To a longtime smoker, smoking is more than just lighting a cigarette. It is a ritual, a reward, a past time, a close friend, a pick me up, a thought provoking moment, an ice breaker in social situations, a comfort when lonely, and something to look forward to when the alarm rings. The act of smoking is woven through every aspect of what you do. Putting down that last cigarette can leave a void so large, many quitters are at a loss as to how to move forward. The good news is, you can move forward in more ways than you ever thought possible!
Look at all those moments in your life you gave away to smoking. Not anymore! You have a whole new experience ahead of you, and a chance to fill it with everything you have been missing. Embrace the possibilities that come with change. Find your interests. Experiment, reach out, and enjoy. When the smoke clears, there is a beautiful world out there!
You can get started today by identifying the essence of your smoking moments. Answer the question 'What do I feel I am getting from this cigarette?’ for each cigarette you smoke. Chances are good that your answers will be reward, comfort, and treat/pick me up, habit, fun or relaxation. Once you know why you are smoking each cigarette you smoke, you can fill the void so you do not miss cigarettes. Let go of the old tapes playing in your mind that tell you smoking is the only option. Be open to trying new things so you can enjoy the smoke-free you. By filling the void with other behaviors, your emotional needs will be met and your routines altered to support a nonsmoking lifestyle. You will be adding much needed relaxation, reward and fun experiences to your life!
If you are not sure how to come up with ideas, think back to when you were young. Did you like being outside, inside, or in a group? Did you build things, read, bake or draw? Were you the leader of your friends, a lone bicycler, or in your room reading? Did you skate, ski, play music, play ball, go camping, hiking or love to sing? We begin our lives without limitation, and often those original interests are keys to who we really are. Writing, drawing, biking, jogging, baking, dancing, leading a meeting, starting a club, volunteering, fostering, taking lessons, taking a class and other activities can enhance your life and open new doors for you. These interests may have been long forgotten, or simply took a back burner to work, responsibility, and day to day chores. When you quit smoking, give yourself the freedom to spend that extra time and money (re)discovering things you would like to do! At the end of our lives, few look back and were glad they kept their floors mopped or the garage tidy. Times enjoyed, people loved, unique experiences, joy and special moments will be what matter most. So put down the cigarettes, get out there and live a life you enjoy and cherish. You are worth it; KTQ!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist