Concept#4: TheMyth of Smoking Enjoyment

Assoon as you finish smoking a cigarette, the clock starts ticking.Your body is quickly going into nicotine withdrawal, usually withinabout half an hour. The only way to avoid the withdrawal is to lightanother cigarette….

Forstarters, you need to correct the idea that you actually enjoysmoking. Many people will stop here and say "but wait! Iactually do enjoy smoking!" This is half true at best. Contraryto popular belief, there actually are some benefits to smoking. Thereis a social element, for example, amongst smokers–that can beviewed as a benefit to smoking. Some people genuinely like the tasteof the smoke in there mouths–again, this could be viewed as a"benefit" of smoking, and thus give some enjoyment.

Butwhen people say that they enjoy smoking, they are referring to thephysical reaction that their body gets from the nicotine. They arereferring to that quick rush to the head followed by a wash downthrough their body as they take that first big drag in the morning.This is what people are referring to when they say that they "enjoysmoking."

Ofcourse, this is not really true–smokers have fooled themselves intothinking that relief from withdrawal symptoms is enjoyable. It's not.Anyone who is addicted to cigarettes is only avoiding the onset ofwithdrawal with each new cigarette that they light. The only real"rush of pleasure" that they might get from smoking totalsless than five minutes each week, usually just the first hit on thefirst cigarette of the day. All of the smoking that follows that isjust to maintain a comfortable level of nicotine. Keep in mind that apack-a-day smoker spends over a month out of each year puffing oncigarettes. They aren't enjoying all of this smoking–they areforced to do it to avoid feeling miserable. There is a distinctdifference there, and when you engage in mental self-talk about yoursmoking, you need to be aware of it. Recognize that your repeat"feedings" on nicotine throughout the day are not for your"enjoyment," but rather to simply avoid an unpleasantwithdrawal. Admit it: there have been times when you've smoked toomuch, too quickly, and you look down at the cigarette in your handand think "why am I doing this? This is disgusting!" Don'tallow yourself to believe the lie that smoking is enjoyable. Instead,see the addiction for what it really is: a series of zombie-likenicotine feedings throughout the day just to make you feel "normal."

Anothereye-opener: Boredom

Increaseyour awareness of what happens when you get bored. Most smokersusually smoke a cigarette every hour or so. Notice how your level ofsmoking increases if you become bored or suddenly have too much idletime. Your body is not craving the next nicotine fix just yet, butbecause you are bored, your mind is anticipating the withdrawalsymptoms. When you get bored, notice how your mind gently reminds youthat "yep, you're going to have to smoke again in a little whilehere in order to feel normal….might just as well do it now."Be honest with yourself about what you are truly doing: not enjoyingeven more cigarettes because you have extra time, instead you aresimply keeping your body well fed with nicotine so that you don't gointo withdrawal at all.

Anticipatingsmoke-free zones

Hereis another big clue about the physical nature of your nicotineaddiction: anticipating the withdrawal when you know you are goinginto a smoke-free situation. Let's say that you are going into asmoke free restaurant for a fairly long evening dinner. First, takenote of the fact that you resent the situation itself, because youknow it prevents you from smoking and you already know that your bodyis going to be uncomfortable and craving nicotine later on. Take noteof this resentment and realize that this feeling of resentment is oneof the things that you will be free of when you quit smoking. Second,take note of the way that you attemptto "top off" your nicotine level right before entering therestaurant. This type of behavior comes as second nature to a smoker,this attempt to avoid the inevitable withdrawal for as long aspossible. Increase your awareness of these types of behaviors and seethem for what they really are: the smoker trying to jump through allsorts of hoops in order to simply feel normal by avoiding nicotinewithdrawal.

Concept# 5: CompleteAbstinence from ALL Nicotine is Critical

Thisis an absolutely critical concept for you to understand. Once youhave officially quit, and ground out that last cigarette butt, youmust not put any nicotine into your body at all. Ever. Period.Perhaps you will be on day three of your quit, and the withdrawalsymptoms will be unbearable for you, and your mind will start tellingyou to just take a couple of puffs. Just for some quick relief. Thenyou can go back to quitting. This is insanity. A single puffon a cigarette at that point will completely reset your body to whereyou started at three days ago. A single puff is a full blown relapseduring this critical time frame. A single puff from a cigarette willbring you right back to square one, leaving your body craving morenicotine just as badly as the moment you ground out that finalcigarette. You must never ingest any more nicotine!

