I used to be a smoker, now I’m a non-smoker.
I wanted to dedicate a page on my blog specifically to those that are a) addicted to nicotine and/or b) a smoker that isn’t allowing themselves to smoke (ie: someone’s who’s an ex-smoker)
Ali Mc’s tips for enjoying life as a non-smoker
- Call yourself a NON-SMOKER – there’s a reason I don’t refer to myself as an “ex-smoker” it’s because I don’t want to associate myself with cigarettes anymore. I want to leave that addiction behind me and focus on my current life. Right now, in the present, I am a non-smoker. That simple change in words can create a powerful message to yourself and others.
- Stop counting the days! I regularly visit Smoker’s Helpline’s facebook page and I can’t tell you how many comments I see stating things like “I’m on day 256…still struggling” – well no shit! If I was to sit here and tell you I’m on day 598 (which is a rough estimate) it’s plain to see I’m still holding onto that idealization of smoking. Do yourself a favour and either a) stop counting or b) just admit you’re still a smoker.
- Don’t let yourself be a smoker who isn’t allowing themselves to smoke – The reason I tell people to smoke if they are still having issues with cravings after years is because they never really quit the habit. They’re just suffering. They still have that feeling of deprivation. I don’t! and it’s because I got honest with myself about smoking.
- Knock the cigarette off that pedestal – We, society and media put the cigarette and smoking on this mighty thrown. It’s not doing ANYTHING for you. In fact, the ONLY thing a cigarette does for you is relieves the withdrawal symptoms of the previous cigarette. That’s it! that means that if you didn’t smoke the first one, you wouldn’t even want the second, third, forth …one. HENCE why non-smokers don’t need to smoke to relax, when they’re bored, when they’re mad or to concentrate. Those things are made up. The cigarette isn’t good. At all. Health risks aside it truly is of NO benefit to us. It’s a big lie really.
- Start pitying the smoker instead of envying them. Don’t look at your friend that only smokes at parties with envy. If you think she isn’t addicted ask yourself why she feels the need to justify that she “only smokes when she’s drinking” every time you’re together – denial. Plus, she’s an idiot. This person doesn’t even need to smoke. So wtf?! If you’ve quit already change your perspective and look at smokers in pity instead. I genuinely feel bad for anyone addicted to this nasty lie. It’s nothing to admire, it literally sucks that they have to spend their entire day planning around the cigarette.
- Remind yourself that ONE cigarette = LIFETIME ADDICTION – I don’t care who you are if you tell me that you are the type of person that thinks you can have one smoke, puff or whatever and not get addicted YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF. so stop it. Any and every time I think I want a smoke I simply remind myself that one puff = a full smoke and one smoke = a pack, and one pack = addicted again. So stop it before it starts. Remember – all a cigarette does is relieve the withdrawal symptoms from the previous smoke. So don’t have it!
- Get a new hobby – if you’re eating or afraid you’ll gain weight when you quit get a new hobby. I started baking and cooking because then when I craved food I would look up a recipe, go buy the ingredients, cook it and then eat it. The window between wanting to have something in my mouth and actually eating it got bigger because I made myself get into food. Try knitting, painting, anything that you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t before.
- Get active! you can’t be an athlete and smoke. While I guess you can, but then you’re not being honest with yourself. Cigarettes hold us back in all things active! I started running a month after I quit smoking. I have never looked back. Yes I craved cigarettes some times, yes it was hard at first but I fell in love with how my body looked, how I felt, all the exercises I was doing and knew that if I smoked I couldn’t do any of it.
- Write a blog, post on facebook SHARE your experience – communal support is key to success, so whether you’re posting on a forum, joining in the discussion on smoker’s helpline’s fb page or writing your own blog – you will succeed because you are holding yourself accountable. I am now a role model for others that want to end this nasty addiction, that fuels my success as well as their’s. So jump into the discussion!
- Read Allen Carr’s The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Seriously, that book is GENIUS. Pure genius. The only way to be truly free of smoking is to reverse the brainwashing of why we think it’s something to be missed. When the brainwashing finally sinks in you’ll be smiling and laughing at yourself for ever smoking because smoking is seriously the dumbest thing in the world.
- Avoid other smokers until you’re confident in yourself as a NON-smoker – I actually didn’t hang out with my friends that smoked. I knew that it would trigger me wanting one. This was only for a month or two but the beginning is the hardest and once you’re through the actual withdrawal the rest becomes easier. I didn’t even go to a family event because I knew I’d smoke at it. You’ve gotta do what’s best for you and just remember you won’t always have to avoid smokers.
- Get to know other non-smokers – it sounds weird but I actually liked talking to family members that didn’t smoke because I was so used to being outside with the ones that did! Same with co-workers….I was getting a chance to know more people than I did as a smoker. I also realized that I actually had a lot more fun doing activities instead of just planning my next smoke and smoking it.
- Own your non-smoker title but remember you were there once – it’s ok to hate the smell of cigarettes after you quit, it’s fine to not want to be around it. However, remember what it was like. Don’t forget the guilt, the shame, feeling like a minority and the fear you felt as a smoker because then you won’t be able to help other smokers. You’ve got to remember that it IS hard to see the light. Give them a break.
- DRINK WATER – water cleanses and as a smoker I bet you don’t drink enough as it is because cigarettes taste so bad you always need something more 😉 So learn to enjoy water and carry around a water bottle you can use whenever you want a smoke.
- GO COLD TURKEY – if the gum, the patch, the inhaler, the e-cig or whatever other invention you’ve got is working for you GREAT I couldn’t be happier. However, it is in my honest opinion that the best way to really beat this addiction is to GET RID OF IT COMPLETELY! that means going cold-turkey and living the next 3 days of withdrawal under your covers if you have to. I remember I literally just slept for the first 3 days and ate. So if you are going this route remember 2 things: a) don’t judge yourself in your first week (eat as much as you’d like and be as depressed as you’d like) b) it will get easier, so just keep reminding yourself that quitting is something you want.
DON’T BE A VICTIM OF THE LIES
stop living in envy and start accepting the truth
the cigarette doesn’t deserve all the great labels we give it – it’s killing us but even worse, it’s literally taking our lives away from us. Stop planning when to have your next smoke and start planning what you’ll do instead!
As always everyone is free to contact me at any time I really hope you’ll quit for YOU! when you’re ready, you’ll know and find comfort in the fact that it’s easy and you CAN do it!