I Want To Know How to Quit Smoking But Not Today

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Even while you are still smoking, you may well be thinking to yourself, 'I want to know how to quit smoking'. Many smokers say this to themselves every day. A common train of thought is: 'If I go on smoking, my health will deteriorate. I can't let that happen, so, I have to quit smoking.'

In fact, this is never true. When you believe that you 'have to' stop, you fail to acknowledge that you've got the freedom to continue - whether you want that freedom or not! You do, in fact, have the freedom to go on smoking and have your health deteriorate. This doesn't mean that you will go on smoking; it just means you've got the option of doing so.

If you stop smoking believing you have to stop, you are telling yourself you have no choice about it. You are telling yourself that you are being forced, or forcing yourself, to stop. Then stopping smoking becomes, instead of the liberation it really is, a sentence of doom.

It feels like a sentence of doom because you feel as if you have been trapped, or that you have trapped yourself. It's no wonder smokers keep procrastinating about stopping! Many smokers live through their whole lives telling themselves that they 'have to' stop smoking- but not today.

A thought that has quite different implications is: 'I want to stop smoking.' However, as soon as anyone gets serious about stopping, their attitude is often: 'I don't really want to stop, but I have to.' And they completely forget that quitting smoking is something they want to do. When you accept that you don't ever have to, you may begin to see that, in fact, you do really want to.

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms and Symptoms of Deprivation

Most smokers believe themselves to be deprived, to some degree, during the process of stopping smoking, but the experience can be very different for different kinds of people. This partly depends on how strongly the denial of choice is believed.

Anger and irritability are very common. Some ex-smokers will pick fights with people, become intolerant, impatient, aggressive and even rude. It can seem that their personality has completely changed since they stopped smoking.

Ex-smokers in a state of deprivation will often feel a sense of panic. They feel stressed, restless and can even get symptoms of extreme anxiety such as palpitations, sweating and trembling. They will feel tense as well, clenching muscles in the jaw, neck, shoulders and hands.

Some feel martyred and resentful about having stopped. All the fun has gone out of their lives. They may become profoundly depressed, withdrawn and apathetic, even to the point of thinking that a life without smoking may not be worth living. There is often a deep sense of self-pity and it is not unusual to start envying other people who are still smoking. They think, 'Poor me, lucky them.'

When people feel deprived, they often see stopping smoking as a great loss. Tears are shed, as if something wonderful has been taken away from them, against their will. They feel like victims. It feels like there's a huge void in their life that won't ever be filled.

At this stage, your past life as a smoker can begin to look like 'the good old days'. You become obsessed with smoking, and begin to figure out ways to justify going back to it. Perhaps you start an argument with someone (especially a person who has been pushing you to stop), or you stage some kind of drama so that you have a good excuse to smoke. Or you make do with a not-so-good excuse.

While you have a sense of deprivation your desire to smoke won't diminish. It becomes exaggerated, more intense, and you can still be yearning for a smoke for hours at a time, months after stopping - if you can keep yourself from smoking for that long.

Perhaps the most undermining effect of this state of deprivation is that you completely lose sight of your motivation to stay stopped. Maybe when you were smoking, you were longing to stop. You were sick of smoking, for ever. So you stopped, but now, instead of feeling joy and relief, you feel as if you are being punished - even tortured! You don't see anything good at all about not smoking, life without smoking looks dull and boring. And then you really can't remember one reason why you ever thought of giving up such a fabulous pastime!

Feeling deprived makes stopping smoking dramatic and unbearable, and blows everything up out of all proportion. One person may feel a bit light-headed and disorientated for the first day after they've stopped, but they take that in their stride. Someone experiencing deprivation will over-react to that by thinking they are losing their mind.

If you allow a state of deprivation to persist, it's going to be virtually impossible for you to stay stopped: it's very difficult to stay motivated to keep on depriving yourself!

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