As January rolls on, a significant proportion of the population will make belated resolutions to finally quit smoking. The party season is over, and there’s no longer an excuse to drink a week’s allowance of alcohol in one day, while merrily puffing your way through a 20-pack. A cheeky drag outside a party doesn’t exactly fit in with the yoga and nutribullet smoothies lifestyle you’ve sworn to follow this January either.
Tobacco cessation is not a one-time treatment. It’s not like taking an antibiotic for an infection – tobacco addiction is a chronic, lifelong condition that requires lifelong maintenance. Staying quit is the final, most important stage of a process that is characterized by relapse. If you are fighting to stay tobacco free, being prepared for the situations and urges that lead to relapse is critical, as is being committed to taking aggressive action to stay quit.
When symptoms such as depression, insomnia and irritability hit, find positive ways to work through the symptoms. Download the “I Quit Using Tobacco, and Now I’m Feeling…” tear sheet
Most “slips” occur within the first week of quitting smoking. If you slip – that is, if you have a puff, or one or two cigarettes after you’ve quit – it does not mean that you will start smoking again and incur a full-blown relapse. Many people do relapse after a slip, so it is important to remember not to “allow” yourself a slip because you think you can stop after one cigarette.
The Hazards of “Just One”
Very often a single slip triggers negative feelings, self-criticism, and depression. This may lead to a sense that you have no control and, possibly, to more slips. Several slips in a row, or facing conditions where you are seriously tempted to start smoking again, may increase the chance that you will relapse.
When you are faced with a strong temptation to smoke:
- Recognize the many health benefits you enjoy since you quit smoking.
- Avoid thinking that one cigarette won’t hurt you. Most likely, one cigarette will not be enough and usually it just “primes the pump” and makes you want more.
- Remember how hard it was to quit, and realize that you don’t want to face that struggle again.
I Slipped. What Now?
- Recognize the slip for what it is – a brief return to an old behavior, an action that should be seen as a warning sign that you have begun the slide toward a relapse to smoking. With a renewed effort you can stop the slide and stay on track.
- Slips are not signs of failure. Make sure that you don’t give up completely on your efforts to quit.
- Talk with one of your support people, such as a family member, another person who has quit, or your doctor.
- Make cigarettes hard to get. Don’t buy a pack. Don’t go places where it is easy to get one from someone else.
- Don’t let yourself have another cigarette for at least 2 hours. Then decide if you really need it.
- Review your smoking journal or your list of reasons to quit, then decide to take control again. Remember past situations in which you showed strength and see yourself as a strong, capable person who has already come far.
Strong desires to smoke can happen sometimes months or even years after you’ve quit. Often, these unexpected urges can be the most dangerous. But relapse never occurs in a vacuum – there is always a triggering event or circumstance that creates craving, poor judgment, and ultimately tobacco use.
Common Relapse Triggers
- Being around tobacco users
- Drinking alcohol
- Feeling hurried, overwhelmed or stressed
- Being overconfident
- Being isolated from supportive friends and loved ones
- Having feelings of anger, self-pity or entitlement
- Not complying with treatment recommendations
- Feeling tired, poor sleep quality
- Not taking time for yourself
- Negative, pessimistic attitude
You can use the same methods to stay quit as you did to help you through withdrawal. Think ahead to those times when you may be tempted to smoke and plan on how you will use alternatives and activities to cope with these situations. For instance, remember why you quit (was it for your health? your children?) and use your withdrawal methods to “redirect” your urge to smoke.
Find coping skills like managing cravings, redirection, creating positive actions, and get information about common triggers and solutions at ourProviders page.
People who smoke menthol cigarettes are no more likely and may actually be less likely to develop lung cancer than people who smoke non-menthol cigarettes, a study suggests.
The study, published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, comes out nearly a week after an FDA advisory panel stated that removing menthol cigarettes from the market may improve public health because menthol cigarettes may be more difficult to quit than non-menthol cigarettes and may be more enticing to young smokers because of their minty taste.
Menthol cigarettes are also more popular with African-American smokers, who have a higher incidence of lung cancer.
Slideshow: 13 Best Quit-Smoking Tips Ever
Menthol Cigarettes and Lung Cancer
But “the new study information almost closes the door on the lung cancer issue,” says study researcher William J. Blot, PhD, of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. “The main message is that cigarettes are harmful, regardless of whether they are menthol or non-menthol, and the best action is to quit smoking.”
