THERE IS SOMETHING GOOD YOU CAN DO
You can learn to replace cigarettes with other things that give you positive feelings. You can learn to relax and clear your mind in far more productive ways than smoking. Finding replacements for your addictions is easily done with a little bit of effort.
FIGURING OUT HOW YOUR ADDICTION WORKS?
Here are five ways to learn what you are addicted to and then to combat your addiction:
For two days, every time you smoke, write down the feelings you had before smoking each cigarette. Were you tired? Bored? Hungry? Fidgety?
Write down the positive feeling that came from smoking each cigarette. Did it help you relax? Did you feel less bored? Did it help you wake up? Did it help you fall asleep?
Study your list. You’ll probably notice a pattern.
Next, find things to distract you when you start feeling like having a smoke.
Also, find replacements for the positive feelings that you get from smoking. If you smoke to relax, figure out how to relax without a cigarette. If you smoke to clear your mind, figure out how to do that without a cigarette.
Think about the situations you are likely to be tempted in. There are a number of ways to approach them. Look at the moods you indicated: anxiety, sadness, or happiness. Times when you are especially anxious or feeling blue are likely to be especially tempting.
There may also be situations which don’t occur too often, but when they do, it’s hard to fight. Make a list of possible temptations that you are prone to.
After specifying your temptations, you need to think of specific things you will do to keep each from getting to you. Here are some questions to ask to help you come up with good strategies:
How can I avoid the temptation altogether?
If I can’t avoid it, how can I weaken the temptation when I feel tempted?
What can I do ahead of time to reduce my urge when tempted?
When tempted, how can I limit my ability to give in to the temptation?
Be creative, and get really specific in answering these questions. Now is not the time to be vague. Specific answers will be your best defense against temptation.
Here are some ideas that will help you get creative:
Change your environment. Get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and matches.
Prepare yourself. Have creative alternatives available, such as sugar-free gum, low-calorie snacks, etc. Plan an enjoyable activity and start it before the temptation occurs (for example, take a walk after dinner).
Make use of your social world. Tell a lot of people that you’ve quit smoking. Make clear to your smoking friends that you don’t want them to give you a cigarette (most relapse cigarettes come from friends). Tell a friend about an upcoming temptation and ask them to give you some encouragement in the situation (perhaps before a tense meeting).
Keep your goal in mind. Rehearse your reasons for quitting. Promise yourself something you enjoy (movie, dinner) for getting through the first week. Get involved in activities that don’t go with smoking (exercise, meditation). Imagine yourself as you’d like to feel, enjoying favorite activities without smoking.
Reduce the appeal of temptations. Think about the harmful things cigarettes do to you. Think about the diseases you’re concerned about if you go back to smoking.
As you can see from these examples, your will-power does not depend on some inner strength – but it rests on how well you anticipate temptations and how creatively you act to change them.
Avoiding temptations is certainly a lot of work, and it requires effort in advance. But keep in mind the fact that quitting smoking is the most important, and one of the hardest things you’ll d all year. Give it the attention that it (and you) deserve.