July 4th is a time to celebrate with family and friends – and also to celebrate a healthier you! You’ve already shown a commitment to a better future by deciding to stop smoking. One way to protect your commitment to a healthier life is planning how you will navigate time with friends and family who might still use tobacco. With a little preparation you can enjoy the festivities and still stay smoke-free!
For many, celebrations bring back strong memories of smoking, and trigger powerful urges to smoke. Here are three points for consideration that may help you plan:
- Who will be there? Who will be supportive, and who might not be supportive? Who can you talk to ahead of time to line up support? What will be some challenging moments you are likely to experience?
- How will you actually handle a triggering situation? Who are your “safe people” – folks who will cheer? Are there any places you plan to avoid? Practice in your mind how you want to tell people you have stopped smoking and how they can help you.
- If your doctor has recommended medications to help you stop, make sure you bring these with you to the celebration. Nicotine replacement in meant to quiet those pesky nicotine receptors until they go away – so use your tools! Drink some cold water and find some fruits or veggies to munch on. If all else fails, excuse yourself and take a short walk. Even cut the evening short, if you are concerned you might smoke. Fireworks are not worth the price of all the hard work you have done so far!
There are a lot of “firsts” that go along with stopping smoking. You will probably always remember your “first” smoke-free winter, “first” big argument without smoking, studying for your “first” final exam with no cigarettes, and your “first” 4th of July without lighting up. But your second 4th of July not smoking (and third, and fourth…) will be easier.
What is your 4th of July game plan? How will you celebrate your independence from tobacco?