“I don’t think there is enough scientific evidence to justify a ban of menthol cigarettes in comparison with non-menthol cigarettes,” Blot says.
In the study, researchers identified 440 people with lung cancer among 85,806 study participants from 12 Southern states. They compared the smoking status and cigarette preferences of lung cancer patients with those of 2,213 people without lung cancer.
They found that smoking menthol cigarettes was actually associated with a significantly lower rate of lung cancer and lung cancer deaths than smoking non-menthol cigarettes.
Among pack-a-day smokers, menthol smokers were 12 times more likely to develop lung cancer compared to never smokers; those who smoked non-menthol cigarettes were 21 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who never smoked.
What’s more, smokers who chose menthol cigarettes also smoked fewer cigarettes per day than those who smoked non-menthol cigarettes, and the quitting rate was similar between both menthol and non-menthol smokers. Previous studies have suggested that it may be harder to quit if you smoke menthol cigarettes.
Now Blot and colleagues plan to look at biochemical markers of tobacco smoke to see if there are any important differences between African-American and white smokers and menthol and non-menthol smokers. “Menthol is off the table, but the reason why African-American men have higher rates of lung cancer is still not clear,” he says.
All Cigarettes Pose Health Risks
All cigarettes are created equal when it comes to health risks, says Len Horovitz, MD, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Menthol cigarettes are as dangerous as non-menthol cigarettes and cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other diseases.”
Regardless of whether you smoke menthol or non-menthol, “set a date after which you will be an ex-smoker,” he says. There are many smoking-cessation tools available today, including nicotine-replacement systems such as patches and gum.
Amy V. Lukowski, PsyD, clinical director of the Health Initiatives Programs at National Jewish Health in Denver, says that the study should not be interpreted to mean that menthol cigarettes are any safer than non-menthol cigarettes.
“Lung cancer is only part of the picture and smoking is known to cause heart disease, stroke, COPD, and so many other diseases,” she says. “Tobacco kills and we really need to focus our efforts on cessation for smokers and stopping people from starting in the first place.”
Debate Over a Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
Lukowski is in favor of a ban on menthol cigarettes. “Almost half of young people use menthol cigarettes due to their minty taste so this is an important product to not have on the market,” she says.
The new findings dovetail nicely with the FDA panel’s recent recommendation, says David Abrams, PhD, the executive director of the Steven A. Schroeder National Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy, a public health group that aims to stamp out tobacco smoking.
The FDA panel stated that it was not clear that menthol cigarettes caused any additional risks at the individual level to the individual smoker, he says.
Although the new study did not show that there was any difference in quitting success rates among menthol vs. non-menthol smokers, “other research suggests very strongly that menthol smokers want to quit more and have more difficulty with quitting and succeeding,” he says.
“More kids start with menthol cigarettes, and adults have more trouble quitting when they smoke menthol,” Abrams. “This evidence is consistent and strong enough to warrant a ban on menthol.”
Stopping smoking is not easy. Below are some tips which may help you to quit smoking. At the end of the leaflet there are details of further resources that may help
Write a list of the reasons why you want to stop, and keep them with you. Refer to them when tempted to light up.
Set a date for stopping and stop completely. (Some people prefer the idea of cutting down gradually. However, research has shown that if you smoke fewer cigarettes than usual, you are likely to smoke more of each cigarette and nicotine levels remain nearly the same. Therefore, it is usually best to stop once and for all from a set date.)
Tell everyone that you are giving up smoking. Friends and family often give support and may help you. Smoking by others in the household makes giving up harder. If appropriate, try to get other household members who smoke, or friends who smoke, to stop smoking at the same time. A team effort may be easier than going it alone.
Get rid of ashtrays, lighters, and all cigarettes.
Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms. When you stop smoking, you are likely to get symptoms which may include feeling sick (nausea), headaches, anxiety, irritability, craving, and just feeling awful. These symptoms are caused by the lack of nicotine that your body has been used to. They tend to peak after 12-24 hours and then gradually ease over 2-4 weeks.
Anticipate a cough. It is normal for a smoker’s cough to become worse when you stop smoking (as the airways ‘come back to life’). Many people say that this makes them feel worse for a while after stopping smoking and makes them tempted to restart smoking. Resist this temptation! The cough usually gradually eases.
