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Knowing how difficult it will be is a HUGE barrier for me - any suggestions?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. mariannec
    mariannec avatar
    5 posts
    Registered:
    20 Mar 2019
    22 Nov 2023
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    Hi all,

    I am a 54 year old female.  Started smoking in my early 20's.  Just registered with the STOP program again and picked up my NRT supports.  I have epilepsy so the medications and cold turkey are not safe options for me.  And slowly cutting back has never worked for me, always feels so agonizing and prolonged, I get frustrated and give up.

    This will be my 7th quit.  I know for many others, having previous quits behind you can be helpful.  As in you did it before, you can do this again kind of confidence.  But ... in my case, having quit before, almost all with NRT, I know how difficult it is to do.  I told my cessation nurse I wouldn't wish NRT on my worst enemy, if that's an indication of my previous experiences with it.

    The anticipation of the difficulties in the first hours, days, and a couple of weeks (for me at least) actually becomes a mental block.  I find it very difficult to push those thoughts out of my mind and focus on the positives I will have after quitting.  I use meditation, affirmations, journaling, and manifestation practices as part of my regular personal life and am using them for this experience too.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for getting through/past my mental barrier?  It's the one and only thing that has my confidence sitting at about 5/10 while my motivation level is a 10/10.  So anything that can boost confidence would be helpful too.

    Thanks in advance, Marianne
    Last modified on 22 Nov 2023 17:00 by mariannec
  2. karen, quit coach
    karen, quit coach avatar
    43 posts
    Registered:
    09 Nov 2022
    23 Nov 2023 in reply to mariannec
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    Hi Marianne,

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have made several attempts in the past to quit smoking and you are ready to try again. Many people would have thrown in the towel, it's very positive that you have chosen to move forward. This tells me that quitting is very important to you. Despite having some challenges in the past with nrt, you are still very motivated to quit smoking. 

    You have some really solid strategies in your quit plan. Meditation, affirmations, journaling, and manifesting are helpful tools that can help you to manage any physical cravings that you may have. Sounds like the challenge for you is learning how to deal with the mental barriers. This is quite common. 

    The good news is that these barriers are learned and can be changed. Think of your brain as a computer. It's almost like you have programmed it to smoke. When you started smoking, you gradually included cigarettes in every aspect of your life. You trained your brain to expect a cigarette at different moments through habit-forming repetition. So now your brain thinks that life will be incomplete without nicotine and all of the situations that you associate with smoking like driving, drinking coffee, socializing, taking a break won't be as enjoyable without it. It's time to reprogram your brain. 

    I'd like to share something called the 3 C's. It stands for Catch it, Check it and Change it. Take some time to reflect on your smoking. Learn what times during the day or what activities you associate with smoking (Catch it), understand how you feel during these moments (Check it) and make some attempts at managing these situations without smoking (Change it). For example, if you found that after meals was a common time to smoke, recognize that moment and then try making a small change to your routine. Get up from table and try washing the dishes by hand. Small changes can add up to make a big difference and they help to reprogram your brain around activities/times that you would normally associate with smoking. 

    I hope you find this information helpful. I am so happy that you found your way to our community forum. It's a wonderful spot to visit for tips and strategies as well as motivation and encouragement. 

    Warm regards,
    Karen, Quit Coach
  3. mariannec
    mariannec avatar
    5 posts
    Registered:
    20 Mar 2019
    16 Dec 2023 in reply to karen, quit coach
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    Hi Karen ... any anyone else reading this because the thread title spoke to them!

    I ended up adding a new support to this quit.  My nurse practitioner suggest re-engaging with the mental health nurse on my family health team.  I worked with her a few years back and really connected with her.  Had my first appointment back with her on Fri Dec 1st.  It was very helpful.

    Plus, I anticipated all positives coming from my appointment with her based on my previous experience being her patient.  So before I left my town to head to where my health team is located, I actually put some NRT gum, an NRT inhaler, and a patch in my purse with the goal of putting the patch on after my appointment.  And I did!

    Finished the appointment, went out to my car, had my last cigarette and spoke affirmations about all of my quit reasons and my strength that I could do this while I smoked it.  Threw it out the window and put a patch on.

    That was at 12:12 pm on Fri Decf 1 and I am still smoke-free!  Woot woot!

    Had my 2nd appointment with my smoking cessation nurse two days ago and see both my nurse practitioner and my mental health nurse again on Monday.

    Still "battling" the mental triggers but day by day they are getting better, and quicker to leave my mind.  I'll be honest, it can be mentally draining at certain hours/on certain days, but one day at a time I know it won't be a regular challenge anymore.

    And I guess I was already using the 3 C's Karen mentioned in her reply.  Nice to have a name for them now and I highly recommend using them to anyone who's trying to quit.  They are working for me.

    Thanks for the support here, it does help .... Marianne
  4. sheza, quit coach
    sheza, quit coach avatar
    5 posts
    Registered:
    16 Oct 2023
    17 Dec 2023 in reply to mariannec
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    Hi Marianne, 

    Congratulations on being over two weeks smoke-free - what a significant achievement! I'm so happy to hear all the great things you've been doing on your quit journey! It's awesome that you reconnected with the mental health nurse and are using the 3 C's method. Your way of having all the NRT products with you and repeating affirmations shows how strong and determined you are. It's really inspiring to see how you handle challenges and keep making progress toward a smoke-free life.

    Remember that the mental triggers will continue to diminish over time, and you're doing an excellent job managing them. The fact that they're getting better day by day is a huge win, and your honesty about the mental drain during certain times is valid. Taking it one day at a time is the perfect approach, and I believe with your determination, these challenges won't be a regular thing before you know it. And you're doing/taking all the right steps to getting the support you need during this process, Marianne. 

    You're not just quitting, you're creating a healthier and happier version of yourself. Keep up the amazing work, Marianne! Your progress is inspiring, and we're here cheering you on every step of the way. Stay strong and celebrate each smoke-free moment!

    Warm regards,
    Sheza, Quit Coach
  5. Val H
    Val H avatar
    164 posts
    Registered:
    29 Nov 2017
    30 Dec 2023
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    Thank you for your post Marianne. I hope you are doing well.
    I got a lot out of your post and the coaches. I’m preparing at this moment to quit (again). I too have epilepsy and I never thought of other methods not being a good option. I knew that I thought that another medication was not desirable. I’m on medication for epilepsy, anxiety and depression. I’ve tried cutting back and had success in reduction but couldn’t make it progress past a certain point or make it last. I’ve tried cold turkey. I applaud those who have success with it. I can’t handle the shock to my system. I had success with NRT before so this is the method I’m choosing. Thank you for helping me to stand firm on that.
    I’m quitting today. I feel good about quitting at anytime today and making that my moment. I have a plan and I feel stronger about it. 
    I started using affirmations to prepare after reading this. I am strong. I am healthy. I am a non-smoker.
    I never heard of the 3 Cs before. Catch it, check it, change it. I’m going to carry that with me. Recognize those moments, acknowledge the experience, and take action.
    My confidence is still fluctuating though. I’m still kinda nervous. I hope this will be the time that I quit for good. 
5 posts, 0 answered