I didn't realize there was a smoking board here - I usually post in Disbetes and Diet & Nutrition. But I do have a method of quitting that works - it worked for me 14 years ago, and it has helped some of my friends and relatives. I made this up myself, but would still be smoking today if I had not followed this method. I would be interested to hear what any of you think about this...
You will hear a lot of suggestions from a lot of people on how to quit smoking and most of them do not work. I have a method that I created for myself - and it allowed me to quit cold turkey and get through the continuous urges that creep up on you. I still use this method today - yes even 14 years later. Now I suppose it is possible that my magic won't work for you... but I have 2 things to say to that... 1. You have to really love smoking and the feeling you get when you take a deep drag off a cigarette. 2. You have to really want to quit, even though you love that feeling. I smoked 3 packs/day for 16 years. I tried to quit many times using acupuncture, hypnotism, various kits/filters with inhale inhibitors - NOTHING WORKED. These and other methods out there might assist you in some small way but they really don't address the problem - for me the problem was that I loved and missed how smoking FELT
. Nothing worked for me except what I am about to describe.
First, think about what feeling it is that you crave when you crave a cigarette? For me it was what I describe as an "inhale hug." Its the sensation I felt when the smoke I inhaled hit the bottom of my lungs. To me it was that sensation that satisfied my craving. It really had nothing to do with my mouth or my hands or the blowing of the smoke - but truly that feeling of the smoke hitting my lungs and creating a sense of fullness at the deepest part my inhale.
Next, close your eyes and imagine that your lungs are so filled with smoke that there is enough in there to keep you going without lighting a cigarette (a horrible visual, I know, but try to think of it in a positive way). The intent is not to disgust you, but to give you a sense of assurance that even without cigarettes, you will be able to recreate that "inhale hug" and you will have an unlimited supply of smoke and niccotine on reserve, already inside your lungs. Imagine that all the smoking you have done to-date has built a reserve of smoke and niccotine in your lungs that will satisfy your cravings well into the future. This is half of the trick. You really have to pretend that this reserve will keep you going without cigarettes. (I will tell you more about my own "smoke reserve" in a bit)
Next step is to practice smoking without cigarettes. And I don't mean play smoking with a stalk of celery
I mean closing your eyes and taking a drag of that reserve that is already in your lungs. I will refer to this as the "Inhale Hug Excercise". To do this take a deep deep deep breath - as deep as you can until it hurts. If it doesn't hurt, it's not deep enough. The hurt you will feel at the very deepest part of that inhale should feel VERY similar to that "inhale hug" I described earlier when you take a drag off a real cigarette. When you feel that sensation, try to hold it for a moment - the same way you might hold your smoke for a moment after you have inhaled from a cigarette. Then slowly exhale.
Okay, now you will put these steps together. The next time you crave a cigarette, first close your eyes and bring to mind that reserve of smoke that is in your lungs. Then do the Inhale Hug Excercise - take a single DEEP DEEP DEEP breath - your goal is to simulate the sensation of smoking. Slowly exhale. Repeat several times as if you were smoking an actual cigarette.
It may work better for you if you keep your eyes closed and picture the smoke coming out of your mouth when you exhale. This visualization did a few things for me. It gave me the sensation that I was actually smoking. The visual that there was really a reserve of smoke in my lungs helped fool my mind that I was actually satisfying the craving. It also, in a strange way, tricked my mind into somehow imagining that with each exhale I was ridding my body of all the smoke and poison that I had put in it for all those years.
During the very first week of quitting you will
experience some niccotine withdrawal. Buy some of that gum to get you through that. For me that wasn't really the problem... it was that "inhale hug" feeling that I could not get by without - I really needed
it. During my first week I found myself doing the "Inhale Hug Excercise" several times per hour - about as often as I would normally have a smoke. It is the only thing that really got me through those hardest cravings.
Believe it or not, by the second week the number of times I need to inhale had reduced DRAMATICALLY. After about a month, I would only really needed to do it at key times - for example after a meal in a restaurant, during a cup of coffee, or when I was really angry about something and my bloodpressure went up.
An amazing thing will start to happen as time passes. Suddenly, your need to do the "Inhale Hig Excercise" diminishes. I would say that after 6 months or so I really never thought much about smoking. But this is really really important - you must remember that you still have that reserve of smoke in your lungs to get you through furture cravings. They will creep up on you at the oddest of times and completely out of the blue. Its difficult to know what even triggers the cravings. But even now, 14 years later, I still refer to my reserve of smoke in my lungs that I can inhale if I do get a craving. Another funny thing happens... as years go by that you do not smoke, when you do the Inhale Hug Excercise it will hurt a lot less and you will suddenly notice that you can breathe much deeper. Its very encouraging and helps incent you to stay clear of smoking.
As I mentioned earlier, you MUST want to quit from the bottom of your heart or this will not work. Also, with each day that passes, you must remind yourself that you have one more smoke-free day under your belt and cheating now would only mean you would have to start over from the beginning.
I hope this doesn't seem too crazy to you - you do need to be a little creative and have a good ability for visualization. Also remember that my method of quitting smoking is FREE and if it worked for me it is truly magic. I never thought I would be able to quit.