How I dealt with cigarette cravings
When I first tried to quit, the physical cravings were so intense that I did not think I would ever get through more than a day or two. Making it to the next hour sometimes seemed impossible. And the number of times I relapsed is testimony to how difficult it was for me - if it had been easy, I would certainly never have put myself through that dreadful process over and over again.
Fortunately new products were being introduced all the time that could help me deal with the discomfort of physical withdrawal. I found the patch quite useful in regulating my cravings since I got a steady stream of nicotine without lighting up. The gum did the same thing but I preferred the patch since I could put it on and forget about it. Then the nicotrol inhaler came out and I thought I was in heaven! I could simulate the smoking behavior I loved so much while also receiving the jolts of nicotine I thought I needed, all without the hazards of smoking!
After a series of cycles of trying to quit using these various methods (and a number of other approaches thrown in for good measure), I eventually discovered that by introducing even small amounts of nicotine into my system, I was triggering larger and more powerful cravings.
This phenomenon seemed very similar to my cravings for alcohol. After drinking alcoholically for many years I finally realized that even small amounts of alcohol could trigger binge drinking and that I could never control this habit unless I removed it from my life completely. Once I did that, I became sober, and that was almost 12 years ago.
As far as using nicotine drugs to help me with my cravings, I came to realize that I probably had the same issues with nicotine that I used to have with alcohol. As long as I had any nicotine in my system, I eventually wanted more. Even if I weaned myself off to almost nothing, I could not be sure that I wouldn’t wake up to a bad day and just go buy a pack of cigarettes. In fact this is what I did, time and time again.
Quitting smoking cold turkey seemed to be the only way I could become free of the physical cravings for good. And the emotional cravings just had to be dealt with over time. So that is what I did – I quit cold turkey! It wasn’t until I had many weeks of absolutely no nicotine in my system that the emotional memory of reliance also started to fade. But fade it did, and now I am coming up on seven years without smoking. I am so thankful that I hung in there and never gave up on quitting.
Published On: December 07, 2007