Image by Uki Eiri
When is the best time to quit smoking?
There are many variations of this question online, in various forums, other posts and articles. Also it is one crucial issue that a smoker that desires to quit ask herself and others at some point in her life. When is the best time to quit smoking indeed? I asked that question many times when I was a cigarette smoker from the age of 19 until 35. Sixteen years of nicotine addiction did leave their toll on the body.
I had many failed attempts to quit smoking and with every failed one I was learning and realizing even more what smoking is and how I will be possible to break free from it.
Even today I am discovering that I did not quite know very well what smoking was and also nicotine.
Even today that I know that smoking leads to instant nicotine addiction still at the back of my head I keep catching myself seeing the practice of smoking a cigarette as a bad habit.
Big mistake. What I know now and I’d like to know seven years ago when I did manage to break free from the prison of nicotine addiction, is strong indications that smoking is not a bad habit. It is one of the many ways that deliver nicotine into your system, like a pipe, a hookah, nicotine patches and gum, sprays and so on.
One important question that a smoker that wants to quit should answer is this. DO I want to stop? If the answer is a big YES. It is easy to go through the waves of nicotine withdrawal and come out victorious. I am saying its easy because you will supply yourself with the necessary knowledge. The knowledge that will enable you to face any real or imaginary obstacle with success.
One of the main reasons that I was constantly trying to quit was that I knew smoking was bad for me. My mistake was that I saw smoking as a bad habit that I needed to get rid off, if I had some time on my own.
In my mind back then, I thought that, if I don’t have nothing to worry about for about a month, then I can stop smoking. Back then I thought that me worrying and being stressful, was a situation that I could solve and manage by lighting a few cigarettes. After that I would relax and calm down. I thought that smoking was actually helping me cope with anxiety and stress.
So this was one of the big reasons I was always failing, in my mind anyway that was it.
The Reality of the matter is that a human being even someone that doesn’t have much stress or anxiety in his life will never be able to have that solitary stress free month period I was looking for. Maybe and I think it was just an excuse I had to justify my fail attempts at quitting smoking.
It will be like 2 months before my birthday, and I will say I will quit on my birthday give my myself a nice present.
Do not set dates.
This thought instead of making me feel better it actually forced me to feel worse for some reason. My birthday will come and of course, I would not stop, then it was new years resolutions and summer holidays, I always tried to quit during summer season because I thought summer vacations away from the stressful daily routine will enable me to be successful at smoking.
I will quit for a while or for a few days and then back sucking the tubes of cancer. Most of my attempts are described in my first book Thirsty for Health in the Smoking Chapter.
This fact that I couldn’t quit even when the stress was minimum didn’t help me realize one important aspect. That quitting smoking doesn’t have to do with a particular time period or how much more or less stressful you are.
What I lack back then was the information that smoking is not a bad habit but a delivery method, that one and second my real problem was not the cigarette but nicotine addiction.
Manageable Stress is Good.
Actually, stress is an incredible natural tool our body uses to motivates us to get up our lazy butts and do something about it.. After we do something about it, then it rewards us with beautiful happy feelings of satisfaction by producing in our happy brain chemicals like dopamine.
If I knew that when the body is in stress condition removes nicotine faster then I would make sure I was quitting when I was stressful. The sooner the addictive substance is out of your system then, the sooner you get rid of smoking.
What I did not know was that when our body is in stress mode, our urine becomes very acidic. Now what the body does is to reach out for alkaline substances like calcium for example. In a non-smoker body, the body will take a big percentage of dietary calcium that is in its blood and will flush it down to the urine to make it more alkaline.
In a smokers body that’s another story, the first available alkaloid that the body finds in its blood stream is guessed what? If you said nicotine, then you are correct. SO when a smoker is stressed out his urine become more acidic that already are, nicotine leaves gradually from the blood to alkaline the urine. Rapid reduction of blood nicotine levels puts the smoker into a withdrawal state, and he needs to light a cigarette to replenish his nicotine levels so he wants to feel the withdrawal syndromes. The one that makes you impatient, edgy, angry, sad, irritated and so on.
Another piece of information that I also didn’t realize back then and I managed to grasp 7 years ago was that if you are going to quit, you should quit for you and nobody else. You should never wait for your wife, parents, kids. Quit because your work colleagues are on your case etc. This is vital because if you don’t quit for you. Then you depend on others mood and behavior towards you.
