72 hours nicotine-free and every bit of nicotine has left my body!
The battle is won, but I am well aware that the war has just begun! Nevertheless, like William Wallace in the movie "Braveheart", I am screaming FREEDOM, for this is what I am fighting for, and I am wielding my sword, tossing it high up in the air and it lands in between the battle lines and it stands there like the symbol of the cross!
This war is physical, mental and spiritual and sometimes the lines of battle are blurred and one affects the other.
I feel that what I have learned here from my elders, at other quit smoking sites and from my brothers in my church Gospel Community (some of which are ex-heroin addicts and of course ex-smokers) has armed me to fight this fight and I hope some of this will be helpful to others:
I "only" smoked 15 cigarettes before I quit 3 months ago and after I fell off the wagon 2 1/2 months into the quit, I only smoked 3-5 cigarettes for 1 1/2 weeks, before beginning this quit. Meaning, what I did may, or may not work for heavier smokers and a Nicotine Replacement Product (NRP) to gradually reduce the nicotine in your body before the actual quit day may be the appropriate route for you. Just please also set a date to quit the NRP in order to be truly free one day.
I decided to get through the physical withdrawal as quickly as possible and went cold turkey again AFTER arming myself with more knowledge.
- Giving the craving the name "Monster" and imagining it dying every time it raised it's little head and not feeding it -
HELPS (from Allan Carr's book: Easy Way to Stop Smoking - HELPS!)
- Saying "I don't do that anymore" every time I "wanted" to smoke - HELPS
- Exercising, at least walking briskly every day - HELPS
- Drinking cranberry juice for the first 3 days to curb the blood sugar cravings that feel like nicotine cravings - HELPS!
- This support group - HELPS!! (I would not be in this quit without all the good people here)
Realizing that nicotine addiction is a mental illness with a cure and understanding how dopamine receptors in the brain are wired for nicotine is also very helpful intel for this war. Nicotine Addiction 101
Realizing that I did NOT suffer for 2 1/2 months from nicotine withdrawal (because the physical symptoms are over after 72 hours) - Game Changer! Once I understood that these horrific feelings were anxiety, not withdrawal, I was able to lean on my wife's extensive knowledge of herbal remedies and experience with anxiety. To save you lots of research, these are what keep me calm and balanced these days:
B6, L-Theanine, Ashwagandha, Gaba Relaxer, Valerian & I am taking CBD oil every morning and night (w/o the parts that make you a high)
I made changes to my daily, in some cases hourly, and weekly habits that really helped me:
- Prayer, morning, noon and night, and whenever a craving hits me (whenever possible on my knees, just because it ensures I focus on Him and not me. A big part of that is praying that God fights the battle with addiction for me and with me.)
"Lord of Armies, please fight this battle with the spirit of addiction for me"
(God fought and won the battles throughout the Old Testament/ Tora FOR the Israelites - he still does if we call on Him)
"And don't lead me into temptation, but free me from evil"
(of course, the whole Lord's prayer is always appropriate)
"I will not fear, for you are my God, holding my right hand, you will help me"
(That is a great one before even starting the quit and to battle anxiety. This is from Isiah 41:....)
"May I never consider my weaknesses and faults to be The larger or most authentic part of me."
(Boy did I have to understand that after I fell off the wagon, in order to forgive myself and get back on)
- Reading Scripture before looking at the phone, even if it is one chapter.
- Meeting with a friend, or friends for lunch or dinner once a week
- Having my closest friends and prayer warriors pray for me and asking them to text me whenever they remember
my struggle. And just hearing "I thought of you and prayed" goes a long way! (Yes, it takes some awesome friends for
The combination of all of this made this my easiest quit yet. Now keep in mind, I am 74 hours into this quit - that's it! However, the supposed "worst part" was not bad at all and I feel confident that I'll achieve complete and lasting freedom as long as I keep saying NO to nicotine, every day, one day at a time. I know I will be thinking about smoking less and less and as long as I keep running to God immediately, leaning on Him, I will be safe and I will be free.
I am still exhausted and I sleep 10 hours a night, but I allow myself to sleep and don't judge myself for it. Quitting an addiction is exhausting - that's ok!
A certain feeling of being disoriented and not 100% focused is hovering over my head. That too is temporary and will get better!
What will take the longest, as I see it now, is the changing self-awareness; learning who I am without the nicotine and what it covered up. I am more than ok with this portion taking time. I need time to get acquainted with the new me and the friendship that will hopefully grow out of that. (Does it sound sad that I am longing for a friendship with myself? ... and there is the first of many questions that will come my way)
May God bless you all and bless your quit!
FREEDOM here we come!