Smoking is both a physical and psychological addiction, and getting into the right frame of mind has been key to the success of many former smokers. Here they share some of the "mind games" that helped them to overcome this powerful dependence.
"I pretended the cigarettes were actually an old friend who had died."
"Those first five days were hell on earth. It go a little better as time went on, but very little. I started marking the calendar with 'hours,' then 'days,' and now I mark it by months that have gone by... I pretended the cigarettes were actually a person — an old friend if you will; but this old friend had 'died.' I would not be able to see him again, use him when things got tough, take him with me wherever I went, etc."—Sally M.
"I always told myself I could have one in ten minutes if I wanted."
"I gave up smoking thirty years ago. I identified that one of my difficulties was that I always needed to know that I had cigs to smoke, and for example, if I ran out just as I was going to bed I would have to go and buy some. So when I determined to give up I bought a pack, taped a box of matches to it and carried it around with me. I always told myself I could have one in ten minutes if I wanted... Three years later I threw the pack away!"—Richard L.
"I had my last cigarette 27 years ago and I am still putting off lighting the next one."
"I had my last cigarette 27 years ago and I am still putting off lighting the next one. Though this was tough the first couple of weeks, it became easier as time went on. I never had said I quit smoking! ... A mind game? Certainly! It was hard work, but I am so grateful I was able to quit — ah, not light the next cigarette."—Rachel F.
"I decided to learn how to be still." "I decided to learn how to be still. I was ever-conscious of my hand placed on my knee when it would otherwise be holding a cigarette as I drove in my car. I was ever-conscious of each turn where I would normally light-up. How I craved the after-dinner smoke with a cup of coffee (and once in a blue moon still think about)! But I will never forget the moment I believed I truly cleared my lungs of those four additional smoking years. I was in my car singing "Come To My Window," by Melissa Etheridge. And I could finally hold the long note."—Cari S.
"One day I had the realization that if I smoked I would soon want another one...
"One day I had the realization that if I smoked I would soon want another cigarette. If I did not smoke, I would soon want another cigarette. I decided if I was going to want another cigarette anyway, it was better to want the cigarette and not smoke than to want it and smoke another one. I also thought, perhaps I will eventually stop wanting one if I stop but not if I continued."—Bebe M.
"One day I had the realization that if I smoked I would soon want another one..."
"When I quit smoking I put half a pack of cigarettes in the kitchen cabinet as an emergency fix if it got to be too much for me, and when I really wanted a smoke I would tell myself I had some in the kitchen if I really needed them. Funny thing is I never did have to smoke one of them. They stayed there for about two months after I had the habit whipped, when I was sure I wasn't going to need them I threw them in the garbage and I still haven't smoked, and that was 9 years and 11 months ago."—Hardy I.