Whatabout the Nicotine Patches, Gum, and Lozenges?

Veryfew people have actually had long term success with these products.The studies that show how they help smokers to quit are absolutelyrigged in favor of the pharmaceutical companies that make money fromthese products. Most people can stay off of cigarettes while using anicotine replacement product, but the agony of withdrawal is justas bad when you finally peel off that final nicotine patch.Everyone quits cold turkey eventually, because eventually you have tostop putting Nicotine into your body. The withdrawal from the patchesor the gum is just as severe, and that is why people relapse in thelong run when using Nicotine Replacement Therapies. I do notrecommend them. These products put nicotine into your body and keepyou addicted. All they do is prolong the agony of withdrawal. Do notuse them.

Whatabout sidestream smoke? Will that cause me to relapse?

No,it will not. Sidestream smoke does not contain Nicotine, as theNicotine chemical is only activated in the split second after thefire from the cigarette ignites it. So a smoke filled room, althoughit is bad for you and might make you cough, does not containNicotine, and will not cause you to physically relapse by breathingit in. A single puff from a cigarette, however, will start you allover again at square one.

Concept# 6:
Use aZero-Tolerance Relapse Policy

Youhave probably used a zero-tolerance policy with yourself in the pastwithout naming it as such. For example, perhaps you have been a at abuffet and just finished a large dinner. You might decide that youare absolutely stuffed, and that you are not going to have anydessert under any circumstances. Then the waiter comes back and asksif you would like any dessert, and also mentions what enticingdessert specials they have that day. Even though the desserts soundgood to you, you politely decline, because you had already made thedecision. You made a deal with yourself, out of concern for your ownhealth and well-being, that you would not indulge yourself anyfurther. And then you stood by that decision when you were tested.

Quittingsmoking is no different. The only thing to keep in mind is that yourzero-tolerance mindset has to be about a thousand times stronger thanit is over the desserts at the restaurant. The key words that youwant to focus on are this: No matter what. You are not going to smokeno matter what. Use it as a mantra. Repeat it in your mind. Andassociate it with all the rewards of quitting smoking: the savedmoney, the extra 15 years of lifespan, and so on. Focusing on thepositive benefits really is the best technique with thezero-tolerance policy and making it work for you. You must associateit with the benefits of quitting. You're not going to punish yourselfif you fail; that doesn't make any sense. When you get that urge tosmoke, invoke your zero-tolerance policy with yourself, and remindyourself of why you are quitting. No excuses!

Formulatinga Quitting Strategy

PlanningStrategy #1 -Your Quit Date

Becausea large part of your strategy is going to be to sleep through yourwithdrawals, it makes sense to plan your quit date to occur when youhave at least a couple of completely free days. No work, no school,and no family engagements. Most people will have to take time offwork in order to make this happen (I had to). Students will have totime this so that they are not in school at the time, such as whenthey are in between semesters on a break (I did that as well). Sincemost of us have busy lives, you might have to plan a month or two inadvance in order to free up this time. That's perfectly alright, asthe alternative is to keep on smoking forever until you die! Ideally,you want to free up about 5 to 7 days at some point in the future.Some people might only be able to do about 3 or 4 days, and that'sfine too. Whatever works for your schedule. The idea is to eliminatestressful situations, as well as to block out enough time so that youcan sleep through the initial withdrawal symptoms.

