Ways to curb your cravings for nicotine

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, Jun 19, 2019

I smoked for 35 years and wore a patch for a week before I had my first lobectomy. I did not put it back on after I got home from the hospital. There is no getting a way around the difficulty that most people have with quitting smoking, especially women. (https://www.livescience.com/19452-women-harder-quit-smoking.html). Most of us will get cravings that will push our tolerance in deprivation. After my operation I came very very close to picking up a butt that I thought that I had left in the ashtray in my car. I thank the Sun that my husband had cleaned it out. I never tried again. I went from one craving to another, instead of one minute to another or one step at a time. I went from one thought to another too, I got busy, joined ballet and exercise groups, walked and walked and walked. I did not substitute anything in my mouth because I read that you have to break the habit of putting something in your mouth.
My mind wouldn’t shut off thinking about cigarettes, not that I would smoke, but in general . When I was busy I didn’t think about it or crave smoking.
I actually fumbled around trying to stay busy and then it became easier and my thoughts of smoking were less frequent until the weren’t anymore. I remember my realization when I knew that I had it beat. I was so thrilled! I had a mantra that I stole from my husband. He told me that if I smoke I would die. I said it every time I felt the urge, over and over and over again. It saved my life.
Why did you quit> How did you quit? What helped you?

@fiesty76

A very dear friend of many years is a smoker and is working at quitting. However, she says that with COVID-19, the progress she'd made by reducing the # smoked ea. day or week. Now she is smoking more than before she began trying to stop. She tried Chantix in the past; she's used gum, patches but now is terrified … not only by the added stress but also because she is afraid to shop for more. Any tips I can share that might help? I like the "mantra", Merry, and will share it with her. I've mentioned that meditation is calming for me and I know focused breathing helps because I have compromised lungs from chronic bronchitis. Thank you.

Jump to this post

@fiesty76– Good afternoon. I smoked for 35 years. When I was told that I had cancer the first thing that happened was an urge to smoke. I couldn't get out of the hospital fast enough to light up. My husband didn't understand and was shocked that I didn't immediately quit. Somehow smokers think that any outside stress will be relieved by smoking and it's physically the opposite. Although true physical cravings last up to a month psychological cravings last much, much longer. I think that as smoking turns into an addiction and a habit, it's the habit that needs to be broken. A habit is horrible to break, especially if you have smoked a long time.
Your friend has lost her inspiration. She thinks that she needs to smoke to help calm her. What she needs is a new inspiration to quit, not pressure. She already feels shame and guilt. Perhaps the following links will help.
https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/stress-smoking#2
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323012

REPLY

Merry, Thank you for this info. I appreciate the links and will read them with interest to share with her. She even said, one day: "Instead of calming me, I am much more irritable now; sleeping less and just can't settle down." Thanks again.

REPLY
@fiesty76

Merry, Thank you for this info. I appreciate the links and will read them with interest to share with her. She even said, one day: "Instead of calming me, I am much more irritable now; sleeping less and just can't settle down." Thanks again.

Jump to this post

@fiesty76– Why didn't the Chantix work? Did she say?

REPLY

Merry, she said the Chantix Did help with her cravings but her blood pressure shot up sky high…like 200? and her doc said to stop the chantix. Friend had not seen any reports about its affect like that on blood pressure so thinks hers might have been due to the increased tension the smoking cessagion was causing…no medical reasons were given.

REPLY
@fiesty76

Merry, she said the Chantix Did help with her cravings but her blood pressure shot up sky high…like 200? and her doc said to stop the chantix. Friend had not seen any reports about its affect like that on blood pressure so thinks hers might have been due to the increased tension the smoking cessagion was causing…no medical reasons were given.

Jump to this post

@fiesty76– Wow, that's high.

Liked by fiesty76

REPLY

@fiesty76 I tried the Chantix also but it gave me some really disturbing dreams so I stopped. I had to do cold turkey but had strong medical reasons to encourage me. Eating Pistachios when I had urges helped me due to the use of my hands to eggshell them. They say cravings go away after about 5 minutes and the pistachios did help. I think for me to once I got to about a month it wasn't so much the physical dependence anymore but habit. Then it became a well I made it this far so I didn't want to have to start over and now 9 years later I am so happy I did. I wish you the best and don't give up it is well worth it in the end.
Have a Blessed Day
Dana

REPLY

Thanks, Dana, for the tip of shelling pistachios. I will share this idea with my friend. I do the shelled pistachios on purpose at snack time. Shelling prevents me from eating too many at a time…I do luv snacks! vbg Your suggestion reminded me of another to share: a colleague once said that she found using celery sticks as a substitute really helped her replace the "cigarette holding" habit.

REPLY
@fiesty76

Thanks, Dana, for the tip of shelling pistachios. I will share this idea with my friend. I do the shelled pistachios on purpose at snack time. Shelling prevents me from eating too many at a time…I do luv snacks! vbg Your suggestion reminded me of another to share: a colleague once said that she found using celery sticks as a substitute really helped her replace the "cigarette holding" habit.

Jump to this post

The Celery is a good idea also, and healthy

REPLY
@danab

The Celery is a good idea also, and healthy

Jump to this post

Interesting; there are many stories about smoking, addiction, and the extreme difficulty to quit. Let's be a bit philosophical: we have both freedom of choice ,and freedom of will.. There is a significant difference.
Freedom of choice: the ability to choose to do what you want at any time i.e. snap your fingers, cross the street kiss your significant other, etc.
Freedom of will is quite different: It is the commitment over a period of time to monitor your trait that you want/need to change, as difficult as it is, or will be. That explanation may be bothersome to many, but it is accurate. This exercise is not easy, or is it supposed to be easy. It is the constant monitoring that makes the difference.
I'm not interested in arguing (also a philosophical use of a word – the posing of premises that are valid – the efficacy of this philosophical position – is what it is.
I offer this essay for I quit when the first of my three sisters passed away from cancer. the benefit of those sincerely looking for a solution, not an excuse. (I am a reformed smoker – the worst kind to discuss this issue).
I wish the best to all of you trying, I know it will not be easy if at all.
Best to all on this Holy day.

REPLY

Spudmato, you make an excellent point with this: "Freedom of will is quite different: It is the commitment over a period of time to monitor your trait that you want/need to change, as difficult as it is, or will be." Thank you.

REPLY
@fiesty76

Spudmato, you make an excellent point with this: "Freedom of will is quite different: It is the commitment over a period of time to monitor your trait that you want/need to change, as difficult as it is, or will be." Thank you.

Jump to this post

feisty 76: hope it is of value to those facing this difficult, but important decision. The effort in itself is the key first step. Success breeds success. One needs not to "win" on the first try. Hope is a good thing, belief is the start of this process. Nothing to lose, much to gain.
Take the first step, choose to exercise your freedom of will, choose to win.

REPLY

My father was a three pack a day man. When I was in 6th grade my father was diagnosed with cancer of the epiglottis from his habit. The night before his surgery he put down his cigarettes. Luckily the disease was caught in time. Another week or two and Dad would have lost his voice box. After his hospitalization (this was in the 70s so stays were longer back then) he had already been off the nicotine for nearly 2 weeks. He discovered that playing Solitaire helped keep his hands busy and distract him from the craving. He could carry the deck of cards in his pocket and have them there when the need struck. He managed to live a very vibrant life. The cessation of the cigarettes and the surgery gave Dad another 20 years.

I was always so proud of my father for his success. I know it was incredibly difficult for him since his habit began when he was in his late teens. I give kudos to anyone who is strong enough to overcome any addiction.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.