Sorry to the old timers out there - you've seen this letter many times but I want to put it up again for the newbies. I saw several posts today about smoking family members - what a pain! This letter may help.
I am about to make a huge change in my life for the better. I am going to quit smoking.
I have a quit plan that I am confident with and I want to let you know what to expect for the next couple of weeks. I also want to give you some ideas on how to help me. Most people do not realize it, but nicotine is one of the hardest drugs to stop, even harder than heroin and alcohol.
Everyone reacts to the withdrawal symptoms differently and during the first two weeks, don't expect much from me. I will not behave like my normal self. All of my energy will be focused on fighting the physical and mental cravings of smoking. I may cry, I may yell, I may ignore you. Worst of all, I may be hurtful to you, but I want you to know that is the nicotine talking, not my heart. I WILL apologize afterwards, once the poison has left my body and my mind has cleared, but for the moment, please, PLEASE remember that I love you, and do not hold my actions against me.
My mind will play some very cunning tricks on me to try to convince me to start smoking again. It’s a very nasty addiction. I may rationalize that "now is not a good time to quit". I may talk about feeling a sense of emptiness and loss. My body may develop aches and pains. I may not be able to sleep. I may act like it’s all your fault. If I do, I apologize now because I don’t really mean it.
I am doing this for me, not for you. In this one important way, I have to be selfish, so that I cannot give the nicotine a reason to put the blame on anyone else. You must not feel responsible for my discomfort or depression in any way. Even if you feel you can't stand to see me this way, whatever you do, do NOT tell me it's okay to smoke just to stop the pain. You need to be strong when I am weak, so please do not agree with any rationalizations I may come up with. I am counting on you.
Here are some things that will help me:
· Hug me when I need a hug, but don't be hurt if I push you away.
· If I tell you to leave me alone, give me space, but don't go too far...I need to know you are near me.
· Don't try to argue with me when I start to rationalize...silence is a more powerful message. No matter what I say or do, a safe comment is always,” I’m proud of you.”
· Avoid the topic of cigarettes (because I'm trying to get them off my mind), unless I bring it up first.
· Do the best you can to act as if everything is normal. The more normal you act, the faster I will get there.
· Consciously avoid putting me into situations where I will be in the presence of smokers. This may mean avoiding favorite restaurants or bars, or hanging out with certain friends for a while.
· If something stressful can be put off for a couple of weeks, please try to do so. If not, please try to cushion me.
· If I need some kind words, tell me that you are proud of me. Tell me it will get better, that the emptiness and pain will lessen, that you love me, and that quitting is worth the effort. Tell me I am strong. Tell me you will be there no matter what I say or do.
I hope you will find these suggestions helpful because I know that you are behind me 100%. No more second-hand smoke for my loved ones and pet(s). I will be free from the prison that smoking creates for us. I will be free of the smell of stale tobacco. I am looking forward to living my new smoke-free life. I will be around longer for those I love. Not smoking will begin to improve my health immediately.
Thank you for loving me and helping me through this.