Be aware of situations in which you are most likely to want to smoke. In particular, drinking alcohol is often associated with failing in an attempt to stop smoking. You should consider not drinking much alcohol in the first few weeks after stopping smoking. Try changing your routine for the first few weeks. For example, despite the UK ban on indoor smoking in pubs, outside the pub might still be a tempting place to drink alcohol and smoke. Also, if drinking tea and coffee are difficult times, try drinking mainly fruit juice and plenty of water instead.
Take one day at a time. Mark off each successful day on a calendar. Look at it when you feel tempted to smoke, and tell yourself that you don’t want to start all over again.
Be positive. You can tell people that you don’t smoke. You will smell better. After a few weeks you should feel better, taste your food more and cough less. You will have more money. Perhaps put away the money, which you would have spent on cigarettes, for treats.
Food. Some people worry about gaining weight when they give up smoking, as the appetite may improve. Anticipate an increase in appetite and try not to increase fatty or sugary foods as snacks. Try fruit and sugar-free gum instead.
1. Set your date and time to stop and carry on smoking as usual right up to that time – don’t try to cut down beforehand, that just makes cigarettes seem more precious rather than less so.
2. Remember – you’re not giving up anything because cigarettes do absolutely nothing for you at all. They provide you with no genuine pleasure or crutch, they simply keep you addicted – a slave to nicotine. Get it clearly into your mind: you are losing nothing and you are making marvellous positive gains not only in health, energy and money but also in confidence, self-respect, freedom and, most important of all, in the length and quality of your future life. You’re going to enjoy being a non-smoker right from the moment you put out your last cigarette.
3. Light your final cigarette and make a solemn vow that regardless of what highs or lows may befall you in future, you will never puff on another cigarette or take nicotine in any form again. This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make because the length and quality of your future life critically depend on it. What’s more, you know it’s the correct decision even as you make it. Having made what you know to be the correct decision never even begin to question or to doubt that decision.
4. Your body will continue to withdraw from nicotine for a few days but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. The physical withdrawal is very slight – there is no pain – and it passes quickly. What’s more, it’s what smokers suffer all their smoking lives. Non-smokers do not suffer it. You are a non-smoker and so you’ll soon be free of it forever.
If you associate a cigarette with a coffee, tea, drink or break, have your coffee, tea, drink or break and at that moment, instead of thinking: “I can’t have a cigarette now”, simply think: “Isn’t it great: I can enjoy this moment without having to choke myself to death”.
5. Do not try to avoid smoking situations or opt out of life. Go out and enjoy social occasions right from the start and do not envy smokers, pity them. Realise that they will be envying you because every single one of them will be wishing they could be like you: free from the whole filthy nightmare. No smoker wants to see their children start smoking which means they wish they hadn’t started themselves. Remember it’s not you who are being deprived but those poor smokers. They’re being deprived of their health, energy, money, peace of mind, confidence, courage, self-respect and freedom. If you’re offered a cigarette, just say: “No thanks – I don’t smoke”, rather than start a long conversation about how long it has been since you stopped.
6. Don’t try not to think about smoking – it doesn’t work. If I say: “Don’t think about a brick wall, what are you thinking about? Just make sure that whenever you are thinking about it, you’re not thinking: “I want a cigarette but I can’t have one” but instead: “Isn’t is marvellous: I don’t need to smoke anymore and I don’t want to smoke anymore. Yippee, I’m a non-smoker!” Then you can think about it all you like and you’ll still be happy.
7. Never be fooled into thinking you can have the odd cigarette just to be sociable or just to get over a difficult moment. If you do, you’ll find yourself back in the trap in no time at all. Never think in terms of one cigarette, always think of the whole filthy lifetime’s chain. Remember: there is no such thing as just one cigarette.
8. Do not use any substitutes. They all make it more difficult to stop because they perpetuate the illusion that you’re making a sacrifice. Substitutes that contain nicotine, i.e. so-called Nicotine Replacement Therapy – patches, gums, nasal sprays and inhalators – are particularly unhelpful as they simply keep the addiction to nicotine alive. It’s like advising a heroin addict who’s smoking the drug off foil, to start injecting it instead.
But quitting smoking is one of the most easily broken resolutions – it only takes a stressful day at work (or the thought of going back to work at all) to feel the need for a nicotine fix. So if you really want to pack in the smokes, what’s the best way to go about it? Here is everything you need to know about the numbers, no-nos and reality of breathing clean this year.
In Great Britain 22% of adult men and 17% of adult women are smokers
The highest number of smokers is in the 25-34 age group (25%); the lowest is among those aged 60 and over (11%).
