As soon as you quit, you’ll quickly realize how many times you’ll be making excuses. You may quit and be completely convinced that you’ve quit for good and nothing will stand in your way.
In reality, that is just simply not the case.
Sometimes all it takes is one sharp instant, like a memory from your past, or an attractive person you see walking down the street, or even a text message from an old friend.
Text messages were a big issue for me when I quit.
Since I tried to quit so many times, I wouldn’t tell anyone, so they didn’t have any idea. I’d get texts asking me to join them for happy hour or for drinks at home.
They are not to blame, of course, but that one simple text from them sent me into a spiral of relapse.
It happened a few times.
I specifically remember my friend texting me asking me to go out, and because I was only on Day 4 and very, very vulnerable, my inner addiction got me and I was smoking before I even came in contact with her.
It wasn’t her fault at all, it was mine.
I was justifying smoking because I knew I was going to be drinking, and I wanted to hangout. I didn’t want to NOT hangout, but I knew if I did I would end up drinking.
If I was drinking, I most definitely would be smoking, since I was only on Day 4. I wasn’t near ready for that sort of environment. It was way too early, yet I didn’t want to be a bad friend.
In the end, I should’ve just said NO!
Sometimes all it takes is a certain day of the week.
Perhaps you have the whole weekend off work, and you just ended your work week on a stressful note.
It’s very possible you’ll be thinking, “Well, I’ll just smoke tonight and quit tomorrow. I’ve got the whole weekend to quit.”
“I’ve made it the whole day without one cigarette. I can have just this one. It’s not as bad as smoking an entire pack, right?”
“I just won all this money, I need to celebrate with a cigarette!”
“My friend just died, I have to smoke. It’s OK because this is a hard moment for me.”
“I haven’t quit for that long. I might as well just indulge tonight because there is a party I really want to go to. I’ll jump right back on that bandwagon tomorrow. I promise.”
“I can take a couple drags and be fine. Plus no one would ever know.”
“It just tastes so good! I’m not ready to give that up yet.”
You could come up with 1000’s of reasons in your mind.
You just have to get through the physical withdrawal. 3 weeks is all it takes and you’ll be justifying it less and less as time goes on.
Realize that every thought, at the beginning, is controlled by nicotine. You don’t actually want a cigarette, but your mind does.
Beforehand you were determined to stop, but now that the cravings strike back you suddenly need one? NO!
It’s just a mind game.
That’s all it is, and if you can get past that and know in your heart that things will get better over time, you’ll be well on your way to success.
You’ll come up with the most ridiculous thoughts, and yet somehow and sometimes, they work, and you end up relapsing.
It can be as basic as a thought from the past, a scene from a TV show or movie, or even eye contact from a complete stranger.
Cravings comes from all directions. You need to be prepared.
What people don’t realize is that when you are ready to quit smoking, I’m sure there are tons of goals that you wish to fulfill.
Yet, when you’re in the moment of a strong craving, do you think you’ll be thinking of those goals? No, you won’t.
In fact, that’s how sneaky nicotine cravings can get.
What they do, in fact, is conjure up the perfect scenario in your head which will ultimately lead you back to your old, nasty habit.
“My friends don’t know that I’ve quit yet, I can smoke some more and then tell them.”
“I’ll quit at the beginning of the month. That’s a nice round number. It’ll be easier to remember that way.”
“I’ll quit after the wedding. I have to smoke during it because I will be drinking heavily.”
“It’s just too painful. I’ll try again next week.”
“I can’t quit in the summertime because everybody smokes during the summer. I won’t be able to handle it.”
“Smoking would be so cool right now.”
It’s imperative you understand that every thought is just the addiction talking, and nothing else. Plus, as time goes by, those crazy thoughts occur less frequently.
That is a fact.
What’s also true when you give in to cravings, is that you aren’t just affecting that specific moment in time, you are affecting the next few days, or even weeks.
Typically, a relapse resulting from justifying “one drag” turns into a pack and who knows what else along the way.
When I gave into the mind games of nicotine and I relapsed, I immediately bought a pack of cigarettes.
But that’s not all I did.
I would punish myself for smoking by going to the bar and drinking and spending all my money on the slot machines.
I would think, “OK, I’ll smoke tonight and go out with a bang! I’m going to go all out, and I don’t care how I’ll feel in the morning. I want to feel so horrible about myself that I never turn to cigarettes again.”
What happened the next day?
Yes, I would feel horrible, being back at square one, hungover, broke, and mentally at the bottom of the barrel.
But unfortunately, those feelings go away as the day goes on, and the thoughts of “smoking sounds good right about now” come back.
The cycle continues.
That “tomorrow” never comes. It turned into a week long (or more) ordeal each and every time.
So, when you finally stop and the cravings and triggers start overpowering your mind, think about what is happening.
Do you want to start all over again at square one?
Is it really worth putting the addiction back into your body because you just want one drag? Have you forgotten how awful you felt while you were a smoker?
I can guarantee you that once you give in just for one cigarette, for whatever reason, and you honestly believe you’ll feel better about yourself, and whatever situation you’re in will be cooler because of it, it’s simply not the truth.
You’ll immediately feel much worse, and quite regretful. You’ll be ashamed of yourself, only now the addiction is back inside you full force.
That one cigarette (or even just a drag) has now suddenly sent you all the way back to square one, and you have to go through withdrawal all over again.
It sucks. Don’t do it.