“How can I get Honest about My Smoking in order to move towards quitting?”
If you are still smoking, it’s time to start thinking more accurately about your addiction. This is the start of the healing process–something that probably has to happen for most people before they can get to the point of seriously trying to quit cigarettes.
You have to see your addiction for what it really is, without any window dressing whatsoever. If you are going to quit smoking, it will help to start using accurate language when you phrase your thoughts about your addiction.
The Myth of Smoking “Enjoyment”
As soon as you finish smoking a cigarette, the clock starts ticking. Your body is quickly going into nicotine withdrawal, usually within about half an hour. The only way to avoid the withdrawal is to light another cigarette….
For starters, you need to correct the idea that you actually enjoy smoking. Many people will stop here and say “but wait! I actually do enjoy smoking!” This is only half true at best. Contrary to popular belief, there actually are some benefits to smoking. There is a social element, for example, amongst smokers, that can be viewed as a benefit to smoking. Some people genuinely like the taste of the smoke in there mouths–again, this could be viewed as a “benefit” of smoking, and thus give some enjoyment. But this is extremely minimal, even when weighed against, say, a piece of candy that tastes good.
But when people say that they enjoy smoking, they are referring to the physical reaction that their body gets from the nicotine. They are referring to that quick rush to the head followed by a wash down through their body as they take that first big drag in the morning. This is what people are referring to when they say that they “enjoy smoking.”
Of course, this is not really true–smokers have fooled themselves into thinking that relief from withdrawal symptoms is enjoyable. It’s not. Anyone who is addicted to cigarettes is only avoiding the onset of withdrawal with each new cigarette that they light. The only real “rush of pleasure” that they might get from smoking totals less than five minutes each week, usually just the first hit on the first cigarette of the day. All of the smoking that follows that is just to maintain a comfortable level of nicotine.
Think about that for a moment. The tiny rush you get from a cigarette is followed by the chore of simply sucking the rest of it down. The tiny rush that you get from each cigarette only totals a few minutes each week. That’s if you smoke a pack a day–or about 140 cigarettes each week! Only 5 minutes of real pleasure each week!
Also, keep in mind that a pack-a-day smoker spends over a month out of each year puffing on cigarettes. They aren’t enjoying all of this smoking–they are forced to do it to avoid feeling miserable. There is a distinct difference there, and when you engage in mental self-talk about your smoking, 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 unpleasant withdrawal. Admit it: there have been times when you’ve smoked too much, too quickly, and you look down at the cigarette in your hand and think “why am I doing this? This is disgusting!” Don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that smoking is enjoyable. Instead, see the addiction for what it really is: a series of zombie-like nicotine feedings throughout the day just to make you feel “normal.”
Another eye-opener: Boredom
Increase your awareness of what happens when you get bored. Most smokers usually smoke a cigarette every hour or so. Notice how your level of smoking increases if you become bored or suddenly have too much idle time. Your body is not craving the next nicotine fix just yet, but because you are bored, your mind is anticipating the withdrawal symptoms. When you get bored, notice how your mind gently reminds you that “yep, you’re going to have to smoke again in a little while here in order to feel normal….might just as well do it now.” Be honest with yourself about what you are truly doing: not enjoying even more cigarettes because you have extra time, instead you are simply keeping your body well fed with nicotine so that you don’t go into withdrawal at all.
Anticipating smoke-free zones
Here is another big clue about the physical nature of your nicotine addiction: anticipating the withdrawal when you know you are going into a smoke-free situation. Let’s say that you are going into a smoke free restaurant for a fairly long evening dinner. First, take note of the fact that you resent the situation itself, because you know it prevents you from smoking and you already know that your body is going to be uncomfortable and craving nicotine later on. Take note of this resentment and realize that this feeling of resentment is one of the things that you will be free of when you quit smoking. Second, take note of the way that you attempt to “top off” your nicotine level right before entering the restaurant. This type of behavior comes as second nature to a smoker, this attempt to avoid the inevitable withdrawal for as long as possible. Increase your awareness of these types of behaviors and see them for what they really are: the smoker trying to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to simply feel normal by avoiding nicotine withdrawal.
The Logical Solution: Quit Smoking
The idea here is for you to increase your awareness enough to see smoking for what it truly is: an addiction that provides almost no value at all to you, and gives you very little real pleasure.
Nicotine withdrawal is not pleasant, but once you get through it, you can start living a life of freedom.
You owe it to yourself to explore your quit options. There are a million and one ways to quit, from using medication to help you to nicotine patches to quit smoking acupuncture to hypnosis. Explore these options until you find something that works for you in helping you quit.
If you have not yet quit, set a quit date for yourself and start focusing on the idea of freedom from cigarettes. Increase your awareness of all these little mind games that go on in relationship to your smoking, and be honest with yourself about your addiction. Freedom from nicotine is wonderful….learn more about how to quit smoking right here.