The scary stats are that half of all smokers are eventually killed by their addiction from smoking-related causes. Not to mention that smoking is the cause of over one third of respiratory deaths, over one quarter of cancer deaths, and about one-seventh of cardiovascular disease deaths.
Plus, having a drink with a cigarette increases your chance of getting mouth cancer by 38 times. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
People enjoy smoking because of two things: the physical addiction and the psychological habit. While smokers get hooked on the temporary high caused by nicotine in the bloodstream, the habit also becomes part of a daily ritual – a crutch to return to when stressed or in social situations – and an automatic response when taking a break from work.
The best ways to quit
Going cold turkey may suit some, but the shock of withdrawal for others makes them more likely to reach for a cigarette sooner. The best thing to do is make a plan that addresses the short-term challenges of quitting smoking as well as preventing relapse later on.
Nicotine free cigarettes are not safer than traditional cigarettes. Any kind of cigarette you can smoke, whether it’s made from tobacco or other herbs, still contains tar and carbon monoxide. These chemical components in smoking that lead to lung problems and cancers including lung, esophageal and mouth cancers. Some herbal cigarettes, like imported bidis flavored like cherry or vanilla, must be puffed more often so that they will stay lit, which ultimately brings more smoke into the lungs where damage can occur.
Like tobacco based cigarettes, herbal cigarettes also increase the risk of heart disease due to the tar they contain. The carbon monoxide you inhale from smoking any cigarette can also cause brain damage, asphyxiation and breathing problems.
In addition, some people can have allergies to the herbs used in herbal cigarettes. These allergic reactions can be severe and may occur either immediately or after repeated use.
Nicotine free cigarettes look just like regular cigarettes, and with the exception of the cylinder inhaler type, most nicotine free cigarettes are just as dangerous as tobacco. Because nicotine free cigarettes are unfiltered, they can be even more dangerous than traditional cigarettes.
Tip 1 copung with craving
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT can help you by reducing your nicotine cravings to increase your chances of quitting. It’s less harmful to your lungs than smoking. NRT is available on prescription or over-the-counter at pharmacies as nicotine gum, patches, tablets, lozenges or inhalers.
- Medication. There are non-nicotine prescription medicines that your doctor may consider to help reduce your urge to smoke. However, as they’re not suitable for everyone, you will need to talk to your doctor to find out more and to discuss whether these medicines are suitable for you.
- Use the 4 ‘D’s technique.
- Delay acting on the urge to smoke — the urge will pass in a few minutes
- Deep breathing — take a long slow breath in and out. Do this three times
- Drink water — slowly sip a drink of water
- Do something else — block your thoughts about smoking by doing something else — chew some gum or use a relaxation technique, for example — to take your mind off the urge to smoke.
- Use positive ‘self-talk’. Tell yourself ‘I can do this’ and remind yourself how much healthier you’ll feel in a few weeks time’.
- Remind yourself why you want to quit. Think of the benefits of quitting such as how much money you’re saving — this can add up to more than $3,000 a year if you previously had a 20-cigarettes-a-day habit.
- Phone a friend. Call a friend to distract you from the urge to smoke, or you can also call the Quitline on 13 QUIT for support.
Tip 2 — Anticipate and make a plan to cope with stress
It’s normal to feel stressed and irritable at first. Being prepared with strategies to handle this will help you stay smoke-free — especially if you’re under extra pressure or having a bad day. Decide what works best for you — a relaxation technique, getting some fresh air or doing something calming like listening to music.
Tip 3 — Avoid situations that tempt you to light up
Until it gets easier to control your urges to smoke, it can be best to avoid places — or people — that make it harder for you to resist cigarettes. These may include:
- Drinking alcohol — having a cigarette with a drink is a common ‘trigger’. Alcohol can also affect your judgment, making it easier to give in to cravings.
- Social events where people drink and smoke
- Being around friends who smoke.
If you decide to go to social events where others will smoke or drink, take a friend along to help support you not to smoke. Be prepared to leave early if you’re craving a cigarette.
Tip 4 — Find something to do with your hands
It can help to keep your hands busy — text a friend, knit or use a stress ball.