PlanningStrategy #2 -Rewarding Yourself (This is NOT OPTIONAL)

Thisis another idea that I used when I successfully quit smoking and itreally helped me a lot. It does absolutely no good to punish yourselffor failure. What does help for quitting smoking, however, is toreward yourself with positive things. This is going to take somebrainstorming on your part. What would you do if you had a milliondollars? What would you buy? Where would you go for vacation? Whatwould you eat? Steak, lobster, shrimp? The idea is to find some waysto reward yourself during your first week of quitting. Getextravagant. Remember how much money you are saving by quittingsmoking. You can afford to splurge on yourself. For some people, thismight mean traveling, or a vacation of some sort. Other people mightbe content to treat themselves to a luxury spa visit--every singleday for the first week of quitting. Don't say you can'tafford this stuff. Don't think that for a second. You arespending thousands each year on cigarettes and possibly more onlost time and lost productivity. You can afford any of theseextravagances through careful planning.

Donot brush this off. The reward strategy is absolutely critical to getyou through the first week or two of quitting. Keep in mind the powerof distraction and consider things like family vacations, campingadventures, and so on. Get creative. And go BIG. You are celebratinga whole new life of freedom from nicotine.

PlanningStrategy #3 -Oral Replacement and Fidgeting

Onebig challenge you will have when you first quit: Finding something todo with both your mouth and your hands now that you are not smoking.

Forthe oral part, I recommend two things: toothpicks to chew on, andsugar free candy and gum. If you can, go to a health food store andbuy "Tea Tree Flavored Chewing Sticks" instead of regulartoothpicks. They come in cinnamon and peppermint, and they are softerthan regular toothpicks. Find sugar free gum and candy that youreally like. In addition, find a pen that you like that has a"clicker" on the end of it (the button that retracts theball point part). Carry the pen around and click the button when youget urges to smoke. Shop around and find suitable toothpicks, gum,candy, and pens that you like. Then go buy this stuff in bulk.No excuses. Be prepared with tons of supplies–in your coat pockets,in your home, at work, and in your car.

Torecap: You are going to figure out your own personal time line forquitting. To do this, pick aquit dateinthe future, preferably within thenext couple months, thatwill allow you to:

  1. Take time off from work. If applicable, time off of school as well. You have to free up at least 3 to 5 days so that you can get through the initial withdrawal. A full week is preferable.

  1. Have EXTRA money saved up and set aside to reward yourself with. Justify these rewards by remembering how much you are saving in the long run by quitting.

Irealize that many people will need a month or two in order to get thetime off from work, and also to save up some extra reward money forthemselves. That's fine, and it worked for me. I actually plannedabout a month and a half in advance for my quit.

Onelast tip: quickly review the 6 concepts in this book each day duringyour first week of quitting. It will only take a moment or two torefresh the concepts in your mind, thus keeping you fully preparedfor your quitting journey each day.

Whenwill I achieve Freedom from Nicotine and start feeling better?

Twoweeks is really the magic number. As far as cravings go, by the endof week two, you are pretty much out of the woods. Just two weeks,and you will be in a position where you are no longer cravingcigarettes. When your withdrawal peaks on day 3, you will probablythink about wanting to smoke about once every ten seconds. I rememberreading a bunch of tips on how to get through a cigarette cravingduring these times. How ridiculous. All of day 3 will be one bigmassive craving. (That is why I honestly recommend sleeping throughit). However, at the end of the first week, you can expect to go forfive or ten minutes without having the thought of a cigarette. And bythe end of two weeks, you will go entire hours without thinking ofsmoking, and the occasional urge will be nothing more than a merenuisance. After two months, you will go for a whole day withoutthinking about a cigarette. A whole day!

Considerthat for a moment. You can be nicotine free, enjoying all thebenefits of not smoking, all the money saved, all the rewards of alife lived in a healthier manner. You will think of cigarettes lessand less as time goes on, and eventually you will have entire days,weeks, months—where you don't even think about smoking. Not once!You will be free from nicotine. Nobody really needs a reason to quitsmoking anymore—not smoking is its own reward. Itmeans tens of thousands of dollars saved,an extra fifteen totwenty years of lifespan, and freedom from the constant nicotinefeedings that now dominate your existence. Make a decision, rightnow, for a new and better life.

Iwould wish you luck, but I am absolutely convinced that you do notneed it. You have the ultimate strategy, and are well on your way tobecoming a non-smoker. Congratulations!