How Can I Get Through My First Smoke-Free Weekend?

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Question: How Can I Get Through My First Smoke-Free Weekend?

I quit smoking on Monday of this week and am worried about the upcoming weekend. I work Monday to Friday, which keeps me busy and helps with cravings to smoke. Weekends are my time to unwind, though, and I'm afraid that I'm going to have a hard time not smoking. What can I do to get through the weekend without cigarettes?

Answer: The first week of smoking cessation is fondly referred to as Hell Week because, for most of us, the physical discomforts of nicotine withdrawal are intense.

Psychologically, our minds are working overtime trying to convince us to smoke.

It takes a lot of effort to put the mental chatter on the back burner and forge ahead, but it is necessary if we are going to move past the first days of smoking cessation 

The First Smoke-Free Weekend

As smokers, we all associated cigarettes with relaxation. Making our way through the first weekend ( or other downtime if you work weekends) without smoking will take some effort, but the challenge is doable, especially if you have a game plan worked out ahead of time. A little preparation will help you stay in control and smoke-free.

Make a List of Ways to Stay Busy

Distraction is an effective way to beat cravings to smoke. Come up with several activities that you enjoy and try to keep away from smokers.

For instance, you could go to the mall or a movie where smoking isn't allowed.

You can head to the gym for a workout, go to a smoke-free restaurant for a leisurely meal or take the family dog for a walk on the beach. If you're at home, think about hobbies you could do to keep hands busy, or tackle a home project you've been thinking about doing.

Choose activities that are fun -- you'll be able to step outside of yourself more easily if the activity engages your 

Get Some Rest

If you're feeling sluggish and foggy-headed (common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal), take a mid-afternoon nap. There is nothing wrong with sleeping some of that first weekend away.

Nicotine withdrawal can be exhausting. Extra rest will allow you to recharge your batteries, which will keep you at your best for meeting the challenges that come with the first days of smoking 

Recovery from Nicotine Addiction Is a Process, Not an Event

Most of us spent decades building and cementing in place thousands of links between smoking and just about everything in our lives. Reprogramming those associations takes time and patience, but you can be sure that each smoke-free day you complete is breaking the chains that bind you to nicotine addiction bit-by-bit.

It may not feel like you're making progress during the first days of cessation, but you absolutely 

Going Through it to Get Through it

Once you put that first smoke-free weekend behind you, the next one will be easier.

Remember that recovery from nicotine addiction takes time, patience and plain old practice.

Acknowledge the progress you're making with daily rewards and take advantage of the support available at the smoking cessation forum here at

One day at a time moves mountains!

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