Kick the smoking habit, not the bucket

Kick the smoking habit, not the bucket


Sunday, July 05, 2020

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LIKE one who rarely masters riding a bicycle on the first go, a tobacco addict rarely quits smoking on the first attempt.

One who masters the art of riding a bicycle makes repeated attempts before attaining success, but isn't it true that the experienced rider may suffer a fall or two? Does he give up? No.

Similarly, addicts who have fallen into relapses must not view these occurrences as defeat, but as learning experiences on a path to success.

Prepare mentally

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

In the spirit of Napoleon Hill's statement, make a list of reasons and benefits for wanting to quit. Believe them, you can achieve them. Have the list close at hand and frequently remind yourself about why you are doing what you are doing.

You also need to know yourself more, as we may be surprised at how little we know ourselves.

Study yourself

Take control of your smoking activity by noting when and where you smoke on a normal day. Note the circumstances and moods that trigger the desire to smoke. By studying ourselves in this detailed way, we are better able to foresee and pre-empt situations after making the resolve to quit.

Make a date

1. Having prepared and studied yourself, set a date – preferably one of your foreseeable lighter, less stressful days. Set the date on your calendar or your electronic device.

2. Quit means quit! If you smoked six times per day, do not say, 'Okay, I'll do four or five and gradually reduce'. Make a sharp rupture. Quit completely!

3. Before the quit date, make sure triggers such as ashtrays, lighters, matches, and tobacco-smelling clothes are all taken care of.

4. Enlist help. Tell your friends and co-workers of your resolve and ask them for moral support in this regard – even have someone close check up on you.

5. Fill time spent smoking with other productive activities. Why not exercise, listen to music or go for nature walks? If 'smoke time' is not occupied, the desire may overtake you again.

Fighting withdrawal

Uneasiness, irritability, feelings of depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, and an acute craving for tobacco are just a few of the withdrawal symptoms. What can you do?

1. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help the effects of these symptoms.

2. Drink plenty of water, even as you start an exercise programme. A lot of water and exercise have been found to calm the body and induce sleep.

3. Fight the vices. A host of things will pop up in your head such as thoughts that we'll all die one day, or that it's the only bad habit you have, or that some heavy smokers live past 90 years old. Tell yourself the habit is bad and harms non-smokers. Besides, “Puss and dog don't have the same luck.”

4. No craving is permanent, so by just delaying the urge to give in by, say, 10 minutes, the desperate craving may pass. Try to hold it at bay.

Millions have broken the habit so you can, too. The first three months are the roughest. Stay the course as you stay away from people and situations that trigger the desire.

Success requires much focus and effort. Aim, therefore, to kick the habit. Failure to do so could find you, instead, kicking the bucket.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Technology, Jamaica.

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