How to understand that you really quit smoking

How to understand that you really quit smoking




Be careful, longrid. TL; DR. He smoked a lot, he quit long ago. There is an interesting observation about bad habits. I have not met him in other sources. Some people who quit smoking have been addicted for years, despite the fact that they do not use cigarettes. Habit continues to indirectly affect life. It can be fixed. Below I will describe some signs of the problem and try to decompose it. I do not sell anything. This is a personal experience, from which some theoretical base has been squeezed. It can be useful if you quit smoking, but are afraid of relapses. Or share one of the characteristic stereotypes, for example: "there are no ex-smokers", "this is a disease for life ...", "smoking is a terrible evil." It seems to me that the principle is also relevant for other dependencies on the available endorphins: cravings for sweets, gluttony, alcoholism at reversible stages, gambling and others.


How did this topic come about, or what do I call “unfaithfulness”


Yesterday I caught the eye of video of our Belarusian journalists about a young guy who, at the age of 13, had become addicted to alcohol, and at 20 stopped drinking. The story itself is unassuming, but some details of his story and minor reservations seemed very familiar and inspired to give birth to the post.

The fact is that I myself quit smoking twice . The first time lasted about three years, and it exactly corresponded to the situation of “unfaithfulness”, the symptoms of which are described below. For the entire period I did not smoke a single cigarette and sincerely believed that I had gotten rid of the addiction. In part, it was so. In the sense that it has reached the state of “I do not smoke or pull” But in reality, the importance of smoking in life was still high. Desire was replaced by disgust: poorly endured tobacco smoke, irritated cigarette stands and smokers in sight people. Attitude towards smokers was not quite adequate, with a tinge of prejudice and even disgust. Such a petty superiority of a "healthy" person over the "sick." Moreover, everything seemed to me quite normal, even rejoiced at such changes, considering them to be a sign of complete victory over a bad habit.

Now I think all this is a sign of indulgence. Yes, smoking was perceived very negatively, but at the same time managed to remain significant, because still noticeably influenced behavior. The real deliverance from addiction looks different. When you win a dependency, the former object of addiction depreciates to almost complete indifference . Actually, it even doesn’t work as a victory. Well, smoked, well, stopped. With the same feeling, you can “quit” eating a bored dish or watching a boring movie. For a habit-free mind, this is a natural step, not a feat.

And I fully felt the difference later, in hindsight, when I quit smoking the second time. It was in July of 2013, I don’t smoke from to this day, I have long ceased to count years, and I would hardly have remembered the date at all if it didn’t coincide with other, more important, events. The topic of cigarettes no longer evokes any particular emotions and is only interested in a specific context, as in the case of this article. Now I am completely on the drum, people smoke or not. In a smoky room I feel no more discomfort than a regular non-smoker - these are purely physiological things. Not afraid of relapse. Probably could calmly smoke a cigarette and not experience any desire to repeat. And even if he had experienced it, it now does not frighten even once. Such a curious paradox: you don't give a damn about the old habit that even its return does not seem to be a problem. And that is why she does not return.

The difference is radical. Many "unfaithful", like the guy from the video, are frankly afraid of relapses, avoid contact with the object of dependence and for months/years live with an eye to it.In their heads, Bad Habit still plays an important role and has an imaginary power over consciousness. She is demonized. Hence the characteristic errors of a la: “a disease for life”. This is not true. You can achieve results. With a final victory, there is no fear or excitement about the "forbidden" topic - only indifference. You can sleep in a tobacco shop, stick a cigarette in your ear, lock yourself up with smokers in the bath-top cafe, or make commercials for cigars along with Cuban quasi-lovemakers - all this does not provoke a desire to smoke. You are immune. IDDQD :)

Signs of "Failure"


Important. We are talking about people who quit long ago: months or years ago. If you are going through a period of physiological withdrawal (the first 2-4 weeks), then many of these symptoms are generally normal for you, because the body is simply not yet managed to restructure and restore the natural production of endorphins and other pleasures.

