Recovery Means Breaking Your Addiction to Smoking for Good

The early days after quitting are often the toughest as you begin to break the Three-Link Chain of Addiction. You can get through it! The tips and ideas in this session will help.

Breaking Physical Addiction

On Quit Day, you learned how to cope with the physical symptoms of recovery. To continue with your recovery and breaking free of this addiction:

Keep following the tips provided in Session 5. You can go back to review them anytime.

If you are using quit-smoking medication make sure you keep using it as directed even if you slip and smoke a cigarette.

If you are reconsidering a decision not to use medication or are having trouble with your medication talk to your healthcare provider. You can also review Session 2 for guidance.

Keep going. Physical recovery will get easier over time and eventually symptoms will go away if you stay tobacco-free.

Physical symptoms are signs your body is recovering. You just need to get through the first few weeks and you’ll feel a lot better—and be healthier too.

Breaking Social and Mental Addiction

Social and mental addiction to tobacco can take longer to overcome. You’ll need both short- and long-term strategies to fill the role smoking had in your life with more positive behavior. Your first priority is to get through the next two weeks without smoking. Session 8 will then help you start planning for the long run.

Understanding the Grief Cycle

The social and mental addiction recovery process is very similar to the Grief Cycle you might go through after a major life change or loss. You grieve for the old to make room for the new. There are five stages to the Grief Cycle. Select each box to learn more.

Stage One: Denial and Isolation

“I feel fine. Smoking isn’t harming my health yet.”

  • Although you know the importance of quitting, you may still not want to believe it.
  • This is the mind’s way of protecting you during times of sudden change or loss.
  • The good news is that you may already have gone through this stage before you started this course or while you were completing Part 1: Getting Ready.

Stage Two: Anger

“Why is it so darn hard to quit?”

  • Many people find comfort in smoking. It’s common to feel anger about the loss of this “friend”.
  • You may feel angry about everything and angry at everybody too, even if they have nothing to do with you quitting smoking.
  • Don’t try to resist anger. It’s part of the process. Instead, accept it, safely vent it and take time to feel it.
  • Sometimes naming the feeling helps lower the intensity of the anger.

Stage Three: Bargaining

“I’ll stay quit as long as my weight stays down.” Or “I’ll stay quit as long as work doesn’t get too stressful.”

  • This stage is about trying to postpone the inevitable. That means being tempted to make deals and empty promises to yourself.
  • Slips and relapse are common during this stage. Be alert!
  • If you are ready for these feelings it will be easier to move past them.
  • Try laughing off the desire to make a deal. Have a heart-to-heart with yourself about staying strong.
  • Use the statement, “Nothing and no one controls me.” Giving in to bargaining gives the cigarette the control.

Stage Four: Depression

“Life is just not the same without smoking.”

  • Stage four can be experienced as a deep sense of loss or deprivation. Although it’s not the same as clinical depression, a period of sadness is common when quitting smoking.
  • It’s natural to feel this way especially if no one seems to understand your loss.
  • Like anger, don’t resist this stage. Accept it, talk about it and take some time to just feel sad. Then you can move on and focus on the benefits of quitting.

Stage Five: Acceptance

“I think I can really do this.”

  • Eventually you’ll begin to realize that the smoking phase of your life is over. You’ll resolve your sense of loss and focus on the future.
  • You can now get on with living a new, healthier lifestyle.

Experiencing the Grief Cycle is just one way to view the quit-smoking process. Try to move through each stage with a sense of challenge, expectation and excitement about what lies ahead.

Coping With Stress After Quit Day

Quitting is stressful for many people. Even small irritations can seem like full-blown major problems. Whereas you might have used a cigarette to cope before, now you will need to tap into other, better options.

10 Ways to Stress Less

Here are some short-term coping techniques to get you through the times you feel stressed:

  • Keep busy with any small distraction.
  • Call a friend to vent.
  • Count to 10, or any number that works for you.
  • Meditate.
  • Walk away from the stressor.
  • Find a way to release energy (do something active, cry or laugh).
  • Write about it.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs.
  • Do a relaxation exercise.
  • Remind yourself why you are choosing to live life without cigarettes.

Take This Moment for a Relaxing Break

By continuing to use relaxation exercises as a part of your new routine, you’ll create an atmosphere where it’s easier to manage your emotions. This exercise combines the techniques you already learned for deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Remember you can visit the Resources section to download the MP3 files for use any time. You can also find other helpful relaxation exercises.

Listen

Coping With Urges to Smoke

As long as the urge to smoke remains strong after Quit Day, you’ll need to be ready to face temptation. Keep using these three strategies:

Plan ahead for situations that might trigger an urge to smoke.

Use your support network to help you get through tough times.

Ask friends and family members who still smoke to avoid smoking around you.

Now that you’ve made it through Quit Day, it’s a good time to review and build on your Quit Plan. Ask yourself which strategies are helping you and which ones aren’t.

Your Quit Plan, Part 2

How will you continue to deal with the moments that might trigger an urge to smoke?

Think about three things that have worked well to help you stay away from cigarettes. Enter your answers below.

List a few situations that may tempt you to smoke this week and what you could do instead of smoking. You can use the same strategies you already identified or think of new ones specific to each situation.

Remember to think about the Three A’s for ideas as you revise your plan: Avoid the situation. Alter the situation. Use Alternatives for smoking.

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Sticking to your Quit Plan one day at a time—or even one hour at a time or one urge at a time—can help you gain small victories on the path to overcoming your addiction.

