Giving yourself permission to smoke again after you’ve quit can be worse for you than the actual physical act of smoking (bear with me here). The choice & permission given to smoke again really hurts us and may begin the relapse cycle many find themselves in.
I recently saw a post from someone who had been quit a month, smoked “just a few”, and then immediately got back on the quit train. The comment made was surprise that it was just as hard if not even harder to not smoke again thinking that since he had been quit for a month and only had a few and quit again right away that it would be easier.
First, I say congrats to this person for getting right back on his quit without allowing more smoking time to pass. It’s been my experience & what I’ve seen that many who relapse after being quit for a good bit of time (6 mos to a year or more) usually take longer to quit again than the actual time they had been quit. Again, it’s the permission you give yourself to smoke one (or a few) that can cause the most harm to you.
This was certainly true for myself. I had a previous quit of a year and a half but when I went back to smoking I smoked for a little bit longer than I had been smoke free (one year 10 months) before I quit again. Once you give yourself permission to smoke you may be thinking I can always quit again. You may be telling yourself that you just want to “enjoy” smoking a little while longer. That little while often turns into a lot of time smoking again.
I didn’t really appreciate my first quit. When I gave myself permission to have one it opened my “permissions” gate to eventually have another one (& then another & another). I fell back into the addiction trap of believing that I enjoyed it, could always quit again & that I could control the amount I smoked. I never really thought of myself as an addict back then.
The problem was the permission I gave myself. Smoking is not just a bad habit, it’s an addiction. The only way to control “it” is to not feed it until it becomes dormant. The only way for it to stay dormant is to never have another one again to be guaranteed 100% of no relapse.
I call it Adulting 101. Tell yourself “No” or “NOPE” out loud. Don’t give yourself permission for the first one. You know what it will lead to so don’t do it. Quitting again does not necessarily get easier with addictions because its the previous permission(s) you gave yourself that can make it harder to say no to yourself again. It’s up to you to parent yourself. Tell yourself no and mean it.