Some suggestions, which I found useful back in 1984 @ 17:00 E.S.T. when I had my last cigarette:
1. Keep a little notebook in your pocket and write down every time you think about smoking, but don't. This will reinforce "not smoking" behavior. The smoke ending course I took suggested writing down every time I smoked, but this just used to make me feel like a failure, and made me feel guilty for being a failure. So, I decided to reinforce my success, rather than my failure, and that seemed to work well for me. In other words "reinforce" desired behavior, which is "not smoking".
2. Write down where you were, who you were with, what you were doing, and/or what you were eating or drinking when you had the desire to smoke. All of these conditions are what is known as "triggers", knowing them will help you to avoid them in the future. For example, I found that every time I drank a cup of coffee, my right hand automatically started reaching for a cigarette in my left top pocket. This allowed me to do two things: a. stop carrying cigarettes around in my pocket. b. Stop drinking coffee.
The next most important thing I learned from this method was that there was a certain gas station that I used to pass every day where I bought cigarettes from their vending machine. When I saw the gas station my car would swerve automatically into their parking lot, and before I even realized it coins were out of my pocket, into the machine, and my right hand was pulling the handle to dispense my favorite brand of cigarettes.
When writing this down in my little book I realized that I had to not go down that road anymore and to buy my gasoline at another station. That solved that problem.
At work, I used to sit at my desk and smoke one cigarette after another. Whenever the phone would ring, I would reach for and light-up another one. Sometimes I would be lighting up a cigarette talking on the phone and realize that there was a cigarette burning in my ashtray, and another one in my other hand. Can you imagine that? Smoking three cigarettes at once?....Really crazy stuff.
So, when I wrote that down, I decided to give my cigarettes to one of the secretaries, who was a friend and told her not to give me one unless I submitted the request in writing, which included a list of each cigarette I smoked that day, what time I smoked it, and what I was feeling and thinking about, while I smoked it.
One last smoke ending technique, which I was taught, which really helped me more than anything else.
The people who taught the course recommended getting a clear glass jar ( back in those days, they had glass milk bottles) with a screw on lid, and to use it as an ash tray. A large empty mayonaise jar might work if you can still find them. Fill it about one quarter of the way with water, When you finish smoking a cigarette, put the butt inside the bottle and into the water. Take the bottle with you wherever you go: shopping, at work, to meetings with customers, when you take your kids to ball games, to the movies, and etc. "Everywhere!" It is the most disgusting mess you will ever see in your life. And when you open the lid it will really smell disgusting and will act as a personal reminder to you that, while you are free to smoke whenever you want, when you choose to smoke that is exactly what you are putting into your mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, on your clothes, into your hair, and on everyone around you. It is what all your loved ones, friends, and neighbors smell, whenever you come into the room, stand next to them, or when you open your mouth to talk to them.
So, in conclusion, I am with you and totally understand how difficult it is for you to do what you are doing. Keep up the good fight! It is the best possible thing you can do for your health, and for those you love that must breathe the same air your are exhaling, As I said previously: "Excellent!" "Keep up the great work!"
Hope these suggestions are helpful.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.