Example, let’s say you quit smoking because your wife is nagging you. Let’s assume you stopped smoking everything is fine and dandy and a few years down the road you get a divorce the wife is not there to nag you anymore, what do you think will happen? Correct you start smoking again.
Quit smoking FOR YOU be selfish for once in your life, stop for you and nobody else.
Now when I quit smoking 7 years ago just before I stop, I was doing about 30 to 40 cigs a day. I had three jobs, and my cortisol levels (stress hormone) were through the roof.
As I describe in my book Thirsty for Health in my smoking chapter, after rushing a small uphill where my parent’s house is to deliver a computer to a client and me almost not make it, I almost faint, I was out of breath, and I was only 35 years old!
Right, there was my waking call, my divine phone call, if you want to, came it something else.
The next day I had a doctors appointment, and my father and I drove together to the physician. Needless to say, the news the doctor told me was not good. It was not the news the doctor announced that made me realize it was time to quit. It was the previous day’s eventhis had to be the time that I stop smoking.
I knew it was killing me, I knew it was robbing my life. It was hijacking my health and my money away from me and it offered me nothing.
All this knowledge, of course, you need to understand that it was filtered through nicotine clouded thinking and dependency.
So I and father decided to quit together, we said not to buy any more cigs. We went home. Proceeded in throwing into the trash everything that had anything remotely to do with smoking. Pipes, Zippo lighters, cigarettes, cigarette cases, tobacco rolling machines, matches ashtrays. Everything that could make us go back to tobacco use in the house anyway.
When it clicks it will happen.
That was it basically, there was no programming months before, we did it for ourselves.
We just sit through the nicotine withdrawal syndromes. After 2 to 3 weeks that I knew all the nicotine has left my body, I knew that
I made the first step of getting rid of my “bad habit.”
Then after a year went buy. I reprogrammed myself to living and exercising all my social events without a cigarette. After I went through that I knew I ill never smoke again in my life.
Every year the day I stopped smoking I celebrate it like it’s my birthday. It’s a kind of reborn, I left my nicotine addict behind. Now I am a recovering addict of nicotine for life. I do not kid myself I know that it only takes one puff to return to my old addiction. That is not going to happen. Furthermore I am in control now not nicotine and I couldn’t be happier about it and healthier too.
I had a difficult withdrawal phase. I am going to tell you a few tips to have in mind when you stop smoking that will help you a lot. Also, I only wish I knew them too when I quit it would have made my life easier. I quit smoking on sheer will alone, something that is tough to do. I now know that you do need a strong will. What you need is informing yourself of how the body behaves during the withdrawal stages is an ammunition you can use to stay the course and reach your non-smoking status in life.
Do not worry about the future, do not worry about what tomorrow brings, focus on today, focus on making it through without a cigarette today.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Instead of eating fruits and vegetables, every time I wanted to smoke, I ate junk food. Processed food like sugary carbs, chocolates, and drink sodas. Eat lots of veggies fruits and drink lots of natural fruit juices. They will help remove the nicotine faster out of your system. The faster the nicotine leaves, the fewer withdrawal syndrome you have.
Write down on a piece of paper why you want to quit. Always have it with you, have it with you along a pen or a pencil. Every time you want to smoke take that list out and read it as long as it takes until the urge goes away. You will see that your head will clear more as the days progress, and you will add more items on that list.
When urges strike call a friend or talk to a family member it will help take your mind off.
When I had my urges I will do many weird stuff like sitting on a chair I christen the airplane seat. I will then pretend I was on a plane going on a trip. The reason I did that was because you cannot smoke on the plane. Believe it or not, that did help me calm down and deal with the withdrawal episodes. Furthermore I will chew on straws or toothpicks and, as I said I will eat a lot of food
Don’t worry about gaining weight focus on the removing nicotine out of your system, for now, you can deal your weight problem later.
So concentrate on the day you are, do not worry about the future. When you reach 72 hours without a cigarette you are in a right place. Most of the nicotine is out of your system. The withdrawal syndromes will start to easy away. You will notice that the urges attacks are not so intense anymore. You are more in control of the situation.
So after all the info I gave you. I think you know what the answer is to the question: when is the best time to quit smoking? The right answer is NOW!
I hope I helped. I will continue writing articles about quit smoking because I want to help as many people possible. Nicotine addiction is deadly and I wish people to quit so they can start living again.