I tried to quit smoking so many times I lost count. Almost every day for several years I promised myself that I wouldn't light up that first cigarette of the day. (I must have been related to Mark Twain!) My parents smoked and I started smoking to "fit in" with my friends at school.
I wanted to quit smoking so bad but I knew in my heart that I just enjoyed smoking too much! I was aware of all the dangers of smoking knowing full well that continuing to smoke would eventually have a major impact upon my health. There can't be a smoker out there who isn't aware of the dangers and risks of smoking. With all of the news in the last several years about the dangers of smoking and the impact of second hand smoke, it amazes me that teen smoking and women smoking rates are on the increase.
Wanting desperately to quit smoking, one day I woke up and made a promise to myself (and my 3 year old son!) that I wouldn't smoke for the whole day no matter what happened. Miraculously I managed to go the day without lighting up and I was soon into my second day of not smoking. Before I knew it I had made it a whole week. I was really proud of my personal accomplishment and I let everyone know about it! I was completely over the physical addiction within 5 days. I would be lying if I told you that it was easy. I was irritable, had difficulty concentrating and sleeping but I made it through the first stage of quitting.
The most difficult part to overcome was the social, psychological addiction. This, by the way, is the part that most people have trouble with and is one of the main reasons for relapses and what many smokers give for not wanting to quit smoking in the first place. It isn't easy but if you set your mind to it and not give into the urges you will find that you can learn how to cope more and more as each day passes. Quitting smoking is a learning process. I know several ex-smokers that quit several years ago and still have the occasional urges (me being one of them!). I also know many smokers who will never quit because they can't get over this social/psychological addiction. I am living proof that you CAN quit smoking if you put your mind to it.
I devised a coping mechanism that I still use whenever I get the urge for a cigarette:
I visualize the black hot stinky tar laden smoke scalding my esophagus as it makes its way down to my now clean pink healthy lungs that are now healing from the many years of abuse that I put them through!
Quitting smoking isn't easy but if you focus all of your energy on it and make up your mind that you are NEVER going to smoke again, you too can stop smoking for good.
On a more positive note I can say for certain that "quitting smoking is the single most important healthy lifestyle change that a person can make to improve their overall health and well-being"!
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