Written By: Katie Schipper
Busting the Myths of Quitting Tobacco in Early-Sobriety
Giving up drugs and alcohol is hard. If it were easy, then we wouldn’t need treatment, and twelve-step fellowships, and therapy, and IOP, and so on. Getting sober is really hard. Giving up tobacco in the midst of giving up drugs and alcohol can sound absolutely psychotic. Trust me, it isn’t.
There’s no evidence that supports the folklore that smoking cigarettes will help you stay sober or that giving up cigarettes is harder in early-sobriety than at other times. In support groups or addiction treatment centers, it might seem like everyone is smoking. Remember, this isn’t true! Besides, it’s going to be hard no matter when you decide to quit. So, if you want to quit smoking, guess what? There are a lot of resources to help! There are also some universal tips, regardless of whatever method you decide to use.
Tips to Help Quit Smoking: Getting Started
The first thing to keep in mind is why you want to quit. For most people, knowing cigarettes are deadly and knowing the benefits of quitting aren’t enough. The consequences aren’t staring us in the face, so death isn’t a big motivator for most.
For me, I’d gotten to the point where I was waking up in the middle of the night because of the smell of cigarettes on my clothes and hands. I was essentially disgusted beyond justification. I couldn’t keep smoking. I kept all that in mind as one of many small motivators for quitting.
Tips to Help Quite Smoking: The Announcement
Another tip to help quit smoking is that you don’t have to quit alone! Now, that doesn’t mean you have to recruit others to quit with you, but let people know you’re quitting. If you try to do it without letting anyone know, it’ll be that much easier to quit quitting.
Remember, quitting smoking isn’t easy! You’ll want to start smoking again! Telling a roommate/significant other/family member/loved one that you’re quitting helps keep you accountable. It also reminds you why you wanted to quit in the first place.
Tips to Help Quite Smoking: Managing Stress
Try to manage your stress levels in other ways. Giving up a vice like cigarettes is rough, not just because of the nicotine addiction, but because cigarettes are used in a myriad of ways to ease minor anxieties. You’re going to have to learn how to deal with these after quitting smoking. In a group setting and need a break? Go outside and smoke a cigarette. Fighting with someone you love? Go smoke a cigarette? Awake and breathing? Go smoke a cigarette.
Pulling out a pack of cigarettes and lighting one is an intensely reliable ritual. If you can find other ways to manage day-to-day stress, it’ll increase your chances exponentially.
Tips to Help Quit Smoking: Don’t Give Up!
The very best tip to help you quit is that you shouldn’t give up if you slip. Keep trying. Not smoking is a process and you don’t have to give up if you don’t do it perfectly. Doing other simple things, like eating well and exercising, can help as you’re quitting.
Reward yourself for small milestones. A day without a cigarette is a big deal, just like a week, or a month, or a year is a big deal. You can reward yourself for those accomplishments.
To get further help, visit the American Cancer Society’s website – there are a lot of tools to help.