Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

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Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby O'seeker » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:27 am

I've decided to make a thread on dealing with quitting smoking cigarettes or any other nicotine habit.

Please share any of your experiences on trying to quit for others, what you think could be done, withdrawal symptoms and causes, stories...etc

I'll start by posting the one thing that has helped me TONS most recently along with mindfulness on feeling the craving separate from "self" (I, me, mine)
In the videos below, it is seen as a cartoonish monster. :lol:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heiTQhqTpd0

Looking forward to your posts.
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:30 am

A few things off the top of my head:
1. Sincerity is the most important thing, not methodology. People that want to quit quit. People that don't want to quit don't or they quit temporarily.
2. You will quit temporarily at least several times before you quit permanently.
3. Cold turkey was the only thing that worked for me; with gum and patches, I still felt like smoking. It's easier to endure 3 days of extreme agony than 6 weeks of prolonged misery.
4. Avoiding people and stress while quitting helped.
5. Hard candy (like Jolly Ranchers) while quitting helped, as did yogurt and soda.
6. It's best (but not always possible) to avoid people who smoke. People whose friends are all smokers often can't quit because cigarettes are so easily available.
7. When you quit, learn to recognize "junkie thinking," all the ways in which your mind comes up with excuses to start smoking, like, "...Just this one!"
8. It's vital to no longer identify yourself as a smoker mentally. Being an "ex-smoker who gave up smoking," is a pain. It's much better to be, "A person who doesn't enjoy smoking and never should've started smoking in the first place."
9. Recognize the fact that smoking brings no joy or benefit: you only enjoy it because you're addicted. That first cigarette (if you've never smoked before) or after a long period of abstinence is not enjoyable.
10. Consider the costs, both financial and health-wise, and what it does to your teeth and breath. Consider the benefits of qutting -- more energy, better sleep, and better sense of smell.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Annapurna » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:51 am

I took "Walnut" Bach flower remedy.

Quit smoking after 5 1/2 weeks.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:49 pm

http://www.herbalremedies.com/walnut10mlvial.html
Walnut types are people who are fulfilling their purpose in life but who under the influence of the opinions, theories or beliefs of others, or of external circumstances in general, may be led to doubt their path.

So glad I'm not a walnut.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Hoo » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:36 pm

Not everyone is the same, so I copied Individual's list and edited it to match my experience. Thanks for doing all that typing, individual :)
I smoked for about 40 years, then quit about 12 years ago. Yup, I started at age 8 and quit around age 50. from age 16 or so, I was smoking over a pack a day, then two packs from the 20s on. Never got to three packs.

"1. Sincerity is the most important thing, not methodology. People that want to quit quit. People that don't want to quit don't or they quit temporarily.
2. You will quit temporarily at least several times before you quit permanently."
(Pretty true for me, though I never achieved a "pure motivation" that I'd call sincerity.)

"3. Cold turkey was the only thing that worked for me; with gum and patches, I still felt like smoking. It's easier to endure 3 days of extreme agony than 6 weeks of prolonged misery." (Didn't work for me. I used the patches. I also used the gum for that emergency craving - the kind where I'd swing into the nearest gas station and buy a pack. I only used the gum for crisis, but it kept me from buying a whole pack and got me through it. Over time the crises disappeared. Over more time, I quit the patches, too.)

"4. Avoiding people and stress while quitting helped." (I was working, among clients, many of whom smoked)
"5. Hard candy (like Jolly Ranchers) while quitting helped, as did yogurt and soda." (Mine was mints)
"6. It's best (but not always possible) to avoid people who smoke. People whose friends are all smokers often can't quit because cigarettes are so easily available." (See #4)
"7. When you quit, learn to recognize "junkie thinking," all the ways in which your mind comes up with excuses to start smoking, like, "...Just this one!"" (Did that, and used the gum as a support)

"8. It's vital to no longer identify yourself as a smoker mentally. Being an "ex-smoker who gave up smoking," is a pain. It's much better to be, "A person who doesn't enjoy smoking and never should've started smoking in the first place."
9. Recognize the fact that smoking brings no joy or benefit: you only enjoy it because you're addicted. That first cigarette (if you've never smoked before) or after a long period of abstinence is not enjoyable." (Was somewhat different for me - we're all different, right?)

