Ellis' Quit Smoking Technique for Smoking Addiction
Ellis Garvin (Haiku, Hi) on 09/02/2009: Ted makes some really good points here. As someone who smoked a pack a day for 9 years, and who quit many times before quitting for good, 10 years ago, I have a lot of first-hand experience with quitting smoking. In my experience, the first three days are the hardest. That is when I would feel like I was alternately going insane and/or becoming enlightened. There is a kind of buzzing in the head coupled with increasing energy which can easily turn to anxiety and agitation. The pull to smoke doesn't end after 3 days though. My experience was that the longing to reach for a cigarette when feeling stressed out, or at the end of the work-day, or with a drink, etc, SLOWLY melted away over the course of a year until the urges were pretty rare. Even these rare urges slowly became even less frequent as the years went by. It was like breaking up with someone. It takes time. Even 10 years later I still occassionally get a sudden craving for a cigarette. Maybe 3 times a year and it's not very strong.
Along with Ted's recomendations for the body, I have a recomendation for the mind (and the mind is definetely involved with this.) This is a technique which worked really well for me. It is ingenious and very effective if you have a sincere desire to quit. It was given to me by a friend who had also used it to quit smoking after 40 something years.
1. Determine how many ciggarettes you smoke per day. [for me it was 20]
2. Determine how long you want to take to quit smoking. It could be a week, a month, or any number you want. It's your choice. [I chose 20 days]
3. You are going to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke by 1 every -blank- number of days. Choose what that -blank- number of days is. [I chose to reduce the number of cigarettes I smoked by one, every -1- days. For example: the first day I smoked 20, the next day I smoked 19, on the third day I smoke 18, etc. You could choose to reduce the cigarettes by one every day, every 2 days, every week, or whatever you want. It's totally your choice.]
4. Buy a small pad of paper that is comfortable to carry with you wherever you go that you smoke.
5. Every single time you are about to smoke one of your cigarettes, first take a moment to write down in your pad of paper whatever you are feeling and doing at that exact moment. [What your feeling could be anything such as, "I'm feeling excited, happy, sad, stressed, angry, bored, hungry, frustrated, etc." It could even be, "I'm feeling nothing." What you're doing could be anything, such as I'm at work, just had an argument, watching tv, stuck in traffic, at a party, having coffee, just finished dinner, etc.]
6. Lastly, you buy the same amount of cigarettes that you used to buy before you started this technique, and you destroy the extra cigarettes that you are not smoking and throw them in the trash. [Because I smoked a pack a day when I started this process, I had to buy a brand new pack every day, even though I was gradually reducing the number I would smoke out of that pack by one every day. For instance, on day 15, near the end of the process, I had to buy a new pack, I smoked 5 of them, and then I crumbled up the remaining 15 and threw them away. On day 16 I bought a new pack, smoked 4 of them, crumbled up the remaining 16 and threw them away, etc. This practice is to drive it home to you how much money you spend on cigarettes.]
If you follow this program like I did, you will be completely ready to quit by the last day. For me, I was dying to quit by the last week. In fact, I couldn't even wait, and I stopped a few days before the end with no problems. I have been off them ever since. Remember, once you're off them, don't ever, EVER take even a single puff off of someone elses cigarette for the rest of you life. If you take even one puff, you will eventually start smoking again and will go back to ruining your own good health. Good luck! You can do it!