The connection to nicotine is smoking.; The connection to smoking is nicotine.
Some will not unlearn the connection between smoking and nicotine by using self dosing NRT's.
In fact, many will not be able to let it go believing they are what is stopping them from smoking and keeping them quit. Thus they make the physical addiction a psychological addiction as well and remaining dependent upon it. That's a double whammy!
Your decision is what stops you from smoking. You stay quit by finding other ways than nicotine to initiate a dopamine release. (and there are MANY)
This is why I don't recommend self dosing nicotine replacement.
If you are going to self dose, make a plan to get off of the NRT's within a reasonable time or it may still control you.
Nicotine is out of your body in 72 hours after your last use. The withdrawal symptoms are experienced over a 2-3 week period for nearly everyone. I compare the symptoms to a bad head cold, nothing more.
So how do you let it go?
You start gradually testing yourself by keeping track of how much you are using and cutting back gradually until you realize, "Hey, I'm not smoking and I'm not using nicotine either."
Nicotine will never let you go until you let it go.