I used to think that quitting smoking was a fairly straightforward process: Taper down, either by limiting consumption and/or using a nicotine supplement. Eventually the smoker is free of their addiction. Simple! Right? Er, not so much, as it turns out.
Before I go on, I need to make a confession: I'm not, nor have I ever been a smoker.
Someone very close to me was a smoker, though, and I tried to "help" them by offering the very same advice I opened this article with. Needless to say, I wasn't being very helpful. In fact, without even realizing it, my very lack of understanding, my trivializing of the problem was actually aggravating things.
Fortunately, I woke up and realized that I was being dense. I stopped trying to help my friend with his addiction, but instead I listened to him talk about it without passing judgement, and offered my support as he tried different programs and techniques.
I'm happy to say that he did quit, and I'll share the exact program that he used at the end of this article, but while he was going through the process there is one thing that really jumped out at me, and that's what I am going to share with you here.
Like most people, I had made the supposition that the smoking addiction is essentially a chemical phenomenon. I mean, nicotine is a legitimately addictive chemical, right? Obviously it is, but based on my conversations with my friend, it became clear that the chemical aspect wasn't the only factor, possibly not even the most important one.
The breakthrough, for me, came when he talked about not having cravings all the time. In fact, the cravings were highly dependent on what he was doing, where he was, or other definite external factors.
My friend had previously experienced something that most people who have tried, and failed, to quit have gone through: A smoker will go for some period of time following whatever approach they have selected, and things will seem to be going well, until something hits them from left field, and they break down and backslide.
Most of the time, the would be quitter will chalk it up to the chemical cravings, instead of the context that prompted their cravings in the first place.
So, if context is so important, then shouldn't it be front and center in anyone's effort to stop smoking?
In fact that's really the key to making any strategy to stop smoking work. The actual technique, whether it's a patch, or gum, or a taper down, etc. is secondary to understanding when the quitter will be most tempted to break down and start smoking again.
My friend diligently identified every point in his daily routine where the impulse to smoke was strong, and then came up with strategies for dealing with those situations. I'm convinced that this practice can make the difference for you as well.
If you want a complete "how to stop smoking" program, in fact the very one that my friend himself used, you can find it here: The program my friend used.
by Matt C. Parker
Available exclusivley at UberBaz.