Physical repercussions of this addiction aside, not that they are invalid, the July 1st tax raise in NY has put cigarettes up to over nine bucks a pack. No way, no how can I justify that expense any longer.
I am a habitual smoker; I don't feel a need to smoke after a certain time period, but certain behaviors elicit a need to smoke. Avoiding those behaviors is not entirely doable, although I have limited them as best I can. I have been cutting back, very successfully, for quite a while, but cutting back is not enough any longer. They have to go.
The biggest obstacle is that I really LIKE smoking.
What worked for you? Drugs, hypnotherapy, prayer circles? Where the heck do I start?
Chantix. Made the cigs taste awful and did help with the cravings. I only took it for about 4 weeks. You're supposed to keep weaning yourself off the smokes for about 9 weeks but I figured "eff" this, I'm just prolonging the agony so I quit a little early.
About 2 months after I quit I started to feel awful. Went to the doctor, had all sorts of blood work done and even did a sleep study (doc was convinced I had sleep apnea, I thought thyroid, we were both wrong). After about a month I started to come out of it and I feel better now than I had in a long time. I think it was just my body starting to really function without the crap I was putting in it.
I'll hit the 2 year mark the end of September. I can't say it's been easy and a day rarely goes by without my thinking I'd like to have a cigarette but it's fleeting and I get over it.
I also started riding again after a long break (10 years) and then bought a horse. My cigarette money is now my board money. I can't afford to start smoking again.
Chantix. It makes them taste like crap and helps with the habit too. It was the best thing I ever did. I was not sure I wanted to quit either, I enjoyed it as well, except for the shame of people actually knowing I smoked. Having to leave the building to smoke, smelling like smoke... I could go on. I used those shameful feelings to help me motivate myself. I have been cig-free for over 3 years and will be forever. Like mswillie, I only took it for 4 weeks.
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In 1982 some tobacco company came up with a lemon flavored cigarette. They sent out coupons for free packs so I got one. Because free is free.
They were so unbelievably disgusting that they made me almost sick. I smoked two a day for three days along with my after-work drinks, and that literally killed my desire to smoke. (Got the idea they might be useful that way after the first day.) Threw the rest of the pack away.
Pretty much went about fifteen years without smoking after that.
Where are those lemon flavored cigarettes now when I could use them again?
"Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein
“So what’s up with years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”
If your insurance/EAP/wallet/whatever can support it, supplement your drug therapy of choice with some counseling. Even just a month of 1x/week counseling can really help you, ESPECIALLY since it's not just a physical craving for you, there is that strong mental desire. Exploring what some of that "I enjoy this" is about can help you find appropriate replacements so you still get that reward and don't need it from a cigarette.
The physiological craving for a cigarette lasts about 3 minutes (ymmv). When you feel a craving, grab a stop watch or timer or something and make yourself wait 3 minutes before giving in. If you can wait out those 3 minutes, odds are you'll be in a position to rationally evaluate your use, and make the choice not to smoke.
Rid your house of cigarettes. Stop going to the places where you bought them. That may mean taking a different route to work so you don't go past the gas station you buy them at. It may mean a whole new grocery store (or at least a different location of one even if it's the same chain). Break the habits that surround your use or your activities that lead to use (such as buying!). Start spending time where you CAN'T smoke... in NYS, that's a lot of places, lol!
Tell your family and friends about your efforts. You'll probably find a few people you can count on to help remind you WHY you're quitting, and talk you through the craving when they pop up.
And, when you notice the little changes that are associated with quitting, let yourself really enjoy them! When your sense of smell improves... notice it, and smell some nice things! When your sense of taste gets better... pay attention to how tasty your dinner is now. When you notice that breathing is a little easier, and your skin is a bit healther, and all that jazz... enjoy it!!! Reinforce the positive, don't only focus on the negative
My finger swelled up - gout? I liked what it did to my mind, I stopped worrying about things, my emotions seemed less flighty. But I quit when the finger blew up (about 7 days). And I didn't follow the instructions on about weaning yourself down the first 7 days. Epic Fail.
