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Mind Games to Help You Overcome the Psychological Addiction to Smoking

        Health | Smoking Cessation

Mind Games to Help You Overcome the Psychological Addiction to Smoking (<i>cont'd</i>)

"I opened a pack of smokes and put them on my sun visor in my car ... If I had to smoke I could only smoke from the opened stale package."

"About two weeks before I stopped I opened a pack of smokes and put them on my sun visor in my car and left them there to get stale. As every smoker knows, there is nothing worse then a stale cigarette. So, when I did stop I told myself if I had to smoke I could only smoke from the opened stale package — (trust me, they are bad!) and I could only smoke in my car."—Lori M.

"I learned that you had to eat to live, not live to eat and you didn't have to smoke to live or live to smoke."

"About that same time [that I quit,] I was going to regular Al-Anon and open AA meetings... I learned that you had to eat to live, not live to eat and you didn't have to smoke to live or live to smoke. That made me realize that the control is in the thinking mode, and that if you can change your thinking about why you smoke, it might help me to stay quit. The next thing I heard was that no matter how successful you are in quitting smoking, that one day, and it might be years even, the thought will come into your head that it was okay to have a cigarette or that you needed to have a cigarette. I heard that I did not have to take action on that thought. I heard that I could have the thought and it would probably be a very strong one and it might last a long time, but I did not have to take any action on that thought."—N.B.

"Saying to myself, 'I am a nonsmoker." "I prepared three months ahead reprogramming my identity. Saying to myself "I am a nonsmoker," preparing mentally was very important to my success. 'One day at a time' frame of mind was important. Having supportive people (family and friends) was very important. Knowing that the urge to smoke would go away and staying busy with work and family. Calling it an addiction instead of bad habit, just smoking, etc."—Hattie S.

"I set up little rules. I could only smoke on the hour, and if it got to be five minutes after..."

"I set up little rules. I could only smoke on the hour and if it got to be five minutes after, then I'd missed it. Sounds silly, but it breaks those habits like lighting up after dinner or on the phone. I figured, too, that even if I didn't quit then I had cut back. But it led to my quitting within two months."—Lory R.

"I exhaled into a clean white tissue and watched the tissue turn brown."

"I focused on what a disgusting habit smoking is. I conjured up ugly images in my mind about smoking. Remember those old ads that read "Kissing a smoker is like licking a dirty ashtray"? Well, it worked. I also inhaled smoke from a cigarette and exhaled it into a clean white tissue and watched the tissue turn brown to envision what was happening to my lungs. These strategies helped me to stick to my goal in moments of weakness."—Judith D.

"The 'poor me' part of it is disarmed because it's not that you can't smoke. No one is denying you anything. You simply don't want to."

On Dec. 31, 1994, at 9:15 PM, I smoked my last cigarette. I simply refused to smoke again. In order to disarm myself, I put the remaining cigarettes in the kitchen drawer and told myself I know they're there, and can have one any time I want to, but I'll be damned if I will. My husband quit at the same time, and he put his remaining cigarettes where he knew he could find them, but be damned if he would smoke one. There's something to be said knowing you can, but much more to be said for knowing you won't. The "poor me" part of it is disarmed because it's not that you can't smoke. No one is denying you anything. You simply don't want to."—Judy


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