Communicating with Loved Ones What is “Helpful“ Quit and Abstinence Support

Blog Post created by NDC_Team on May 9, 2018

So you’ve decided to quit tobacco and sure could use some support from your friends, family, loved ones, and of course the BecomeAnEX Community to make becoming tobacco free happen.  After all, as the trendy saying goes, “Team work makes the Dream Work!”.   You may feel you don’t need or want to ask for anyone’s support because this is “your thing, your battle, your fight”.  Let’s face it: you will not go through withdrawal and recovery in isolation if you live in modern society.  No matter how you may try to “bare it alone”, certain people will be in your presence during your “quit time”.  So, whether you like it or not you will be the beneficiary of people’s words and actions that will either encourage you or trigger your desire to use.  The bottom line, every social interaction affects you and has the potential to be helpful or harmful to your success.  Therefore, it is to your benefit to do what you can to increase the probability that those closest to you will interact with you in a way that is supportive of you quitting.


Alright, if you buy that argument, you are now thinking, o.k., well expert, what words and actions from others will be helpful for me in my quit journey? That, my friendly reader, is yours to determine.  You know yourself best, so dig deep and consider past challenges to identify what you benefit from.  Because you will undoubtedly be the recipient of their input it is in your best interest to figure out what you need and want.  Also, this is your quit journey, so it is your responsibility to share your findings with them.


To achieve these, take some time to be introspective, and reflective.


Ex. Introspective and reflective:  What would help me stay on the quit track?


Helpful is a very ambiguous term; what it is and how it “looks” is unique to the individual recipient.  

  1. Figure out what you need in the way of support and encouragement.
  2. Figure out what you do not need or like.
  3. Do not let SHAME, anxiety or fear keep you from expressing what you need.


Finally, to actually get this help, you need to make sure you best communicate your wants and needs to your loved ones. 

  1. Figure out and practice how you can best convey that message Specific:  Choose and practice wording that clearly communicates what you intend to say, i.e., gets your message across to them.
  2. Be careful of your approach and tone: Tell those who are closest to you exactly what you need in a loving way – Speak the truth in love.
  3. Be prepared to answer their questions without getting defensive.
  4. Find a comfortable space and time to communicate that message.
  5. Choose a setting where there are no distractions (noise, other people “butting in”.)
  6. Show gratitude for their willingness to support you.

Jennifer Burden, PhD

NDC Counselor/CTTS