  • You want to smoke [co-authored by Captain Obvious:].
  • You were throwing "solemnly", with some kind of symbolic ritual, like burning the remnants of a pack, smoking "Your Last Cigarette", etc.
  • You are counting the exact time from the moment you left. Count the months, weeks, days, or the number of cigarettes left smoked. (The more accurate the count, the stronger the dependency).
  • You are showing everyone an excess positive about their “recovery”: you talk a lot about personal growth and self-development, you dramatize, you feel a certain pathos of the event.
  • Despite ostentatious optimism, internally you are very afraid of relapse. The idea of ​​returning to the habit causes fear or arousal. You believe that there are no ex-smokers. You are afraid to appear weak-willed to relatives and friends.
  • You dream that you smoke or want to smoke. Thoughts about smoking sometimes arise at times when you are not in control (scattered, bored, stressed, thoughtful, etc.).
  • You have developed a clear replacement habit, approximately the same in rhythm with smoking. For example, you began to constantly sharpen some cookies, etc. There is a feeling of “inner emptiness” that you want to fill with something.
  • You have an excessive aversion to tobacco smoke. Being in a smoky room is almost unbearable, I want to hold my breath.
  • You avoid contact with cigarettes. You try not to notice them in the shop windows and in everyday life, not to pick up the packs in your hands, remove the adjacent attributes from your eyes: ashtrays, lighters, etc.
  • You have a special relationship with smokers. You feel some superiority, which is expressed in mild disgust, pity, or the desire to "save" them. You obsessively preach your new views to smoking friends and acquaintances, sometimes against their will.
  • You are keenly responding to disputes on the topic. Easily "sticky" on relevant publications, cling eyes for titles that contain the words "smoking", "cigarettes", etc.
  • The topic often pops up in your conversations, many conversations somehow slip into a sore point themselves.
  • You become an ideological fighter against smoking (emotionally, not just the mind). You resent cigarette ads. You sharply and uncompromisingly condemn everything related to smoking: tobacco factories, shops, smokers. When a new fact appears about the dangers of smoking, you experience an emotional upsurge.
  • ...


Small signs and strokes can collect a whole cart. I think that it is enough to understand the principle, because in essence they all revolve around the same thing: the exaggerated importance of the habit. I am sure that even without me, you will easily carry out a self-test and notice the symptoms of “unfaithfulness”, if any.

Why are some abandoned, while others are underwhelmed


An evil joke with people is sometimes played by their willpower. More precisely, an attempt to correct by force what needs to be corrected with the mind. This was written more than once before me (it seems, even Carr).But I venture to repeat. Willpower is not a panacea.

Dependence consists of two components: physiological and psychological. When a strong-willed person quits smoking, he simply forces himself to endure and constantly maintain self-control. It helps on the “physical” stage, in the couple of weeks when “breaking” is due to physiological reasons - it is really overcome by simple patience, because it is limited in time. Two or three weeks of stress can and should simply be relived. But then it will not be able to cope further alone, because psychological dependence has no boundaries in time. Waiting at the sea weather is meaningless: with this approach would have to endure the rest of his life.

It seems to me that this is where the root of the problem lies. A person who constantly endures something cannot relax. It is like constantly keeping weight on weight, but at the same time doing everyday things at the same time: work, walk, sleep, communicate. Whatever one may say, sooner or later the forces will end, there will come a decline. Willpower only affects the duration of torment. The path itself is initially dead-end: it leads to either a relapse or an incomplete hard life. This does not solve the problem, but only isolates it. A person quits smoking, but is forced to control himself every day — this is still the same addiction, only depressed.

How does the relapse occur


Trite. The first time I threw exactly that due to willpower. As you already know, it lasted about three years. It was difficult to quit, despite the fact that the moment as a whole turned out to be kind of lucky: I went to the hospital with a small injury (another daily routine, a forced change of the usual rhythm and all that), plus a tumultuous romance spun in parallel — love made up for the lack of positive. Now I know that the moment is not at all fundamental, and you can throw in absolutely anyone, even at the peak, at least during the recession, but then it seemed different.

Throwing, I certainly did not think about smoking all day and night, day and night. But in stressful situations, thoughts arose from time to time. I often dreamed that I smoked, etc. Two thirds of the symptom list was present above :) As a result, in one rather complex and far from perfect day I did smoke. Somehow almost mechanically, semi-consciously. Just thinking deeply, I bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter - and lit it.

And believe it or not, the feeling immediately arose that it seemed that there was no pause for three years. So easily and instantly the habit returned. Smoker's honed gestures, the weight of the pack in his pocket, the smoke through his nostrils - everything is “native”, on reflexes, as if he did not give up. And I will not hide, in the early days I was filled with blush from all this. But then, as it always happens, pleasure turned into a routine, the dose went uphill, the buzz disappeared, but the habit remained. Two or more years.

How does the "throwing"


In general, this is not a questioning, but rather a general cleaning in the head. The first time, however, served as a good foundation. At a minimum, I already knew firmly that I could, without any particular problems, endure breaking and live for years without a cigarette in my teeth. A simple awareness of this fact in itself changes the attitude to the habit. Before you is no longer a terrible internal demon of seven heads, which affects all aspects of your life, but rather something like a zadolbavshy obsessive friend, which is time to kick out of the circle of communication. Izi.

In this story, a lot of letters, but ironically, the climax can be expressed in one sentence. One day, leaving the tax office, I took out a pack, saw 1 cigarette there, I thought that I was too lazy to go and buy another block - and did not. Everything. The decision, taken in 3 seconds, completely freed me from the stupid habit. And it was not difficult. Totally. I do not even really remember the process of disaccustoming. But behind all this external spontaneity lies work on oneself, which was done drop by drop somewhere in the background.

So what's the catch?


