"I think the first thing I did was to write a list of the reasons why I wanted to quit."
I think the first thing that I did was to write a list of the reasons why I wanted to quit. When you're going through withdrawal is not the time to write the list. My list was short but to the point and blunt:
- Beauty — Smokers turn into "monkey-faces," as they age. Wrinkles and deep creases form around the lips. Skin looks gray and ashy, due to lack of oxygen to tissues in face. Puffy face from retaining toxic chemicals in cigarettes
- Child — My 8 year old son told me that for his birthday all he wanted was for me to quit smoking. I always tried to smoke outside. I spent countless nights on the patio watching my family laughing and playing while I smoked. I wanted to be a positive role model-children learn by example more than any other method.
- Health — I had many bouts of bronchitis and all my colds escalated to my chest. I felt ill and sluggish all the time.
- Freedom — I realized after smoking for 14 years that I was not free to do anything I wanted to do without thinking about the 'monkey on my back.' I would go to the show and three-fourths the way through all I thought about was having a cigarette. Christmas morning it hit me when the kids ran out to rip open there presents and had to wait for me to go out to the patio in the cold and smoke my morning cigarette.
- Money — Cigarettes are so expensive, you could take a wonderful luxury cruise with the money you spend on one year's smoking.
- Smell — It stinks...no matter what you do, i.e., gum, perfume, whatever, you have a rotten mildewy smell.
- Breath — Again, it stinks and when you are close to people and trying to enjoy a conversation, somewhere in the back of your mind you are thinking about your breath and wondering if it stink, which is does after you smoke.
- Cancer — The big "C" word. I fear it anyway and smoking exacerbates the possibilities of lung cancer and many other cancers.
- Oxygen — I don't want my children taking care of me when I develop lung cancer or have to scare my grand children with a hole in my throat.
- Outcast — Smokers are frowned upon and usually they end up set apart from parties or functions. Smoking is so yesterday.
So this was my list and I put it in an empty cigarette box. Then I compiled a list of substitutes when the cravings hit.
- Gum — I chewed grape bubble gum, lemon drops, sour balls, cinnamon toothpicks, etc., for the oral gratification.
- Coffee — Drinking coffee and substituting a latte at Starbucks helped me to not feel like I was giving up everything I enjoyed. And I used it as a reward.
- Deep breaths — I used some yoga deep breathing and stretches to help my body focus on the positive aspects of quitting smoking. I took a yoga class as a treat for not smoking.
- Apply the AA philosophy of 'One day at a time' — Don't think of it as never smoking again, just tell yourself, 'today I will be cigarette free.'
- RUN Baby Run — to get the same type of adrenaline rush that nicotine gives you. Go for a brisk walk swinging your arms and singing at the top of your lungs. Who cares if people think your crazy. You're a nonsmoker.
- Read over and over the list of why you wanted to quit smoking.
- Reward — Buy a new pair of shoes with the money you have saved. Keep track of each and every penny you would have spent on cigarettes and for the first 30 days spend all of it on yourself. A massage, a facial, and a fancy haircut.
- Go to park and watch children playing. Now imagine all those kids smoking and trying to play. Not a good visual. Honor the little kid in you and hit the toy store. Get a nurturing toy. A teddy bear. Barbie, whatever to make you feel like you're honoring your child spirit.
- Hit the computer and print out congratulations awards to yourself for each day you are smoke free.
- Hug yourself, tight, each time you need a cigarette. Dance around the room and yell, 'I am in control of my body and I choose to be smoke-free.'"