Certainly Not Made For Each Other- Avoiding Temptation To Smoke Again

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You have finally quit your smoking habit! Congratulations on a Herculean accomplishment! You have weathered the physical withdrawals, the psychological temptations, and all the anxiety, mood swings, as well as the minefield of rationalizations why just one cigarette could not possibly hurt you. Of course, you know that you are not yet out of the woods, after all, as they saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of your life, and you are hoping to make it a smoke-free life. How can you go about avoiding temptation to smoke again?

While there is no easy answer to this question, there are a lot of suggestions that will make temptations more avoidable or at least manageable if avoidance if impossible.

A) Avoid people who seek to entice you to smoke. For some reason, once in a while you will encounter a friend or family member who will treat your smoking cessation as a big joke, and who will either make a point of lighting up in your presence or in the alternative will wave a pack of cigarettes under your nose, all but lighting one up for you. She or he will rationalize that just one for old times? sake will hardly hurt and that you have proven you could quit any time. Avoid this person as much as you can. Obviously, you should not skip Thanksgiving dinner to avoid her or him, but it would be good to have a buffer between you and that person. In case of a friend who does this to you, perhaps you will need to reevaluate your friendship with this person. Of course, the longer you have been smoke-free, the easier it gets to handle this temptation, and at some point you can just laugh in the person?s face and get on with the social situation you are in. Until you get there, however, it is best to avoid the person.

B) Avoid situations and locations that tempt you to smoke. The favorite watering hole down the block may have a wonderful ambience, but if it the smoke inside is so thick that you can cut it with a knife, it may not be conducive to your effort to remain smoke-free. Find a new haunt that may actually be nicer than your old one! You will also be able to make new friends, and pretty soon you will no longer associate going down to watch the game on Monday night with smoking. Once you get to that point, even a visit to the old watering hole will present only a small temptation that you will be able to resist much easier. While locations may be easy to avoid, situations may not. If you work for a company where smoking on the premises or on the job is permitted, you will need to employ all of your willpower to overcome the temptations when you are faced with smoking coworkers. If this situation cannot be avoided, be sure to come prepared with hard candy, sunflower seeds, peanuts or pistachios in the shell, or some sugarless gum.

C) Avoid rationalizations such as ?one cigarette won?t kill me.? It may not kill you, but the slippery slope of rationalization will lead to further lapses in your resolve to remain smoke-free for life. In the same way that you would not suggest to an alcoholic to have just one drink for old times? sake or for the road, you should not rationalize that just one cigarette for yourself is a good idea. It will make turning down the second and third cigarette just that much harder. Another more insidious rationalization is the idea that smoking while not buying cigarettes is different from being a smoker. Whether you buy or bum, if you stick the cigarettes in your mouth and light them, you are a smoker.

As you can see, it is hard to quit, and it is hard to remain smoke-free for life. Yet while it may be hard, it is entirely doable, and if you continue on the strength of your convictions, you will be able to make it through even the rough times. Should you, against the odds, give in to temptation, remember that a slip or lapse in judgment does not mean you have permanently fallen off the wagon. As a matter of fact, this is a good time to review the reasons why you quit smoking in the first place, revisit the benefits of smoking cessation, and reward yourself for success!