21 Things I've Learned About Quitting Smoking

FredFroese/E+/Getty Images

After 40 years of nicotine addiction, ex-smoker Nenejune wasn't sure she'd ever be able to quit. On completion of her first smoke-free year however, she knew she was done for good.

Her perspectives about what is involved in the journey to quit smoking are reflected in this article. They show a fundamental change in the relationship she had with cigarettes, and that is the beginning of true freedom.

Congratulations, Nenejune, and thanks for sharing.

From Nenejune:

Everything I know about quitting smoking I learned from you. This list could go on forever, but here is a partial detailing of the most important things I have learned:

Education -- An educated quit is a successful quit and knowledge is power. It sounds a bit trite, but it's the truth. Read everything you can find about what to expect when you quit smoking and don't stop there. If you think you have read everything there is about smoking cessation, go back and read it all again.

Commitment -- Stick with your decision to quit smoking no matter what. Don't waver.  Don't look back.

Reasons to quit never change -- Write them down and read them over and over. Carry them with you and add new reasons as you think of them.

Change your relationship with smoking -- Retrain your brain by learning to identify and replace faulty thought patterns that don't serve you with thoughts that do.

Support -- Family and friends may not always understand what you're going through, but there are plenty of great online support communities for smoking cessation.  Find one and use it when you're struggling.

Discomfort is temporary -- You are in recovery. Any discomfort is because we smoked, not because we quit.

Motivation -- Read the happy, successful quit stories and milestone posts. They will inspire you and help you believe in your ability to quit like others have.

Stay busy and focused -- Reading and typing will keep your mind and fingers occupied when you're craving a cigarette.

Breathe – Deep breathing exercises really helped me, as well as drinking water, sucking on lollipops, and walking.

Visualization -- It helped me to visualize my heart and lungs as something precious that I would never willingly hurt, like a tiny baby, puppy, or kitten.

Make no excuses -- If you give yourself a reason or excuse to smoke, you will use it.

Smoking is not an option -- When you take away the option, you have taken away the struggle of “should I or shouldn’t I.” Use visualization to throw up a mental brick wall when thoughts of smoking occur. With practice, it will become easy to do.

Time and patience -- Smoking cessation is not over in a few days, weeks, or even months, but it does get better and easier with time. Relax and know that every day you put between you and the last cigarette you smoke is healing you.

NOPE(Not One Puff Ever) pledge -- Renew your commitment every day by pledge not to smoke just for today.

Help others -- Every positive word you say to someone else who is working on smoking cessation is like saying it to yourself at the same time.

Forget the romance – Smoking is not fun or enjoyable; it is a deadly addiction. Any time you think you miss it, read about someone’s real-life battle with a smoking-related illness.

Be positive -- If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Attitude is everything.

Be proud -- Every day you don't smoke is an accomplishment to be proud of.

Be thankful – You have chosen health and life over addiction.

Own it -- No one can give you the title of nonsmoker and no one can take it away.

You must work for it, earn it, own it, and protect it.

Believe – Others are quitting smoking and you can too.

Nenejune speaks the honest truth. Smoking cessation doesn't happen overnight and it does take work. That said, we all have what it takes to quit smoking successfully.

Dig your heels in and do the work it takes to get the monkey that nicotine addiction is off of your back. The rewards are outstanding and you'll love the person you have the potential to become without the chains of this killer habit weighing you down.

Believe in yourself and you can free yourself.

More from Nenejune:  Freedom After 40 Years of Smoking

Continue Reading