That’s what Mark Twain said, though adding: I’ve done it more than two hundred times. In other words, many quit smoking, but not many succeed in quitting smoking. Because it is only in words that we all have monstrous willpower and it is possible to quit smoking (so it seems) at any moment. It’s actually pretty damn hard.
The main difficulty is that there is a feeling that a person without a cigarette is left alone. And then the protest of the body, which lacks a dose of nicotine, joins this feeling. He asks for a cigarette and is nervous because he is not allowed to do this, and yet everyone around him continues to tar, giggle and offer a cigarette.
Oddly enough, two opposing trends are simultaneously developing in the world today. On the one hand, there is a slow but steady attack on smokers in all civilized countries. They are prohibited from smoking in offices, airplanes, trains, public places, restaurants and theaters. On the other hand, the number of smokers is still not decreasing, and sometimes even increasing. At the same time, the age threshold is decreasing (it seems that babies in cradles will soon smoke), and the proportion of women who smoke (especially in Russia, who suddenly realized what a variety of tobacco products with menthol and other exotic additives exist in the world) is growing day by day.
And yet, the hoarse bass in the voice, teeth and fingers yellowed from nicotine, the indestructible smell of stale tobacco – this alone is enough to find strength in yourself and at least try.
There is no magic painless recipe for quitting smoking. But many experts are unanimous that the most correct way is to use drugs that maintain the level of nicotine in the blood with its gradual decrease. Plus doctor’s advice.
Doctors believe that smoking, like high blood pressure, is a physical problem, but with a pronounced behavioral component, that is, a habit. To more easily cope with chemical dependence, a person needs to take nicotine for a certain time (the so-called replacement therapy). Its source can be anything but a cigarette: a band-aid, chewing gum, etc.
The point is not only to wean the smoker off nicotine, but also to destroy in his mind the logical connection between cigarettes and pleasure. By using nicotine-containing drugs that saturate the suffering receptors in the brain, you are switching from a cigarette to a substitute in order to subsequently give it up.
After the longing for nicotine is a little reasonable, it’s time to talk about the longing for a cigarette in the fingers. It is this factor that often prevents women from quitting smoking. They have already created a certain image, in which a thin cigarette in well-groomed graceful fingers is an integral part – and suddenly they destroy everything themselves?!
To deal with the problem, it is best to decide on a few things.
First, you need to accurately determine the day when you decide to quit smoking. At the same time, it does not matter whether this day and hour will be the time of a decisive “throw” or a gradual weaning from a cigarette.
Secondly, you should not widely notify the surrounding population that you have quit smoking. After all, you do not want to become a target for the ridicule of your sarcastic girlfriends and the eternal banter of your beloved. And if your attempt to “tie up” fails, then only you and no one else will know about your shame.
Third, don’t expect praise or support from people other than your boyfriend or parents. It is worth remembering that all your suffering should not be thrown out on others and loaded with this “universal” problem of familiar and unfamiliar people.
In addition, you need to set yourself up for the idea that the desire to smoke will haunt you relentlessly. Moreover, if earlier a pack of cigarettes was smoked during the day, then there will be at least twenty such attacks of desire. It is possible that even in a dream there will be cigarettes, and the need to tar will not give rest, especially before going to bed. If you are not confident in your willpower, then you can (and should) throw away all cigarette stash, along with a lighter. But if there is a feeling of anger from the absence of familiar objects in the hands, then it is best to use the services of auto-training, saying to yourself: “I can smoke at any second, but I won’t smoke, because I decided so.”
You can simply be deceived, convincing yourself that you quit smoking just today. With the advent of the next day, to convince that this day is today. And so on ad infinitum. Doctors say that by absorbing lozenges, chewing gum and seeds in large quantities, it does not become easier from smoking suffering. But the manifestation of the unconscious replacement of smoking by addiction to coffee, strong tea and alcohol is quite possible.
By the way, the legends that those who quit smoking instantly gain weight are an exaggeration. Experts believe that weight gain is negligible and averages 1.5 kg. And later it can be easily driven away. So it’s not worth it to justify your weakness.
And most importantly – you need to hold out for the first 48 hours. This is the blackest watch of the heavy smoker. Other critical stops will be: 1 month, 3 months, 6 months – at the last term, the majority breaks – and, finally, a year. As a rule, there is a desire to somehow celebrate a significant event and test your willpower. The cigarette gets into the mouth, and… all the suffering and torment disappear in vain.
In addition, there are some easy ways to fool yourself and still quit smoking. If you have a short smoking experience (two or three years, no more), then you can try to quit smoking right away, supporting yourself with nicotine substitutes. If the experience is long, then it is better to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes smoked to a minimum and only then quit smoking with substitution treatment.
Try smoking 1 or 2 fewer cigarettes every day. You need to take a strictly defined norm to work and not dare to “shoot” cigarettes from colleagues. In addition, if there is a desire to smoke, then it is worth trying to delay this inevitable action for at least five to seven minutes by occupying yourself with some urgent matter. Look, this desire will somehow be forgotten.
A psychotherapist can really help you quit smoking. Do not be afraid that as soon as you explain why you came to him, he will put a straitjacket on you. Our psychiatrists are humane people. With the help of antidepressants prescribed by a doctor, it is relatively easy to deal with irritation, anxiety, lethargy, and other symptoms that spoil life when you quit smoking. They act directly on nicotine-stimulated receptors in the brain, tricking the brain into believing that nicotine is still coming in when it isn’t.
Olga MIKHAILOVA, psychologist.