How to Stop Smoking, First Steps

If you have determined you want to stop smoking, here are some first steps to help you through.

If you will studiously and conscientiously do the internal mind work in preparation for setting the date to be free of smoking, you will be much better prepared for success. Here are some reasons why.

If your addiction is primarily physical, to the nicotine, then you must do the work to flush your system. Drink water, bathe, shower, perspire, eat wisely. It is likely that you can wash the nicotine from your system within 48 hours. Since it's the residual nicotine in your system that cries out for more, you can have this part of the addiction pretty much licked in that time.

If your addiction is primarily habitual, to the routine, then you must do the work to fill your life with better habits. If you work hard on the details, it is likely that you can replace your routines within 30 days. Since old habits never die; they just lie around waiting to be triggered again, you'll need to decide never, never to have another cigarette. Do this and you've won.

If the addiction is primarily emotional, to help you "relax" and get through, then you have to do the hard work of emotional healing. This means you need to find ways to face the hurt and feel it all the way. You do this over a year's time as you face, feel, and win each emotional anniversary. Not only will you be free from smoking, but you will have grown into a person of surprisingly new powers.

Most smokers have a mix of all three addictions, so you have to deal on all levels. So here's your assignment to prepare for the big day of freedom from smoking. Writing all this down is so important I can't tell you enough, Get and keep a journal!

1. Make a page where you write all the benefits you get from smoking, all the reasons you give yourself for why you smoke. When you think of a  new one, add it to the list. If you can't name it just describe it or give an instance or example of it. Then ask yourself regarding each item on your list, "Why is that important to me? What does that do for me?" and write the answers to these questions.

2. Make a page where you write all the disadvantages of smoking, all the guilt triggers. Think in terms of health, finances, family, spirituality, personal integrity, career, whatever else this affects. Get down and dirty with it, honest with what it's doing to you and what it will do to you if you continue.

3. Make a page where you list all your smokes, starting today: time of day, where, what happened before and after the smoke, strength (scale of 1-5) of urge or desire to smoke, sensations or emotional feelings you experienced during this smoke. Be thorough. If you changed locations during the smoke, note it and why. If your feelings changed during the smoke, note that and describe it.

4. Make a page of things you've always wanted to do, a bucket list, if you will. Think of new habits you'd like to start that will send you on your way to accomplishing some new things. List things like a new exercise routine, a new friend, a new community meeting, a new quiet-time routine, a new book to read. Get specific. You're not committing to do these things, so you can list anything and everything you've ever wanted to do, no matter how strange or impossible.

5. Make a page where you list all the losses you can remember from the date or your birth: loss of the womb, loss of a favorite pen, or puppy, death of a pet or friend or family member. List them this way: name the event, date it, give your age at the time, name the most obvious results to you.

6. Then make a page for each loss you listed. Fill that page with free writing about that loss. If the first page comes easily and quickly, then fill another page, and on and on until you've said everything you need to about that loss. Cry if you need to. Call a friend who can just listen as you relive and grieve.

You can email me and let me know how it's going. I care about this.