One thing we know about stopping tobacco use is that it is a process, not an event. For most people, stopping doesn’t happen overnight. It is more like embarking on a journey full of uncertainties, of undetermined length, fraught with challenges – and wrong turns are not uncommon. While the intention is to do everything possible to avoid smoking after your quit date, sometimes slips happen.
Sometimes when people slip, that slip creates feelings of guilt, shame, and blame. If you believe that the slip was caused by a personal weakness or character flaw, these feelings can be even stronger and can cause a reduced ability to resist the next cigarette.
Rather than reacting to a slip by feeling like you have failed, it is helpful to remind yourself of the following:
Do your best to avoid having the first one
That said, it isn’t “all or nothing,” especially at the beginning. Lapses are a common experience in the recovery process, and can be important learning experiences in steps toward a tobacco free life.
Remember to use your strengths. If you have a good sense of humor, remember to laugh. If you like to be organized and structured, keep track of how many cigarettes you haven’t smoked or how much money you’ve saved. If you make friends easily, reach out to others who are trying to quit. Each day take a moment to appreciate the benefits you are accruing from not smoking.
And use your resources, including the very supportive community on www.becomeanex.org!