Freaky dreams happen to me anytime I try to quit, with the patch or just cold turkey. Talking with friends most experience violent dreams (wars, shooting people etc).
First time was cold turkey. You would not have wanted to be around me. I didn't like being around me.... I gained ~ 25 lbs but did take it off in ~ 3 yrs time. I started smoking again after 3.5 yrs when a crisis hit.
Second time was with hypnosis. Not as much for smoking but my temper/disposition as I was in a management position at work where I really didn't want to tell people what I thought of them. The hypnosis did last for about a yr and I should have gone back for a refresher BEFORE I started smoking again. I did go back for more hypnosis but it didn't work the 2nd time. Again gained ~ 25 lbs and lost most of it.
Third time I used Zyban (an anti-depressant to keep me from killing people) and Nicatrol Inhalers(sp?) which was like a cigarette in that you inhaled a small amount of nicotine and got the satisfaction of holding something and 'sucking' on it. Again gained ~ 25 lbs and DIDN'T lose it this time.
Some people I know have tried Zyban and could not tolerate it as it kept them awake. I also used it for about 5 months and the Nicatrol Inhaler for about 4 months. My health care at the time only covered 3 months of just 1 of the smoking cessation products at a reasonable fee and the rest cost me a bundle but was worth it.
I haven't had a cigarette in 7.5 yrs but still LOVE the smell of a burning cigarette and know I could start up at a moment's notice. I also know that if I had even one cigarette or probably even a couple of puffs, I start back up. I was a 2 pack/day + smoker so quitting was NOT easy.
As long as you WANT to quit, and I mean really want to quit, you will be able to do so. But if you only want to quit because of the cost, well, you'd be surprised what you might sacrifice otherwise just to support your habit. Believe me, I do know.... The only thing I didn't sacrifice were my horses and house pets but any thing else was fair game.
I remember when I said I'd quit when cigarettes got to $5.00/carton. I didn't and I honestly don't remember what they cost when I did quit 7.5+ yrs ago but I do remember making the drive to the Penbrook exit on the Thruway to go to the Indian Reservation and buying cigarettes by the case!
Good luck and I wish you well. It is one of the hardest addictions to quit but it is possible. I'll be jingling for you and will add a wish for you when I go out at night and wish on the stars!
Due to a country western song that came out "I'll Pray For You", I no longer offer up prayers.
Back in my day, we didn't have as many warning labels because people weren't so dang stupid!
I went to whyquit.com and read everything they had to offer about the physiology of nicotine addiction and once I totally understood what would happen when I quit, it was quite easy and I had smoked for a million years.
Good luck to you, its the best thing you can do for yourself!
My boyfriend (2 pack a day smoker for 30 years) quit 3 times. He also genuinely LOVED to smoke.
The first two times, he lasted about a year. The third time he used Chantix. He took it for almost a year (tried to stop it sooner and really WANTED to smoke so doc said to restart the meds) and has been smoke free for 4 years now.
He did smoke for the first week he took the meds (as directed) and then used the patch (all 3 steps) after that for a few months. I know it's unusual to use the drug this way but it was all under a doctor's supervision.
We made sure he always had hard candy in his truck, anything to keep his mouth busy
Chantix CAN give you nasty side effects.
I used Buproprion. Worked great.
Hypnosis did not work for anyone I know.
One of my siblings is an Oncology nurse. She says her patients made her quit. Really gross to see what smoking does to people (and few of the family members quit after one of their own gets a smoking-related disease)
I have some things going for me. I am very strong willed. While I like smoking, I am starting to notice physical effects that I don't like. The cost is really the last straw. There is no smoking in my house, and super supportive wonderful husband is allergic to smoke and a cardio-pulmonary PT; he is very much rooting for me.
I have one friend who quite with "The Book"; effective for three years thus far. Several friends have used chantix successfully, including one woman whom I never EVER thought would quit, so that gives me hope.
I am going to put the money I would spend on cigarettes into savings for a horse. If that isn't an incentive, I don't know what is!
I'll call the doc on Tuesday. Thanks again for the ideas and good thoughts. And MSJ, I strongly suspect I am going to be intolerable to be around for a time. I'm barely tolerable as is!