This is a repost from what I wrote March 12, 2009. It still applies today.
I want you to stop trying to quit.
Yes, I said that. Even more, I mean it.
I browse around here and see post after post from people saying that they are "trying Chantix" or giving the gum a "try". Some are "Trying to quit" for the sixth or seventh time. Others are quite positive. "I tried to quit many times before, but this time I'm going to try something different."
Any of you who have played a sport with a coach can tell you that the coach NEVER said to you: "OK, I want you to go out there and "Try" to win. Give it a good "Try."If they did, then it was for a pickup game or T-ball or something that was more about playing than winning. At a job interview, you never tell your prospective employer that you are going to "Try" to be on time and be a good employee. You don't "Try" to keep your kids fed.
This addiction you are breaking isn't a game. "Trying" is what you do when a failure is an option. As Yoda put it! "Try not!¦. DO!... or do not. There is no try."
When you quit an addiction you do just that. You QUIT it. It means that you put it down and you don't pick it up again. I see many posts about backtracking or slipping up. Invariably the replies are encouraging rhetoric like "It's OK, everyone makes mistakes. Pick yourself up and try again" (That "Try" word again).
Now I understand moments of weakness, and I believe in getting back on the horse, but think about relapse and about having a smoke again! It isn't as if you tripped over a slipper in the hallway and fell mouth-first on an errant cigarette that had been left on the floor next to the fireplace where an ember jumped out and set the smoke alight while the dog jumped up and down on your back forcing you to inhale.
You made a decision that the cigarette was going to fix this intangible stress. Years of conditioning had made that feeling almost subconscious, but it was with a purpose that you got out the smoke and lit it. That was giving up. That was starting the quit counter back to zero. You may have gone a day, a week, a month. But guess what? that no longer matters. Now you have to do it all over again. Was that worth it? After that one smoke were you forever better? I say what you do by "Slipping up" is strap yourself into the rollercoaster again. The nicotine is back in the system and your body is going to scream at you to keep it there. When it was gone your brain still had conditioning telling you that smoking made you happy, but it was a lie you could ignore. Now that lie is compounded with physical withdrawals again. Was that better?
I quit almost a year ago. It was the hardest damn thing I have ever done. I was an Army paratrooper! An infantry medic in one of the most combat deployed units in the military. All of my training, survival testing, and combat was nothing compared to the will it takes to just not put the cigarette in my mouth.
But I'm not "Trying" to quit.