Everyone knows an ‘Uncle Charlie’, who after smoking a pack a day for 25 years just quit smoking one day, no withdrawal, no medications, no relapse – he never looked back. For every Uncle Charlie, there are thousands of smokers who have gone through a seemingly unending struggle to stop smoking. These smokers blame themselves for being ‘weak’ or having a flaw in their character when comparing themselves to Uncle Charlie. They say, “There must be something wrong with me.” That unfair comparison can cause discouragement and can squash a person’s confidence.
Why is it an unfair comparison? Being exposed to nicotine from cigarettes will affect different people in different ways. Remember that cigarettes today are designed to almost instantaneously deliver high doses of nicotine to your brain. Some people, who experiment with smoking usually as a teenager, never become addicted while others become addicted very quickly. The difference is in how nicotine creates distinct physical changes in the brain receptors of some people which in large part are due to genetics. In that respect, Uncle Charlie was just genetically “wired” differently than the addicted smoker.
So, if you are not like Uncle Charlie, and you have tried many times to stop - keep with it. Work with the EX Program to develop your plan to build better strategies to manage craving, withdrawal, and relapse. You also may need to try a new medication or combination of medications. Talk to your health care provider about that. Most of all don’t become discouraged. There is hope and there is help, but you will have to use all your tools to put this behind you.