water.
  • Keep your hands busy: doodle, polish your glasses, knit, take a shower, do a crossword puzzle, get up and walk around.

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Coping With Stress

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Coping With Social Situations

  • Make a firm decision before you go into the situation, that you will not smoke no matter what happens.
  • Visualize yourself as a non-smoker.
  • Make a list of things to talk about before a social event.
  • Drink something non-alcoholic.
  • Practice mental preparation.

Most people - smokers and non-smokers alike - will be supportive of your decision. After all, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. You may, however, run into someone who feels threatened and makes a snide remark about what you have done. To deal with these negative people, remember that you have breathtaking reasons for quitting! Don't let anyone put you down. You may also find yourself in an uncomfortable situation where the pressures to smoke are rising up against you. That's when you need some mental preparation.
First, think of or visualize a difficult situation before you are actually part of it. You need to practice in your mind what you will do in the real situation. Your response has to feel and sound natural. You need to be confident in how you will handle a potentially dangerous circumstance. If someone offers you a cigarette during a break at work you will say, "___". Now practice it again. Say it out loud until it literally rolls off your tongue.

Here's another example. You and a friend have planned a trip which will mean riding in an automobile together for about nine hours. Your friend smokes and you are using their car. You know that the smoke you smell during the trip will be a hardship for you as you continue to struggle with cravings, visual cues and your sense of smell. You will need to be prepared in advance. Don't wait until you're on your way. This is a plan for disaster. Discuss your dilemma in advance with your friend. Friends don't want to be cruel or callous and will attempt to accommodate as long as they don't feel threatened. They will try to understand your situation. You are vulnerable at this time and you need to be honest about this both with your friend and with yourself. Being macho or a martyr usually just doesn't work. Devise a compromise in advance like agreeing to stop every hour so your friend can get out of the car and have a cigarette outside. You can also stretch at the same time and use your other coping skills.

The important thing is to be ready as much as possible for uncomfortable situations.

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Develop Positive Addictions

Make a list of short term goals. Let the void that you may feel, be filled with a positive activity. Use some of the money saved to meet some of your short term goals. (Examples: taking a basic course in photography, building a cabinet, landscaping, learning a new language).

Decide what you think cigarettes did for you. Now, replace these with non-destructive behaviors.

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What If I "Fall Off The Wagon"?

Fall off the wagonHundreds of people become ill from smoking every day. Yet, many smokers who quit begin smoking again. Don't be hard on yourself. It happens. In fact, it takes the average smoker several tries before quitting for good. Relapse is not a failure; it's a set back so don't be put off. Studies have shown that people who have tried to stop smoking in the past increase their chances of succeeding in the future. View relapse as a very temporary set-back. The bottom line is that when the urge to smoke strikes it's how you handle it that counts. If you did nothing, you are inviting failure and probably need to re-evaluate your reasons for quitting. The big challenge is to remain a non-smoker. To avoid relapse, the new ex-smoker must:

  • recognize a potential relapse situation
  • recognize this situation early
  • choose an effective coping strategy
  • put your plan into action immediately

Your list of coping strategies and mental preparation become very important now. Successful quitting depends on how you deal with a potential relapse situation. Knowing how to react to a situation and being ready to act quickly are essential in your plan to become a non-smoker.

Some reasons of relapse: stress, pressure from friends, situations of habit. Ask yourself: Where was I? What was I doing? Who was I with? What was I thinking? Once you have identified the reasons for starting again, it's time to stop once and for all - this time, you will be better prepared.

Treat it like an EMERGENCY and get away from whatever made you smoke. Stop smoking right away. Get rid of your cigarettes.

If your commitment is genuine, you will do whatever is necessary, however troublesome, to protect your non-smoking freedom.


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"The race is not always to the swift...but to those who keep on running."
"The distance doesn't matter; it is only the first step that is difficult."

- Marquise du Deffand, French Noblewoman, 1696-1780

"You've failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn't you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung the bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. English novelist John Creasy got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. Don't worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try."

"Champions are people with great holding power, not starting power, but staying power!"

"Success is a matter of hanging on after others have let go."

"You can eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time."

- Ashley Brilliant