Stopping smoking is not something that usually happens as a single event. Becoming tobacco-free is a process. Making the decision to stop, learning the skills to quit, and applying all the tools to remain tobacco-free are all parts within that process.
Deciding to quit is the first step. People might be ambivalent about stopping for many reasons; for example, they may fear they will miss smoking, feel they are unable to relax without it, or simply do not feel confident they can quit. At the same time, folks usually have reasons to be free from tobacco such as health, family, and financial savings. Taking the time to understand your personal reasons for quitting as well as your concerns about stopping can be helpful toward making a decision.
Re-learning the routines of daily life is also a part of the process. People who quit smoking frequently talk about how they had to change habits or avoid certain activities for a while. Experiencing discomfort when changing routines is to be expected, but experimenting with new strategies and coping skills becomes more manageable with each new, tobacco-free day.
The last part of the process (which really has no end date) is the daily commitment to remaining tobacco-free. Many patients I work with have no problem with stopping smoking, it’s the staying quit that is the challenge. As is discussed in 12 step meetings across the country, we cannot depend on the work we put in yesterday toward our recovery to get us through today. Taking responsibility for our tobacco-free life requires a daily commitment and putting boots to the ground. The concept of “one day at a time” can be helpful in focusing on remaining smoke-free today and letting go of our fears of the future.
When you decide to stop smoking, remember that quitting is the first step. Re-learning the skills and habits that support a tobacco-free life are part of the process that requires daily application and commitment. Using the content and community on BecomeAnEx.org can be a great way to keep your motivation and focus fresh!