Stopping Tobacco is Like Water Skiing

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Jul 12, 2012

As the warmer weather continues, it is time for summer fun.  Grilling out, cutting the grass, and summer fun--such as water skiing.


If you’ve ever tried or watched someone learn how to water ski, you know that it’s not very easy to do.

First, you need to either get a boat or find a friend who has a boat and is willing to take the time to teach you how and let you practice water skiing.  (Kind of like having a good support network for stopping smoking.)  Next, you need to decide that you are ready to give this a shot.  For most of us it takes some courage to overcome our anxieties and fears regarding getting pulled out of the water by a powerful machine with the goal of gracefully skimming across the surface.  (Similar to the fear of being wracked by withdrawals and cravings with the goal of soaring gracefully through life without smoking.)


 The moment of truth is jumping into the water, grabbing onto the tow rope, and yelling “hit it” so that the boat goes from 0-60 and generates enough force to pull you out of the water. (Picking a quit date, preparing, and getting rid of your cigarettes on your quit date.)


As most who have tried can attest, it takes many attempts to finally get up onto your skis.  Then you discover that getting up (stopping smoking) is the easy part.  It’s staying up, going outside the wake, and finally comfortably scooting back and forth.  That is the tough part.  (Staying stopped with all of the triggers and stresses of life).  Sometimes just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the waves from another boat rock you enough to send you tumbling.  (Stresses and triggers of life lead you to want to or actually smoke again.)  The key is to keep at it.  Eventually you will succeed if you just keep trying.


Once in a while we see someone who through talent, athleticism, or just dumb luck gets up and stays up on their skis on their first attempt.  They drive the rest of us nuts.  We just need to remember that they are an exception and that most people are not like that.  (Some people succeed at stopping smoking during their first attempt, but most of us need repeated attempts and should not compare ourselves to them.)