The Crazy Lies I Told Myself as a Smoker

Mimes acting out Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil
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Smoker's denial is a side effect of nicotine addiction. We tell ourselves that smoking kills other people, that we have plenty of time before we need to worry about the long list of diseases associated with smoking, that cancer doesn't run in our family.

The fact is, we tell ourselves these mis-truths in order to be able to smoke in relative peace. The nagging voice in the back of our minds is still there, but we keep it quiet with rationalizations that can be pretty far-fetched at times.

The following list of justifications was harvested from numerous messages posted at the Smoking Cessation support forum.

The Lies We Tell

"Ahem...clearing my throat all the time was caused by my allergies, not smoking. Denial that I could get some dreaded illness vocally while my inner voice told me the truth in whispers then yells I tried to quiet."

"Watching my younger sister be diagnosed with emphysema while I told myself she got it from smoking so much pot, not cigarettes."

"Here was my biggest lie to self: I would never buy a carton. If I bought a carton it would have made me a full-time smoker again. Can you imagine? I smoked a pack a day but it was "the carton" that was going to make me feel like a smoker? So, I continued to buy two packs at a time for five years."

"I ignored everyone around me encouraging me to quit, all the health advice, and kept on with smoking because I truly believed quitting would have been "too hard." I thought I was too weak to ever be able to do it, so why try."

"I've got to die of something - might as well be smoking. That works when you're young and don't feel the effects of smoking, but once a health scare hits, it's amazing how quickly that attitude goes out the window."

"I'll always miss smoking if I quit. Life will feel boring and bland without cigarettes....but when I stop and really think about what I'll be missing, this is the list I come up with:

  • Hacking up phlegm and coughing my lungs out until I'm dizzy.
  • Huffing and puffing from a small amount of activity.
  • The seemingly constant colds and runny nose in the winter. 
  • Smelling like crap (geez did I really smell like that?).
  • Digging around for a light, using the toaster or stove instead.
  • Scrounging through the ashtray looking for that half smoked butt.
  • Huddling in the cold and rain so I can "enjoy" a cigarette. 

"I'm not addicted to cigarettes - I just like smoking."

"I always heard you had to want to quit - or that when you'd quit when you were "ready", but in 10 years of smoking, I never wanted to. I finally realized I might easily get sick and die while I was waiting to be ready to quit. I stopped for good not long after that."

"It occurred to me that although I profess that my children and my Husband always come first, they really didn't. Nicotine always came first. Always."

"No one knows I smoke because I don't smoke in front of anyone."

"Smoking makes me feel more confident. Looking at that statement in print makes me realize how utterly ridiculous that is.

The truth is that smoking makes me feel like a pariah, but somehow my brain is programmed to believe that cigarettes are an accessory that bolster me when I'm feeling down or insecure. Crazy."

"My dentist said I have a lesion in my mouth that is pre-cancerous. It scared me badly, and I vowed to quit smoking there and then. When I woke up the next day though, my mind started rationalizing that I didn't have to quit yet because it was "just" pre-cancerous. My brain was turning itself inside out trying to convince me to quit tomorrow, next week or at some unknown point in the future...any time but today."

Closing Thoughts

Pay attention to the thoughts that go through your mind about smoking and correct the crazy lies you tell yourself right away. Whether you've quit or are planning to, getting your mind in line with your intentions is key and will help you succeed with smoking cessation for the long term.

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