Dealing With Negativity

While many people will want to help you quit, not everyone is going to make it easy for you. If you want others to respect your new life as a nonsmoker, try using positive yet assertive communication. This can help you emerge from a negative encounter feeling confident about yourself as a nonsmoker.

Select each item to learn what positive, assertive communication means.

Positive, assertive communication means:

Using “I” statements to keep the focus on how you are feeling rather than on blaming or accusing the other person. Say, “I’d like for you to not smoke around me while I’m quitting,” instead of, “Don’t you care that I’m trying to quit?”

Positive, assertive communication means:

Using facts, not judgments. Say, “Secondhand smoke is harmful too,” instead of, “You’re so inconsiderate when you smoke around people who don’t smoke.”

Positive, assertive communication means:

Making clear, direct requests. Say, “Please be patient with me while I try to break my addiction,” instead of, “Would you mind not bugging me about quitting?”

What Will You Say?

Consider what you would say in two challenging situations.

Read the challenge and then come up with your own response.

Challenge One: Staying Positive Around Negative People

Have you told someone you are quitting smoking only to have that person respond, “Yeah right! I’ve heard that one before.”? When this happens, being ready with a positive yet assertive response can be your best defense and get the best results. For example, you could reply, “Lots of people try a few times before they quit for good. This time I’m more prepared.”

Try it. What will you say?

Your coworker says:"You’re so grumpy. Why don’t you start smoking again?"

Enter your response. Remember, keep it positive:

Read the challenge and then come up with your own response.

Challenge Two: Saying “No” and Meaning It

What if an old smoking buddy tries to get you to have just one more cigarette? You’re going to need to say “no thanks” even if you feel as though you are somehow letting that person down. Just remember these key things:

  • It is okay to say no and there are many ways to say it.
  • Your friend may think one cigarette won’t hurt, but trust us, it’s much easier to have none than one.
  • The more you say no, the easier it will be.
  • Practice saying no until you find the way that’s right for you.

Three ways to say no:

Nice: “Thanks, but I’d rather not. I quit.”

Firm: “No thanks, I’ve quit. Please help me and don’t offer me a cigarette again.”

Funny: “Thanks, but I’ve already had enough!”

Try it. What will you say?

Your friend says: “C’mon. Have a cigarette with me!”

Enter your response. Remember, keep it positive:

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Don’t let anyone get you down. If you need help dealing with negative comments, focus on the things you included in your Reasons for Quitting. You can view them from the Dashboard.

During the early stages of recovery, it’s important to keep reminding yourself about the gift you are giving yourself by quitting. You reviewed many of the health benefits in Session 5. Here are more benefits you’ll enjoy:

  • A renewed sense of self-control. You’re in charge of your life again!
  • More money to spend on things that are important to you.
  • Cleaner teeth and fingers.
  • Fresher smelling breath, clothes, home and car.
  • Knowing you are keeping the air cleaner for those around you too.

Bringing it All Together

One of the most important things you’ll need during the next few weeks is patience with yourself. Breaking your addiction to smoking is often hard but it’s also a necessary step. Just remember the worst will be over soon. Until then:

Don’t smoke! Go directly to Session 7 if you have a slip or think you might relapse.

Keep using the things you’ve learned in this course. Your Quit Plan and the Four D’s will be especially helpful.

Remember the urge to smoke will pass in three to five minutes whether you smoke or not.

Take advantage of the support that’s just a phone call or live chat away at the Lung HelpLine.

Keep using the relaxation exercises in the Resources section.

Don’t let anyone get you down. You are in control of your quit!

There are usually how many stages to the Grief Cycle? Two Three Five There are five stages in the Grief Cycle: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. True or False? You should follow your Quit Plan exactly as written. Even if a strategy doesn’t work the first time, it may help in the future. True False This is false. If something on your Quit Plan isn’t working to help you cope with urges, think of something else to try! Your best defense against a "naysayer" who doesn’t believe you can quit is: Being ready with a positive yet assertive response. Listening and considering whether he or she may be right. Avoiding the person if he or she can’t be nice. When someone makes a negative comment about your quit attempt, a positive yet assertive response is often your best defense. Don’t let that person get you down. Let him or her know you are confident in your ability to quit for good.

Before returning to the Dashboard, it might be valuable to go back and review this session to make sure you understand the key points.

The strategies you learned in this session will be especially important during the first two weeks after Quit Day. If you do slip, or even if you go back to smoking, come back immediately and complete Session 7: Recovering From Slips and Relapse. Even if you are doing great, Session 7 is important to review over the next few days. See you then!

Before returning to the Dashboard, it might be valuable to go back and review this session to make sure you understand the key points.

The strategies you learned in this session will be especially important during the first two weeks after Quit Day. If you do slip, or even if you go back to smoking, come back immediately and complete Session 7: Recovering From Slips and Relapse. Even if you are doing great, Session 7 is important to review over the next few days. See you then!

Great Job! The strategies you learned in this session will be especially important during the first two weeks after Quit Day.If you do slip, or even if you go back to smoking, come back immediately and complete Session 7: Recovering From Slips and Relapse. Even if you are doing great, Session 7 is important to review over the next few days. See you then!

Great Job! The strategies you learned in this session will be especially important during the first two weeks after Quit Day. If you do slip, or even if you go back to smoking, come back immediately and complete Session 7: Recovering From Slips and Relapse. Even if you are doing great, Session 7 is important to review over the next few days. See you then!

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