Tip 5 — Focus on the positive changes in your body in the first days and weeks of quitting
- After 8 hours — blood oxygen levels return to normal, and your chances of heart attack begin to fall
- After 24 hours — carbon monoxide leaves the body. This is good news as carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that contributes to hardened arteries and increases heart disease risk. Your lungs also start getting rid of mucus and debris — this might cause you to cough more, but it’s a sign that your lungs are recovering
- After 48 hours — your body is nicotine-free! Your senses of taste and smell should be improving
- After 72 hours — your breathing gets easier and your energy levels increase
- After two to 12 weeks — circulation improves throughout your body and walking and exercise should get easier.
Congratulations on quitting smoking. You must already be feeling the benefits of being smoke free. Even if it’s only been a few days, I am sure you are breathing easier, feeling more energetic and generally seeing the world in a new way. Unless you were a very light smoker, I bet you also have more time on your hands. Now that you really see just how time consuming smoking is, you can use that extra time for all kinds of wonderful things. If you play your cards right you won’t be bored and you won’t have time to miss your old friend, cigarettes. The best is yet to come.From here on in, every day that you manage to remain completely smoke free is a day that increases your chance of success at becoming a permanent ex-smoker.
Depending on whether or not you are using pharmaceuticals like Chantix or Zyban to ease withdrawal, or nicotine replacement therapy in the form of gum, patches, lozenges or nasal spray, to help you through the initial stages of smoking cessation, you may also be experiencing intense physical cravings. In the early days and weeks of cessation you almost certainly will find yourself faced with some serious psychological triggers that can lead you back to smoking, where you definitely do NOT want to go.
Even one puff at this stage can blow your entire quitting effort out of the water. Along with the tips I am going to give you in this hub, I want you to remember one key thing. The desire to smoke will almost always pass within ten minutes.Before you take a puff, just wait….. tell yourself that if you still want it in ten minutes you can have it. IN ten minutes, I guarantee you will be able to resist the urge. The more times you can do this, the stronger you will become.
But, you say you had a cigarette at a party last night and it has not lead you down the garden path? I say, not yet. Do it a few more times and you will be right back to smoking because you have to not because you want to.
I hasten to add that there are a few people who can manage to bum a cigarette at a party now and then and enjoy a smoke. They are the exception not the rule and if you are reading this article, you are probably not one of them. People who can do this were usually not heavily addicted or even heavy smokers.Do you really want to take the chance and find out the hard way?
I cannot tell you how many times I quit, got cocky after a month or so, and then gave into temptation at a party or after a particularly stressful incident or just because I was with somebody who was smoking, or had just finished a meal, or wanted to smoke with coffee or whatever. I failed at staying quit dozens of times because it took me so long to realize that when I smoke one cigarette at a party, I am not just smoking one cigarette. I am picking up a two and a half pack a day habit and activating an addiction. Once I was able to really internalize that simple fact, I was able to resist the temptation. The desire passed and I am still smoke free today. (I quit for good in the year 2000)
Rule number one for staying quit after you have gone to the trouble of giving up smoking is NEVER to give into the urge to have even one puff. A little voice in your head that says ” It’s been awhile now so I can have just one now and then” is almost certainly lying. It is coming from the part of your brain that needs its nicotine fix. The conversation in your head starts when you smell smoke, are around smokers, talking about smoking or even just watching people smoking in an old movie or TV show. I’m going to talk about six common triggers and give you some tips on how to deal with them. Feel free to share your own experiences and personal triggers in the comments section. I would love to hear and will definitely respond.
You might have tried to quit smoking before and not managed it, but don’t let that put you off. Look back at the things your experience has taught you and think about how you’re really going to do it this time.
Make a plan to quit smoking
Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. Sticking to the ‘not a drag’ rule can really help. Whenever you find yourself in difficulty say to yourself, “I will not have even a single drag” and stick with this until the cravings pass.
Think ahead to times where it might be difficult – a party for instance – and plan your actions and escape routes in advance.
Consider your diet
Is your after-dinner cigarette your favourite? A US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, make cigarettes taste terrible. So swap your usual steak or burger for a veggie pizza instead.
You may also want to change your routine at or after mealtimes. Getting up and doing the dishes straight away, or settling down in a room where you don’t smoke may help.
Change your drink
The same study looked at drinks. Fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. So when you’re out, drink more water and juice. Some people find simply changing their drink (for example, switching from wine to a vodka and tomato juice) affects their need to reach for a cigarette.
Identify when you crave cigarettes
A craving can last five minutes. Before you give up, make a list of five-minute strategies. For example, you could leave the party for a minute, dance, or go to the bar. And think about this: the combination of smoking and drinking raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times.
