Where To Start — Step 1
Getting starting is often a difficult part of the process. So here we will outline some of the initial things you can do to start the process.
BEGINNING THE PROCESS OF UNDERSTANDING YOUR CIGARETTE ADDICTION
Initially, I will meet with you to learn more about how you smoke and why you smoke. This is a very important step in the process. It is very important to learn as much as possible about your smoking habits so that we can design your program to address your smoking habits. For example, is smoking a significant part of your self image? And if it is, why is that important? What Brand do you smoke and what is the image associated with that brand?
Someone once suggested to me that smoking had become part of my identity. When I first heard that, I didn’t give it any credence and quickly dismissed the notion as being silly. Guess what, I was wrong. After 35 years, smoking was something that in some respects defined me. When I had tried to quit, I didn’t recognize the significance of this. Quitting meant that I would lose a part of my identity — no wonder it is so difficult to quit. Certainly the physical addiction is a big issue, but it is by no means the only issue — or for that matter the biggest issue. I know that sounds a bit odd, but when you think about it, it really isn’t that strange. For almost 35 years:
When I was nervous — I reached for a cigarette,
When I had a drink or a cup of coffee — I reached for a cigarette,
When I talked on the phone — I reached for a cigarette,
When I wrote a document — I reached for a cigarette,
When I finished eating — I reached for a cigarette.
It turned out there were many repeated daily activities that involved reaching for a cigarette. It turns out that smoking was the activity I performed most often every day. And I bet it is the thing you do most often every day. Now that is really significant. We are talking about changing/stopping the thing you likely do most often every single day. Your entire nervous system has learned to respond to this behavior. So much so that we think smoking is something that calms us. That of course, isn’t true.
The reason we think smoking calms us is because smoking stops the withdrawal symptoms. It is the withdrawal symptoms that make us feel anxious. So the fact is that smoking is actually the thing that causes us to feel anxious.
Because smoking is such a frequent daily activity, this means that almost every activity we perform is a trigger for smoking. Wow, the first few times I tried to stop smoking, I was in for a big surprise!! I didn’t understand why I was having such intense cravings. Sometimes I could get through the first few days and even weeks, but at some point the cravings seemed to come out of no where. They weren’t necessarily physical, because I was past the point of the physical withdrawal. Eventually I would give in and start smoking again. I was completely confused about what had happened. I started out fully committed to quitting and within a few weeks was right back to smoking.
Does any of this sounds familiar to you? I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.
This happened to me more than once, and after a few repeated attempts, I was much more willing to consider that there was something to the self-image idea. That was powerful.
Recognizing the need to spend time focusing on the How and Why of smoking behavior is an important step in successfully quitting. I will work with you to begin your stop smoking process with the NYC Acupuncture Quit Smoking Program.
This program is devised to let you work your way towards your goal on a step-by-step basis. You don’t have to do every thing today; we can work towards your goal taking one step at a time.
WHERE TO START is to make a commitment to stop smoking. Contact me at West Village Acupuncture or another stop smoking program. The sooner you begin the process of understanding your smoking habits and how to break those habits the sooner you will be living a smoke free life.