Now that you are a nonsmoker, you need to actively review your plans for coping with temptations. Look back at the temptations you identified and the plans you had for coping with them. Which ones have you tried so far? Which ones have worked and which ones have not worked as well as you expected?
Based on your results so far, you want to revise your list. Concentrate on things that helped you stay off cigarettes.
Now think of two or three situations coming up this week that may make you want to smoke. Then think of two or three things you could instead of smoking.
You may also want to treat moods and feelings like temptations, and work out a plan for coping with these emotions that will make you want to smoke. If an important meeting next Monday is making you anxious, make sure that you do some “defense tactics” to make sure you don’t resort to smoking to deal with stress. For example,
1) Take extra care to allow ample time for the task, so meeting your deadline won’t be stressful.
2) Plan fifteen-minute walks both morning and afternoon over the weekend to keep things a little calmer.
3) Ask your spouse to give you encouragement over the weekend. Be sure to say exactly how you want to be encouraged (a pep talk, a hug, etc.).
4) Plan your work so you can take a 10 minute break every hour to do your breathing exercise.
5) Make sure you plan some things you’ll enjoy doing over the weekend so the anxiety of making the deadline won’t be compounded by feeling sad that you don’t have enough fun.
6) Make sure the area where you work does not have any reminders of smoking so you are not caught off guard.
You have to identify the right strategy for you. Find out what your temptations are, and then come up with specific strategies that you feel good about. One word of advice, don’t take a drink to relax – because drinking alcohol will increase your urge to smoke.
Remember, quitting smoking is long process. You have to work on your will power first and foremost. People lapse when they let temptation come over them without doing anything about it. It doesn’t matter so much what you do as long as it makes sense for you. But you do need to do something to keep those temptations at bay.
What If Will Power Does Not Work?
Of course, nobody’s perfect. There will be times when all your creative alternatives and will power will not work against a tough temptation. When things don’t go well, ask yourself:
1) Could I have anticipated the temptation sooner?
2) Did I look at all aspects of the temptation situation that I could change or avoid?
3) Did I make a concrete plan?
4) Did I carry out my plan or just think about it?
Different control strategies work for different people. Don’t give up if a strategy that works for other people fails for you. Try something else. Keep at it and be creative. You can and will find a strategy to avoid temptation. Be creative about the strategies and make sure you carry out your plans. You will find that a little creativity and effort will often solve a temptation.
By the time you get to this part of the Kit, you may have been smoke-free for five days, seven days, ten days, or even longer. Well done! You’re doing a great job. And you’re probably feeling more and more confident about being a nonsmoker.
But there probably have been several times when you’ve been tempted to have “just one” cigarette. When the temptation is really high, you may think to yourself, “If I have just one cigarette, it’s no big deal.”
Don’t kid yourself! Even one cigarette is a big deal, and it will hurt your chances of quitting. One cigarette can easily lead to two, and before long, you’re buying a pack, and soon a carton.
Having even one cigarette reduces your chances of success. You need to be determined that you will not smoke, not at all – not even a puff.
Most successful quitters, however, have failed a few times before they got it right. For many, relapsing and trying again is part of learning to be a nonsmoker.
So be as determined as you can be. Don’t start letting yourself have a cigarette here, a cigarette there. But, if you do have a setback, don’t get down on yourself. You are still on your way toward eventually being a nonsmoker.