"10. Consider the costs, both financial and health-wise, and what it does to your teeth and breath. Consider the benefits of qutting -- more energy, better sleep, and better sense of smell." (True. It was health-related when I made the final successful attempt.)

Smoking was integrated into every part of my life. It went beyond physical and psychological addiction and habituation, though those were certainly keys. Some breathing and sleeping problems began to appear, and that discomfort got my mind over from quitting to "I've quit. The lapses are returns to smoking that I don't need anymore." So my mind shift was a different one than individual gives, but a mind shift just the same, and probably necessary for my eventual success.

I only am sharing the way it worked for me, at a time when I had an incentive to see it through....your mileage may vary. My intent is not to convince anyone of anything, simply to show another path that worked, one time for me. It's not even a method I would have taught, back in my working days :)

Hoo....used to be a smoker...quit as a wordling...has no experience smoking or quitting as a Buddhist...plans to keep it that way. :meditate:
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:00 pm

Quitting smoking will also help your dharma practice, by the way. Because it is an addiction; a craving. Once you can overcome addiction to smoking, you can see that overcoming all other addictions basically involve the same process. It gives you a useful context by which to measure and understand craving and the means of overcoming craving.

You can look at it like this: If you can't give up smoking, your potential for dharma practice in the rest of of your life is pretty limited. Because compared to addiction to sensations, addiction to nicotine is relatively easy to renounce. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Annapurna » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:27 pm

Individual wrote:http://www.herbalremedies.com/walnut10mlvial.html
Walnut types are people who are fulfilling their purpose in life but who under the influence of the opinions, theories or beliefs of others, or of external circumstances in general, may be led to doubt their path.

So glad I'm not a walnut.


You know, that reminded me of something I read in the Bible, and was discussed in school: Luke 18:11

King James Bible
"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are]"

....the preacher said:

and yet he was as other men, and no better: he was a sinner in Adam, as other men; and a sinner by nature, as others are; and had the same iniquities and corruptions in his heart, as others; and had no more goodness in him than other men,and as far from true real righteousness. But he thought of himself as being better....

But back to Bach flowers:

What you can't know as a lay person, are the intricate details about Bach flower remedies that counsellors know.

Walnut is not only a remedy for certain types of people, it is also helpful in certain stressful situations, such as wanting to break a bad habit or addiction or changes in life where people have a hard time adapting to.

Examples: Puberty, pregnancy, menopause, hospitalization, new school, new job, new environment, loss of partner, divorce, home for the old, and so forth.

Basically all changes that cause stress.

Walnut is called the "spell breaker" of the Bach flowers.

Hope that helps.

:anjali:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:45 pm

Annapurna wrote:
Individual wrote:http://www.herbalremedies.com/walnut10mlvial.html
Walnut types are people who are fulfilling their purpose in life but who under the influence of the opinions, theories or beliefs of others, or of external circumstances in general, may be led to doubt their path.

So glad I'm not a walnut.


You know, that reminded me of something I read in the Bible, and was discussed in school: Luke 18:11

:heart:
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby timmbuktwo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 am

And sometimes as you're ridding yourself from all other addictions and cravings "smoking" may be helpful to cope on those days, and when all the others are gone, smoking will leave as well.
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:37 am

timmbuktwo wrote:And sometimes as you're ridding yourself from all other addictions and cravings "smoking" may be helpful to cope on those days, and when all the others are gone, smoking will leave as well.

Please introduce yourself.

Also, as I see it, the advice you gave was very bad!
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby timmbuktwo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:33 am

My name is Tomas Bleho, I am from Oakville Canada, 34 years old, self-employed, of eastern European descent .

