Lately, I have been encountering many individuals that are “closet smokers.” This made me wonder how many of you on the EX Community were hiding your smoking from loved ones? What types of lies did you tell yourself? How big of a canyon did you create in your relationships with the people you love?
When people smoke in secret it creates loneliness, pain, and isolation for the smoker. It often times makes the person feel ashamed, guilty, and trapped. In addition, most have gone to great lengths to cover up their addiction to avoid being discovered. Using mints, air fresheners, perfume, changing clothes, reasons to get up and leave, not go somewhere, and hiding in unusual places are all methods and excuses for the closet smoker to hide their addiction. I once had a patient tell me that she hid under a school bus to smoke.
If this is you, how do you go about quitting? The first step is being honest with yourself and others to help end your relationship with cigarettes. Many times, covert smokers quit in secret, which eliminates support when it is needed the most. Your loved ones may already know of your addiction, but have chosen to avoid confrontation. Being honest opens up a bigger circle of support bringing you out of isolation. Set your stop date and plan your quit approach whether it be reducing to quit, “cold turkey,” or nicotine replacement medications. Even if your road to quitting tobacco has a few detours, STAY OUT of the CLOSET and keep reaching out for support.