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EmpowHER Guest

Hi Alysiak...

I quit smoking after 29 years and countless attempts to stop. I was a heavy smoker and in my last few years, moved to cigar smoking to get a more intense 'hit' of nicotine (yup, I inhaled those cigars). I used to go through intense panic, misery, irritability and self hatred every time I tried to quit. I thought that I would be a smoker for life because I didn't have the 'willpower' to overcome these symptoms and that I was depriving myself of 'feeling good' (the feeling I got when I smoked a cigarette).

I think the first thing to realize about your partner is he's addicted. Nicotine is one of the most highly addictive substances known to to humans. Researchers figure that two cigarettes is all that is needed to hook someone on nicotine. The good news is that nicotine leaves your body fairly quickly (unlike other addictive substances).

Each cigarette contains enough nicotine to keep your nicotine levels in the body for up to forty-five minutes. After that the levels drop in half, and after more time, the nicotine level drops even further. This is the signal to the smoker that he 'needs' the cigarette: the levels in his body are dropping, he is feeling slightly anxious and nervous so he lights up another cigarette and tops up the levels again...until they once again start to drop causing him to feel anxious and nervous again which then causes him to light up again.

One cigarette leads to the next cigarette and they all become an endless chain to sustain the levels of nicotine in the body. The smoker, when he lights up, feels relief of the anxiety and nervousness (nicotine levels are being topped up) and tends to associate this with 'feeling good' in his brain. He thinks it's relaxing him and making him 'normal'. He tends to associate the nervousness and anxiety of not smoking (nicotine levels being depleted in the body) with how it would be if he was to quit and cannot see beyond that to the day when there is no more nicotine in the body to send out the pangs of withdrawal. He also feels psychologically that he is giving up something precious if he were to quit smoking because he associates smoking with feelings of relaxtion and cessation of anxiety.

Willpower doesn't really have a lot to do with quitting smoking if you're past the point of seeing cigarettes as precious. Once you understand that the stress and anxiety that you associate with living are actually caused by cigarettes and the nicotine levels dropping in your body, one can stub out for the last time and not REGRET IT.

Once one can understand that he or she is spending money to feed a nicotine monster (addiction) inside them that is slowly killing them and that it has nothing to do with feeling good, or coping in life or stress relief, (otherwise everyone would be doing it, doctors would be prescribing it, we would be teaching our children to do it, etcetera) they are on the road to letting it go for good.

Once they have an epiphany and let go of the psychological illusion that smoking makes them feel good, cope better and relaxes them, they can stub out and not even have to use will power because the DESIRE is no longer there. There is nothing to regret and no inner battle: you see cigarettes for what they are.

Hope this helps.

PS - I quit after 29 years, and have been smoke free for 1 1/2 years. I tried every 'stop smoking method' including patches, gum, zyband, cold turkey/will power and 'cutting down'. None of them were successful until I understood the addiction.

March 21, 2009 - 6:59am


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