Sep 24, 2011
I kicked hydros a few years back and proud of it. Unfortunately, I started smoking again a year ago after being smoke free for 10 years. I quit a week ago. I find quitting smoking to be hard and cravings do occur. Things I learned from quitting the pills apply though to smoking cessation and vice versa. I found these tips useful for fighting cravings for both cigs and pills.
When you first quit an addictive habit, it may feel like your day is one long, continual urge for your old habit, be it cigs or pills. Remember, you are in control of your mind and what you dwell on is only what you have let yourself dwell on. If you pay close attention though, you'll notice that most cravings last only three to five minutes. They tend to come off the blocks strong, and decrease gradually until they're gone.
There are two types of cravings people experience in the early days after they let an od habit go such as smoking, alcohol, or drugs. A habit is a habit and you can even miss a headache if you have had it long enough!
Physical cravings are your body's reaction addiction and withdrawal. You may feel a tightness in your throat or belly, accompanied by feelings of tension or mild anxiety when you stop smoking. Depending on the dose and time of use, the pills you were on as well, you may experience mild nausea, a headache, fatgue, depression, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia. We are all different and will experience different withdrawal symptoms. Cravings can be the hardest aspect to combat in smoking, alcohol and drug addiction. Craving is a symptom of addiction, the psychological part of addiction which differentiates a person who is merely physically addicted to a substance and the person who is addicted to a substance.
Psychological cravings are triggered by the events in your daily life. We all have hundreds of unconscious cues we give ourselves to smoke or use. When you quit, those cues will trigger the urge. Activities like driving, eating, drinking coffee or alcohol, or simply relaxing can trigger thoughts of our old habit for many of us. Mental urges can and usually do produce the same feelings in our bodies as physical cravings.
Keep things simple.
Curb cravings as they come, one by one. The most effective way to do that is to interrupt your thought pattern on the spot. Shift gears and do something different for a few minutes. Change your activity, either mentally or physically, and the craving will lose its power and be gone before you know it. Try one of the tips below, or come up with some of your own to suit the situation.
1) Go for a walk or the gym.
Get up and move. If you can, go outside for a five-minute walk. Do a lap around the block or the building, breathing deeply as you go. A little exercise and a change of scenery helps!
2) Take a mini mental vacation.
Close your eyes. Create a place in your mind that you can visualize when you need to slow down and relax. It could be a real location or not, but visualize it in detail and make it yours. Go to this place every time you do this exercise so that it becomes familiar and comfortable. As you settle in, start to follow your breathing, and slow it down gradually. Breathe deeply in and out for three to five minutes.
3) Drink a glass of water.
When a craving hits, chug down a glass of water. Not only will it help you bust your craving to smoke, it will help you physically. Many of us are mildly dehydrated without knowing it, so adding some water to your diet is a good idea. Good hydration will help your metabolism work more efficiently and you'll feel better overall. Water is one of nature's finest quit aids; use it to your advantage.
4) Review your list of reasons to quit your addiction
Reading your list is a quick and easy way to remember your priorities for quitting. Take five minutes while you're wishing you could smoke and remember how you felt when you decided to quit. Think about the reasons why you finally took the plunge and quit. Your reasons are just as true NOW as they were THEN! Write them down and put this list of reasons you quit on your frig if need be, but dont forget the reasons you let that nasty habit go!
5) Have a portable hobby.
Find something you enjoy doing that's easy to pick up and put down at a moment's notice. Keep it handy to fill a five-minute break here and there. You could work a crossword puzzle or read a few pages of a novel. If you knit or crochet, carry a simple project around with you.
6) Grab some support.
Meetings and forums are everywhere these days, be it AA, NA or smoking cessation groups that meet locally. FYI: AA welcomes narcotic abusers. Do a little reading about how others deal with nicotine withdrawal and the early days of quitting tobacco. Post a message on a forum asking for support, and jump in to help others who may be struggling. When you step outside of your own discomfort and focus on helping someone else with theirs, it can be the best medicine in the world. Tell them that they can do it and you'll be giving yourself the same message. It's a win/win!
7) Count your blessings.
Take a few minutes to reflect on all of the things in your life that you're grateful for. It's a simple, yet powerful way to pull yourself out of a slump and renew motivation.
8) Eat a healthy snack.
When blood sugar levels drop, cravings to smoke can seem more powerful while you feel less able to manage them. Eat something nutritious, such as a piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, or a tablespoon of peanut butter on a couple of crackers. You'll feel refreshed and stronger. Look into supplements after stopping narcotics, cigarettes or alcohol because chances are, you have not been eating right and a strong body lends to a strong mind! All of these substances rob our bodies of vitamins we need to stay strong.
9) Call family or a friend.
Take a few minutes to connect with someone you care about. Your spirits will be lifted, and chances are you'll perk them up too.
10) Accept and let it go.
Cravings to use or smoke are not commands. How you choose to react to a craving can either increase or decrease its power over you. Try a little reverse psychology - instead of tensing up for a fight when the urge to use or smoke, relax and mentally lean into it. Let the craving wash over you if need be, then LET IT GO! Accept it as a sign of healing, which is just what it is. The urge will run its course and pass. Practice makes perfect with this technique. You'll get the hang of it and will find it empowering.
Have some faith, and trust Yourself in the process of recovery from addiction. Find your soul and do not let the addiction take your soul from you. You are in charge! Thousands of people no different than yourself quit addictions successfully every day of the year. They don't possess any special qualities that you don't have. Everything you need to quit once and for all is within you right now. Believe in yourself and be patient! Take the time you need to heal and learn how to live your life addiction-free. You'll get there just as surely as the next person.
Submitted by Worried878