The amazing thing about nicotine addiction: It's an addiction! Like, you feel like you can't stop no matter how much you want to! The second amazing thing about nicotine addiction: People who have never been addicted to cigarettes (or smoked significantly less than you before they quit) cannot fundamentally understand how difficult quitting is, which just makes the lone smoker left feel crappy and misunderstood, and thus return to smoking. There's just no way to really describe it to them! Can you describe it? I can't — but the best example is this woman who slapped a police officer a few weeks ago just to go to jail and be forced to quit smoking because she is IN JAIL.
Even a party/social smoker who gave it up is different than someone who will put on a North Face jacket over their pajamas at 3 AM in 16 degree weather to crawl out on the fire escape and have a Marlboro 27 alone. It's awesome that your social smoker friends quit! Good for them! But it is harder for those of us who fell further down the rabbit hole.
It's also rough when you're a particularly conscientious smoker — I never smoke indoors, and on the street I go out of my way to not walk in front of people while smoking. Especially with children, I do a weird run-skip down the street away from them. And you feel like it's not hurting anybody but yourself. But as conscientious as that is, that's not good either!
We who have continuously struggled with quitting all know the basic tenets: Drink a lot of water, pick a quit date, suck on a lollipop, breathe, try not to drink (haaaa), et cetera. But since addiction tends to trump all of these practical tips, here are some things that will not appear on the smoking cessation emails or Quit-Smoking hotline websites that make you feel really bad when you're hittin' the tobaccy again after a particularly bad relapse.
Acknowledge the fact that you have, as they say, stayed too long at the fair.
It may have been awesome to clandestinely smoke out the window of your sophomore dorm, but now everyone around you is doing Bikram yoga and drinking green juices made of kale and tree branch. Under different circumstances, like if you are the only person in your group of friend who enjoys the smell of Axe or the show The Big Bang Theory, I would fully endorse you just doing you. But The Big Bang Theory, as far as we know, does not give you debilitating illnesses, rot your teeth, or generally American History X-style curb-stomp your health.
Realize just how fucking long you have been smoking, which will feel like you just dropped an ice-cold fillet of sole down your pants.
For instance: I realized that if I got pregnant the day I had my first cigarette (not advised), I would now have a child old enough to hate me. Really kills your buzz.
Stop muting those commercials with the woman from Queens who lost her fingers, or the guy who had to get a tracheotomy.
Other people have done this for years and years, right? Or just me.
Get an app.
I like the Livestrong quit-smoking app a lot, probably because you get little “awards” for insignificant shit. Like collecting Pokemon that fight cancer!
This will help you realize how much money you are spending on cigarettes. Jesus Christ. It will blow your mindddd.
Just to put it in perspective: I don’t have health insurance, and one of my glasses lenses is being held inside its frame with Scotch tape, and a pack of cigarettes — of which I have been smoking about half a day for four-odd years — is $13. Adulthood!
Get a facial or something every time you've gone two weeks/a month/whatever without smoking.
If you’re going to use the patch, make sure you use one that’s not too strong.
I got the 25mg ones to start, and they made me dizzy and nauseous. After speaking to someone on the NY Quitline, I was told to basically ignore the correspondence between number of cigarettes and patch strength level and pick the lesser-strength one that did not make me feel like crap, because everyone’s body is different, and blah blah blah.
Enjoy not getting the shits at inconvenient times! HEYYYO!
Cigarettes are a purgative. You will not miss having to excuse yourself to the bathroom of a fancy restaurant (or worse, mid-hookup) during a date because you have the tobacco-induced runs. That’s a medium-expensive locally-sourced free meal that you’re water-pooping out! (Sorry not sorry for TRUTHBOMBS.)
And some helpful reminders for your smoke-free friends!
- “That’s bad for you.” Oh my God, IT IS?
- Don’t make us feel like shit for slipping one time. We feel bad enough.
- Don’t pressure us to buy cigarettes because you feel like having one when you’re drunk, because then we have the pack the next day (if we don’t smoke the other 19 as soon as we break the damn seal open), and FUUU.
- Tough love does not work for everyone. Truth-talking about the horrible effects of tobacco will probably only work if you've been there too. Quitting is tough, and it's very hard to listen to someone who has never smoked a cigarette yell at you about having more willpower, even if they're right.