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The First Step to Successfully Stop Smoking

Oct 11, 2007
Few things in life are as difficult as stopping smoking. The tobacco addiction has been compared to heroin addiction, though I have talked to counselors who work with heroin addicts and smokers and they have assured me that tobacco addiction, while strong, is not really as powerful or difficult to manage as heroin addiction. But one thing both addictions have in common, in fact, that all addictions have in common, is that once a human being is addicted to a substance, the addiction, though it may be managed, lasts for a life time. So if you are a smoker today you will be a smoker for life. You may stop smoking for years, but if you start to smoke, thinking you will smoke occasionally, then you will soon find yourself right back where you started, wishing you had never tried to smoke a little. It is the same as if you were managing an alcohol addiction, a reformed alcoholic can't take "just one drink," and a reformed smoker can't take "just one puff."

The worst part of stopping smoking is the immediate withdrawal symptoms which may vary from person to person, but are found in almost every incidence of smoking cessation. The first 72 hours are the critical hours when smokers find it the hardest to stick with the stop smoking plan. Therefore, it is important to look ahead and make plans for how you will deal with the symptoms. That should be the first step in your stop smoking program. Ask yourself, "What will I do if I crave a cigarette?" If there are times when you are more likely to smoke, like after a meal, while driving, while out drinking with friends, for instance, then you should plan ahead and think of ways to deal with those situations. Having a clear plan that you can fall back on will make your chances of quitting a lot better.

The old saying, "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail," certainly applies to many misguided attempts to stop smoking. One mistake that smokers often make is thinking that they will think of something creative when the time comes to deal with a strong urge to smoke, or they ignore that possibility and disregard the danger of giving in to the urge to smoke. If you don't manage your smoking habit, then your smoking habit will soon be managing you. Isn't that what has been happening all along?

Very few people manage to stop smoking on their first try. It often takes several attempts before the smoker successfully handles the addiction. The reason for this is twofold. First, when you first try to stop smoking you don't know exactly what to expect. You may have heard other people talk about their attempts and experiences, but since no two people are exactly alike, you still don't know for sure how your attempts to stop smoking will feel or affect you. Secondly, since you don't know what it feels like to stop smoking it is difficult to plan ahead for ways that you will deal with cravings and other urges that may occur.

Once you have attempted to stop smoking a few times you will know how your body reacts to nicotine deprivation and the psychological affect of giving up smoking. So it is wise to consider each attempt, whether completely successful or not, as a positive step toward stopping smoking. The first few attempts are trial runs, training efforts, and learning experiences. Each experience, no matter how painful or frustrating, can be looked at as a valuable lesson and that will help to relieve the frustration and disappointment of a failed attempt.

Another valuable resource that should not be overlooked is the advice of people who have been able to stop smoking and professional counselors who help with addictions. Their advice and support can help you to avoid some of the pitfalls. When you decide to stop smoking you are making one of the biggest and potentially life saving decisions of your life, so using every possible aid at your disposal makes good sense. It all starts with a good plan.
About the Author
To learn more about a successful stop smoking plan visit Use Hypnosis to Stop Smoking where you'll find helpful information about successfully stopping smoking and the methods that are available.
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