Get some stop smoking support
If friends or family members want to give up too, suggest to them that you give up together.
There is also support available from your local stop smoking service. Did you know that you’re up to four times more likely to quit successfully with their expert help and advice?
You can also call the NHS Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044 open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturday to Sunday 11am to 4pm.
A review of scientific studies has proved exercise – even a five-minute walk or stretch – cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.
Make non-smoking friends
When you’re at a party, stick with the non-smokers. “When you look at the smokers, don’t envy them,” says Louise, 52, an ex-smoker. “Think of what they’re doing as a bit strange – lighting a small white tube and breathing in smoke.”
Are drugs, alcohol or cigarettes ruling your life? Have you tried quitting only to pick back up again — even though you really, really want to stop? Stop beating yourself up. You are not a failure. You’re an addict.
A healthier, craving-free life awaits you. Here are ten ideas to get you on and keep you on the road to recovery.
If I can do it, you can do it — I promise!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a meth addict or a pill popper, a binge drinker or bottle hider, smoke 3 packs a day or 6 joints a day. The chances of kicking your habit on your own — and sticking with it — are slim at best. You cannot fight true addiction with willpower. It’s a physiological and psychological craving — way too strong at the cellular level to “just say no.”
But you’ve already figured that out. So now what?
If you have an honest, trusting relationship with your healthcare provider, mention to him/her that you’re trying to quit. Many health plans offer smoking cessation and chemical dependency programs.
You’ll also want to check out how real people (who once were struggling just like you) live drug/alcohol free. Go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. It’s free and there’s no obligation. The members will welcome you with open arms and share everything you need to know. Peer-to-peer support is incredibly powerful and effective.
Tip #2 Do Whatever it Takes
Chances are you didn’t develop your habit last week. Don’t expect to break it overnight, either. It takes time and patience and work. Yes, work. You need to be committed to changing yourself.
If at first you don’t succeed, try something different. For some people, attending 12-Step (AA or NA) meetings is enough. Many sufferers require more help. You can try an outpatient program where you take classes to learn about addiction and yourself. These programs will drug/alcohol test you to make sure you’re not using between sessions. For some people, this level of accountability is sufficient.
For others, an inpatient rehabilitation (aka “rehab”) is needed. These 30, 60 or 90-day programs immerse you in recovery. One to three months in a drug/alcohol-free environment can be a great way to jump-start your clean and sober life.
If you’re trying to put down the cancer sticks, there are different schools of thought. Some people advocate going cold turkey for best results. But again, it doesn’t work for everybody. That’s why they make nicotine patches and gum! There’s even a smoker’s anonymous group
Tip #3 Change Your Attitude
Those irresistible cravings will go away in time. To keep them at bay and keep yourself safe from relapsing into old behaviors, you’ll need to change your mindset from “addict” to “in recovery.” As you learn about the reasons behind your drinking/using, you will discover some very interesting things about yourself. And not just you, but every alcoholic/addict (which is why accepting help from others who have walked the path before you really works).
Changing your attitude about drugs/alcohol/smoking is twofold. First, your relationship to your drug(s) of choice will shift. It will stop being the center of your universe. You’ll stop romancing and depending on it to get through your day. You’ll start viewing it as poison, lethal, disgusting.
At the same time, your attitude about yourself and your place in the world — including what the world owes you or has or hasn’t done to/for you — will evolve. The process of giving up an addiction is actually a process of “getting.” You get a positive outlook — an outlook you likely haven’t felt since you started using… if ever.
Tip #4 Change Your Playground
So much of recovery is about breaking routines as well as actual habits. I bet you’ve worn a groove in the route to your local liquor store or favorite bar. You know exactly where your connection lives or hangs.
If you continue to go to your old haunts, you’re putting a lot of undue pressure on yourself. Why tempt fate? Take a different route home from work so you don’t pass your usual supplier.
So what about your home? Obviously you’ll want to cleanse your environment of anything and everything that might be a “trigger” for relapse. It’s not uncommon for newly sober people to move from rehab into a transitional sober living situation to give themselves a stronger foundation before going “back there.” It’s usually not necessary to relocate, but it’s an option if your home environment is just too toxic.
A note about smoking. Once your eyes, nose and throat become sensitized, you’ll realize what others have been complaining about. It’s a good idea to ban smoking in your home and car and seek out smoke-free environments to support your quitting.