In a state of mind.It has little to do with willpower, etc. You just need to be in that state when the subjective value of the bad habit is at a minimum. And for this you need to clearly understand what is happening to you and why. Sorry if the text below reminds you of the style of a textbook on successful success, but in this case you need to understand everything literally.

  1. There should be life goals and pleasure from them.

    Surprise: “throwing something” is not a goal. There is no point in running from point A if you don’t know what to do with it after. Well, you stopped smoking for a while, what's next? After all, everything else remained as before. What exactly are you going to spend on those resources that your habit used to eat: time, energy, money? What is the body movement for? When you are seriously passionate about something, the importance of bad habits is greatly reduced, going to the tenth plan.
  2. Understand your motives. But do not lie to yourself.

    This is related to the first item. Why did you even smoke? And why did you really want to quit? And they wanted? The irony is that we all rather vaguely understand our own true motives and live in the main illusions. But the truth is often unpleasant. It may, for example, be found out that you were abandoned solely under pressure from relatives or doctors, but you really didn’t want to, because smoking compensated you for the lack of enjoyment of life itself. And this means that in order to truly get rid of dependence, you need not to deal with smoking, but with the way of life that did not suit you. Perhaps it turns out. what do you really want, for example, to get a divorce, change your profession or move to another city. Or, on the contrary, start a family and have children. Or completely change the social circle. To admit such things can be difficult and even scary, especially if your internal goals and needs do not coincide with the generally accepted ones. But it is here that the whole catch. Behind every harmful "endorphinous" habit is a deficit of something. You need to understand what kind of "hole" you are trying to plug it.
  3. It is necessary to understand the mechanics of dependence well.

    Everything is simpler, but important too. Knowledge relieves fear and superstition. In habits there is nothing fateful. Many people themselves exaggerate the role of their addiction, inflating its influence to cosmic scales. But in fact it is just a tool of the psyche, part of the learning system. Acting consciously, you decide what to train yourself. On the mechanics of smoking everything is well and in detail written by Allen Carr. You can read about the habits at a popular level by Charles Dahhig “The Power of Habits” - the book is not scientific, journalistic, you can even read it out of boredom.


What other factors help cope with addiction


  1. Circle of communication, where people do not have your problems.

    And then I venture to go hard against the whole classic. I sincerely advise: avoid the groups of “comrades in misfortune”. Do not hang out in groups of throwing, anonymous alcoholics and the like. Run from them. These are the breeding grounds of "insecurity". I have nothing against these people, but all my experience literally screams that communicating with those for whom your habit is completely alien has the most beneficial effect. They do not feed your demons. Their psyche in this matter is more normal and healthier than those who struggle with addiction. Communicating with healthy people, you adopt their thinking style and normalize yours.

    Personally, I was lucky to hang out with sports dudes who have never smoked at all. Being in their company, for the first time in my life, I realized how stupid and ridiculous this habit is from the point of view of a healthy person, although we have never discussed this topic. I do not know how to explain it. Around me since childhood, everyone smoked, and I thought it was the norm. And then I suddenly realized that I looked from the side roughly like an adept cargo cult :) It was an amazing discovery.
  2. Sport, fitness.

    Trite, but true. This applies primarily to those who have a sedentary lifestyle.The point here is not to become a positive fitner and take a picture in the mirror. Just regular physical activity enhances the production of the very endorphins, the deficiency of which underlies the dependence. Hypodynamia in itself can serve as the root cause that forces smoking to maintain mood. Classes can bounce back your entire lifestyle and improve quality in life at times.

    I myself am far from being an athlete, rather the opposite, but regularly and often walk on foot. (Generally, this is the coolest hobby worthy of a separate post :). To say that it gives strength means to say nothing. 80% of my life energy comes from there. I lead to the fact that fitness in one form or another is available in almost any scenario. If it seems to you that you do not have money for sports, health or time, then most likely it seems to you.
  3. Variety. Avoid routine.

    Smoking is also a ritual that regulates the rhythm of life. It breaks the day into small intervals, thereby bringing the illusion of diversity into it. Quitting smoking, many feel that life has allegedly become fresh, monotonous. The problem is that most likely she always was. Smoking did not fix anything. It just hid facts from you. And if your life is really boring, then this is a reason to change it, and not to hide behind a pack.

    Quitting smoking, in the same year, I divorced for the first time, registered an individual entrepreneur, jumped with a parachute, fit into the first major (by personal measures) project, etc. dr. When a lot of things happen around, smoking ceases to be important.


After Party


Honestly, until recently I doubted whether to post a post. First, non-core and long, many letters. Secondly, for clarity, one has to unwittingly reveal some aspects of his personal life, which one does not want to do. Thirdly, sometimes it makes me nervous about my mentor tone (hehe), and here the topic also implies a certain imposition of views. Therefore, I apologize in advance to all those who may seem tactless. I hope that it was not for nothing that I spent my time and yours. Thank you!

Source text: How to understand that you really quit smoking