When addicts give up alcohol or drugs they are taking a significant step towards a better way of living. They are choosing a new path, and many will be able to completely turn their life around. Most addicts will have picked up other bad habits along the way, and some would say that it is their job in recovery to kick these as well. One of the most destructive of these habits can be smoking cigarettes. Overcoming this addiction is not something that people are advised to do in the early months of recovery, as they will already have enough on their plate, but it is something that they should try to quit once they are established in recovery. A nicotine addiction may not destroy a person’s life in the same way as an alcohol or drug addiction, but it can certainly lead to a great deal of suffering.
There are many reasons for why people should give up smoking cigarettes but here are just 10 of the most compelling ones:
* Smoking cigarettes can greatly shorten a person’s lifespan. It has been suggested that every pack of cigarettes and individual smokes will take 28 minutes off their life – this means that the average smoker may die 25 years before they need to.
* This habit can be damaging to loved ones. Secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and other health problems.
* The financial costs of this habit can be high. The money that people save by giving up this habit can be enough to pay for at least one foreign holiday each year.
* Those who smoke tend to be physically unfit. This means that the lack energy and do not have the capacity to get the most out of life.
* People who smoke cigarettes will tend to carry an unpleasant odor around with them.
* There have been many unintentional fires caused by carless smokers. Giving up this habit means that the individual will be less likely to burn down their house.
* By giving up smoking the individual will be cutting their risk of developing many diseases including cardiovascular disease. It is one of the best decisions a person can make in regards to protecting their own health.
* Smoking makes people look much older than they actually are. This is because all that puffing puts wrinkles on their face.
* The individual will be able to get back their sense of smell again if they quit cigarettes. This means that they can really enjoy food again.
* Being a slave to any drug is no fun. It may even limit the ability of people to go places if they are worried about not being able to smoke.
There are some important reasons for why people in recovery should give up smoking including:
* Recovery should be all about breaking free from addictions. By giving up smoking cigarettes the individual is increasing their own freedom.
* Many people associate smoking with drinking alcohol or using drugs. This means that their habit may continue to act as a trigger for memories of substance abuse – they could end up romancing the drink or drug.
* The most common reason for why people give up alcohol or drug addiction is that they become sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Cigarettes will be one more thing that is making them feel sick and tired so they should give it up.
* Most smokers feel a little guilty about their habit – it is hard not to because there is a growing anti-smoking atmosphere in the media and in society as a whole. Guilt can be like a poison to people who are recovering from an addiction.
* In order to get the most out of their recovery the individual will need to make healthier choices. Giving up smoking will be part of this.
* The individual is likely to have already wasted many years on addiction. They would be wise not to reduce the number of years they have left by continuing to smoke.
* Living in recovery is all about facing life on life’s terms. People can turn to smoking as a means to avoid facing their problems.
* When people become sober they can still suffer from [low self esteem](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/addiction-and-low-self-esteem/]. By giving up smoking the individual is able to increase their self esteem.
* Those who smoke cigarettes tend to be physically unfit, and this means that they are unable to get the most out of their sobriety.
* Life in recovery is a new start, and it is best to go forward with no lingering addictions.
It is sometimes suggested that people who have giving up an alcohol or drug addiction should avoid trying to give up smoking cigarettes until they have been a year sober. This is reasonable advice. The individual will already have enough on their plate with adjusting to their new life. The risk is that if they try to give up smoking as well it may all become a bit overwhelming. There are other individuals who do decide that they just want to give up smoking right away, and they somehow manage to do this in the first year of recovery. It is up to each person to decide for themselves, but they should not do anything to put their sobriety in jeopardy. If it is a choice between smoking cigarettes and drinking or doing drugs then nicotine is going to be less harmful.
Mark Twain is credited as saying:
_To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times_.
It would probably be an exaggeration to say that giving up smoking is always going to be easy, but the real challenge is staying stopped. Here are 15 suggestions for how people can stop and stay stopped:
* Expectations can play a part in how people experience the withdrawal symptoms after giving up nicotine. If people expect it to be hard then it surely will be – the best advice is to stay positive and understand that these symptoms are usually no worse than mild flu symptoms.
* It is best is arguably better if people begin to view themselves as ‘non-smokers’ rather people who have giving up cigarettes. The fact that they now view themselves as people who do not smoke means that they will have fewer justifications for returning to their old ways.
* Techniques such as mindfulness medication can be highly effective at helping people deal with cravings. The individual learns to just view cravings as just thoughts arising in their mind that they are under no obligation to obey – these cravings disappear when they are acknowledged for what they are.
* It can be a good idea if people write down their reasons for wanting to quit. If they have periods where their determination appears to be wavering they can go back and read this letter.
* Some people find that it helps if they tell all their friends and family about their determination to quit smoking. This can add to their motivation to give up the habit because they don’t wish to appear weak in front of their loved ones.
* There are many free resources available online that are there to help people give up smoking. It is possible to get support and encouragement from online communities such as Quitnet
* Some individuals find that they struggle with the idea of giving something up. A more positive way of looking at things is to view quitting smoking as embracing a healthier lifestyle.
* It may be helpful if people save the money they would have spent on smoking in a jar where they can see it. After a few months they will likely find that there is a significant amount of money in that jar.
* Some people find it easier to quit if they have a reward to look forward to. For example, they might promise to buy themselves the latest fancy gadget if they manage to go three months without a cigarette.
* It is recommended that people avoid turning to food to help them deal with nicotine cravings. If they become overweight they could use this as an excuse to return to smoking.
* As soon as people feel ready it is a good idea to develop some type of fitness regime. This will emphasize their commitment to a new healthier lifestyle.
* If the individual feels like giving up they should just use delaying tactics. This urge to return to smoking will pass if the individual is able to keep delaying their relapse.
* Sometimes people can feel a bit rotten for a few days and even weeks after quitting. The important thing to remember is that these discomforts will come to an end, and the individual will be glad that they saw their quit through.
* Another helpful technique is to visualize how good it will feel to be a non-smoker. By spending time imagining this life it will increase the motivation to achieve it.
* If people fail in their attempt to quit smoking they need to refocus their energies and try again.