Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends – and also to give thanks for a healthier life! You’ve already shown a commitment to a healthier future by deciding to quit tobacco use. Another way to feel better is to take steps to manage spending time with friends and family who might still use tobacco. With a little planning you can enjoy the festivities and stay smoke-free!
Family gatherings can bring back strong memories of tobacco use, and trigger powerful urges to smoke –especially if you have friends or family who still use tobacco. These three steps can help:
· Who will be there? Who will be supportive, and who might not be? Who can you talk to ahead of time to line up support? What will be the most challenging moments? A big meal can be a powerful trigger to use tobacco!
· How will you actually handle the situation? Who will you plan to spend time with? Are there any places you plan to avoid? Practice in your mind how you want to tell people you have quit using tobacco and how they can help you.
· If your doctor has recommended medications to help you quit using tobacco, make sure you bring these with you to the gathering – and use them! Spend time with the people who have offered support. Keep yourself busy – offer to help in the kitchen. If all else fails, excuse yourself and take a short walk. Even cut the day short, if you are concerned you might use some tobacco. Your biggest supporters will understand.
There are a lot of “firsts” that go along with quitting tobacco. You will probably always remember your first winter not using tobacco, your first big argument without smoking, completing a stressful project with no cigarettes, and also your first Thanksgiving without lighting up! Your “seconds” should be easier when the time comes.
Consider sharing your smoke-free Thanksgiving stories with your friends here at becomeanex.org!