What I find so common among those who smoke, is the feelings of either shame and/or guilt. Shame that there is something wrong with me that I don't want to quit smoking knowing that I "should", and/or guilt because I want to and haven't been able to quit. I am certainly familiar with both of those emotions.
I had quit for 2 months the first time I was diagnosed with BC in 1987 when I was 32. I relapsed during chemo, I just couldn't handle the stress--back then they didn't have the anti-nausea drugs they have now and every worst story you have heard about throwing up from chemo is what I went through.
Back then you could smoke anywhere and everyone I knew was on my case to quit--even other smokers would say, "VJ why are you smoking, you've had cancer?" I would just last back at them, "how do you know you don't have cancer?" My anger was just a cover up for my feelings of shame that I just couldn't quit smoking and guilt every time I relapsed. I would be able to go for a couple of months and then bam--I'd relapse. I call myself the Queen of Quitting since I've quit for at least three months--9 times.
Yet the common emotions for those who are now smoke-free is the joy and freedom we feel to have broken through and accomplished our goal of becoming smoke-free---one of the hardest things it is to do in life. Yet those who are successful have travel a journey that others are still taking.
I think of of the most important steps is changing our emotional outlook from shame and guilt to one of hope and optimism---from "I can't do this, I don't want to do this, I don't know how to do this" to: "someday I will be able to do this, I will be able to figure out my path to being smoke-free, I can do this with help and support and it will be there for me as I seek out different options".
Optimism opens doors to inner strengths that often we don't realize we have such as: resilience, creativity, persistence, problem solving, confidence, ingenuity, critical thinking, courage and self-control.
I'm not saying it is easy, I'm just saying- I know you can do it!
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
The Great American Smokeout is the third Thursday in November. It is a day that encourages smokers to try and stop smoking for just one day. It is hoped that if a person can quit for a day, they will continue on.
Most smokers can quit for one day but as soon as that one day is over, they often go back to the same number of cigarettes they have always smoked.
New Zealand is trying something different. This is the second year of Stoptober where smokers are encouraged to quit for just one month - October. Rather than focusing on the risks of smoking, the focus on the benefits of being smoke-free - which is the approach I take when I work with smokers. To be successful you have to find something more important than a cigarette. It could be saving money, better health, being a better role model for you children or the freedom you get when you don't always have to interrupt your life to go smoke a cigarette.
Maybe it's time for the U.S. to adopt Stoptober too! What do you think?
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Think about when you have quit in the past, did you start romancing the thought of having "just one"?