Any other questions I will gladly answer, but my question is why was my post "bad" ?
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby octathlon » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:58 am

I quit 10 years ago after smoking for around 20 years or so (too lazy to calculate it exactly). Since then I have had absolutely no desire whatsoever to smoke.

Myth: "You have to really want to quit". Wrong. If you wait until you really want to quit, you'll never do it. You don't have to "want" to, you have to decide to. I didn't want to, but I did, THEN I was glad I did.

There will never be a "good" time to quit. Stressful situations are always going to keep happening, but if you quit you will have less stress in your life (smoking causes you a lot more stress than you realize at the time).

Play whatever mind games are necessary to not have even one cigarette. The cravings diminish more and more the longer you stay quit, so it gets better and better, easier and easier as long as you abstain completely. Examples of mind games I used:

1. If I keep smoking, the suffering I endure from smoking will keep getting worse and worse (more out of breath, sicker, etc). If I quit, the amount of suffering I endure from quitting will keep getting less and less and will come to an end.

2. After having a cigarette, later you will feel craving for one. But after not having a cigarette, later you will feel craving for one. So may as well not have one.

3. If right now you have a craving for a cigarette, pretend like you just had one a while ago. The way you feel right now would be the same either way.

4. I wouldn't let someone else force me to do something against my will, I'm certainly not going to let my own stupid conditioned responses force me to do something against my will. I have control over my own behavior.

5. Concentrate on something else (I wasn't meditating back then, but it seems like that would have been a big help).

6. /*shake fists */ By god, I don't care if they have to tie me down and lock me in a room, I'm quitting! (Unfortunately, I had to go to work every day, so I didn't get to indulge in that method, but I did say that!).

7. After a week, look back at the first two days and notice how much easier it is now. After a month, look back at the first week and notice how it's way easier now. Etc.

make up your own, any kind of story (no matter how crazy) or logic (no matter how twisted) that helps you.

Techniques:
  • You can see from the above that I use the "cold turkey will power" technique. I had cut way down for a couple years before finally quitting though.
  • Get the nicotine out of your system as soon as possible, which means no gum or patches -- keep putting it into your system and you're just torturing yourself.
  • When you get a craving, draw in a deep, long breath as if deeply inhaling a cigarette, then blow it out as slowly as possible. Optional: Then drink some cold water. For me, the craving would go away after doing this just once or twice.
  • Sunflower seeds!
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:09 am

The first time I quit it was during a ten-day vipassana course. one can't smoke during the course and, primarily as a result of practicing vipassana, I didn't feel like smoking again after the retreat. Unfortunately, after my retreat I went home and because I was living with friends who all smoked like chimneys, I started up again.
The most successful method I used to quit was to go on a 12-week program of 'nicotine replacement therapy' which were patches. The first four weeks I was on 21mg patch per day, then it went down to 14mg patches for four weeks, and the final four weeks was 7mg. That was eight years ago and I haven't even felt like a cigarette since. The hardest part of the program was the first 12 hours where one couldn't smoke nor have the patch.
I encourage everyone who smokes to give up. It sucks the money out of your wallet and it eventually kills you.
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:15 am

octathlon wrote:When you get a craving, draw in a deep, long breath as if deeply inhaling a cigarette, then blow it out as slowly as possible. Optional: Then drink some cold water. For me, the craving would go away after doing this just once or twice.

Forgot to mention that. Breathing meditation and chanting helped me also. Deep, relaxed mindful breathing.

With chants, nothing in particular. Just, "Ah Ah Ah Ah" in a monotone while still doing deep mindful breathing. I don't know exactly what tone you're supposed to use but I know the right one when I vocalize it, because it simply feels good. Maybe that sounds stupid, though.

Also, lots of hot showers... And lots and lots of sleep. As much sleep as possible.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby Annapurna » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:10 pm

Aaahh....wish we had the American energy prices....!
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Re: Quitting the Nicotine Habit.

Postby andre9999 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:12 pm

Annapurna wrote:Aaahh....wish we had the American energy prices....!


It can be yours for the low, low price of exploiting undeveloped nations! :guns:
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