It Doesn't Have to be a Life Long Struggle
Many of know people that have quit smoking. Some of these people may have been quit for many many years. And we hear these stories from them that sometimes they still get craves for a cigarette.
To the new quitter, that can seem pretty daunting and as I saw mentioned here, it can seem that quitting smoking is a life long struggle.
Take my word for it. It is not. Yes, when we first quit, we go through withdrawal. Then those turn to craves, which turn to thoughts, which eventually become memories.
A lot of the people that we know who have quit are what is termed "Real world quitters". Meaning that they decided one day to quit smoking and did just that. I really admire these people, because I just couldn't seem to do that.
There is one disadvantage though to quitting this way. Though they were able to break their addiction and time away from the cigarette proved to them that life without smoking is better than smoking. They have a lot of left over memories of smoking that were built from an artificial sense of normalcy.
So there can be times when AAhhhhhh memories are calling their name and they miss it. Or they are under stress and feelings of craving a cigarette surface.
I believe by educating yourselves and ripping away the undue credit that so many smokers have given cigarettes. It really helps to truly see cigarettes for what they are and erases the desire of ever smoking again.
Let me give an example of why a long term quitter might still have craves for a cigarette.
When we were smokers and were under stress. It caused a physiological reaction that pulled nicotine out of our bloodstream faster, causing the first stages of withdrawal. What happened, was we would smoke a cigarette and "feel better". After many years of doing this our subconscious has been conditioned to associate anxiety with the need to smoke a cigarette and the subconscious doesn't differenciate what kind of anxiety, be it anger, sadness, scared, and even the anxiety of craves are pretty much all lumped into one category since they pretty much all cause the same physiological reaction to nicotine.
So even when we quit smoking. We have a lot of left over memories of smoking. Let's say a real world smoker who has been quit for five years all of a sudden comes under a lot of stress.
Even though they quit smoking. They did so without the basic understanding of nicotine mechanics. They still have left over beliefs that on some level that smoking relieves stress.
This can cause the crave for a cigarette, because somewhere in the back of their mind they have the memory of "if you smoke a cigarette, it will ease your anxiety." Not to mention that stress itself feels a lot like those physical craves that we used to have, because they are almost physiologically the same. Adrenaline is being pumped into the bloodstream causing a heightened fight or flight feeling, just as craves did when we smoked.
This is why stress seems to be high on the list of why people relapse. They believe those false left over memories and they act on them and smoke a cigarette. Thus creating the problem of reintroducing nicotine back into the bloodstream.
Now I'm not going to tell you that you'll break the stress/cigarette association trigger right away by knowing this, but you will break it and by knowing why you might feel this way will help you change how you deal with the stress.
The positive of not smoking is you will feel calmer. There may be a temporary adjustment period, but afterwards you will feel a calmness that you haven't felt since before you started smoking.
Another reason people have craves after being quit for so long. Is that they think about that "one" good cigarette. They forget all that bad ones they smoked and start fixating on "just one". Again without knowing how smoking brainwashed us, we may still have left over memories that we are fond of.
Don't believe these memories. They are based off lies. The cigarette never changes. It is only our memory of them that does.
I quit smoking a little over three years ago and I can tell you honestly that I do not have craves for cigarettes. I don't have thoughts of smoking and it has been that way for a very very long time.
BUT even if I did. Think of it this way. An occasional thought of smoking is infinately better than the constant need to.
Last edited by UCanQuit; 10-25-2007 at 06:39 AM.
Reason: fix title