Forgive Your Smoking Relapse And Acquire The Mental Strength To Cease From It

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You have done it: you have quit smoking, you made a plan, marked the date on your calendar, threw away all of your smoking paraphernalia, toughed out the physiological cravings with the help of a nicotine replacements program perhaps, weathered the psychological cravings, and changed your habits. You have now been smoke free for a little while and you feel like you are on top of the world. This is when it hits you, a temptation so vicious that you could not fight it, and you gave in: you slipped up and lit up. Sadly, this is not the worst of it; you not only slipped once, but felt so disgusted and frustrated with yourself that you had a full-fledged relapse. Was all for naught?

No, it was not! As a matter of fact, a relapse, while most certainly a setback, may very well be the event you need to solidify your conviction on the subject of quitting your addiction, and a temporary relapse now may quite possibly save you from experiencing a permanent relapse later on. In order to learn from your relapse and move forward, consider these questions and suggestions of dealing with it:

Examine the time and location of your relapse and learn from that experience all you can glean. What prompted you to give in to temptation? Why did you give in on that day rather than on any other day? If, for example, the physical craving was suddenly too strong, perhaps this is the time to have a stash of nicotine patches easily accessible in your desk at work, in your car, purse, or where else you may be.

When you relapsed, what problem did you feel your smoking would solve? Consider what other options are available to you to deal with this issue if and when it comes up again in the future. This is a wonderful opportunity to fortify yourself with alternatives should this situation ever arise again.

If you found that you gave in to temptation out of sheer boredom, seek for an enjoyable hobby that will fill spare time. Perhaps you could become involved with a volunteer organization that will allow you to fill your spare time on your schedule. Or perhaps some recreational classes, such as cooking or art, will fit the bill. The old adage that idle hands are the devil?s playground may hold more wisdom than we give grandma credit for!

Understand that a lapse is just that: a temporary setback. While it is true that unlike a brief slip it is a more advanced regression, it is by no means a sentence of permanency. Yes, you will probably have slipped into some old behavior patterns that are leading you back down that road to smoking, but just as you stopped these patterns once, so you will be able to do it again.

Seek positive reinforcement. Be open with friends and family about your relapse and explain how you feel about it. The odds are good that they will not only spur you on, but perhaps will help you to overcome tempting situations. This may also be a good time to consider enrollment in a smoking cessation program to have some help in case another relapse threatens.

Remind yourself of your reasons for quitting. Perhaps you have lost focus of your intentions.

Review the effects of smoking on your body, as well as on those around you. Evaluate your health as it is now, and strive to make that positive change a permanent one.

As you can see, a relapse does not have to be the end of the world. As a matter of fact, it does not mean that you are weak-willed, incapable of quitting the habit, or in any way inferior to any of the other ex-smokers out there. Plenty of them slip up or relapse, but they also get right back onto the non-smoking wagon after they fell off. It is not unusual to relapse and it is important that you not only learn from your experience but that you also forgive yourself for the mistake you made. Remember, you can quit and a relapse is simply a temporary setback!