Total wellness of the body, mind & spirit cannot be achieved without first liberating yourself from tobacco. Once you quit tobacco, you will notice everything else begins to fall into place.
You will no longer feel:
- Like your heart is racing
- Like you need some mouthwash or gum
- Freaked out about getting cancer or other diseases caused by tobacco
You will embrace:
- Time (time is yours again)
- A boost of confidence (just look what I can do!)
- Tackling projects that smoking would have interrupted
- Being an example for others
- Exercise and movement
QUITTING SMOKING AND THE BODY
The body benefits immediately from quitting smoking. Within hours, a sore throat will ease up, and gunk might start to come up out of your lungs–especially if you are taking the time to use detoxifying foods and fluids (see the blog post dedicated to this). But don’t try to build Rome in a day. Even if you are a smoker who has cut down significantly, and you are waiting for that one right moment to cut the chord for good, you can surely benefit from taking up habits which promote lung and body detoxification whilst still smoking. Yes! The line is not so black and white, so cut and dry. At the beginning of my “quit” I was “batting 95%”–meaning that I was not smoking NINETY FIVE percent of the time. “Perfection is never the goal,” is another way to think of this. Plus it will take time to build new, positive habits into your routine. You’ll want to ease into them (I’m thinking like starting making smoothies for yourself in the morning instead of rolling a cigarette). Good things take time.
BE AWARE CUTTING BACK
Be aware, this “cutting back” approach is a slippery slope. It requires immense willpower and is advised against unless for the purposes of quitting completely. A smoker who rarely smokes is the most hooked of all (I would know). They are always pining for that rare cigarette. This smoker will surely smoke up a storm when finally given the go ahead, say at a party where everyone is smoking. Because of the nature of nicotine (its like cocaine–do more, need more), that same smoker might wake up the next day “needing” five times as much tobacco and in an instant she is right back to her old habits. She just lost her 95% basically. The goal of quitting smoking is to ultimately have ZERO nicotine in your body, or else it will run around and wreck havoc with cravings. Occasional smoking isn’t really a thing. I mean its rare. Tobacco doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Plus smoking negates all the health-conscious things you are already doing for your body such as healthy eating and yoga. The number one best thing you can do for your body is quit smoking.
QUITTING SMOKING & THE MIND
The first 6 months or of my quit (remember, I was on again off again) was spent literally just breaking muscle memory. When I first conceived of quitting, it began as a simple awareness that–without even thinking about it–I would step out onto the backporch and grab a smoke. Like ten times a day. So, in the early days it was very simple: I would step out on the porch and try, just try, to do something else. I became aware that I could not, and that I was not in control. Step one: the breaking down of denial. So at this point I tied a bright red scarf to the door handle as a challenge to myself to Just not. Go on. The porch. Extreme? Yes. Being outside is good. Getting exercise is good. But at this point quitting smoking was much more important so I pretty much trapped myself inside and fought, tooth and nail, not to smoke. The cravings were high, very high, at this time. My boyfriend smokes and we live together. So it was not easy.
I began watching YouTube videos about other people quitting smoking. I learned that YEAH. IT IS NOT EASY. NOBODY FINDS IT EASY. MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN TRY TO QUIT. IT’S THAT HARD. I felt better. I listened to testimonials of people older than me, of a different skin color than me, of a different background entirely than me, but we all had this one thing in common: that we wanted to quit. And we all had another thing in common: that we had tried to quit before. Many times. See people who really want to quit never stop quitting. It’s a sick, sad, truth. But eventually most people who keep quitting eventually break through. It’s re-routing of the body and the mind. Fully. And it takes some time.
THE QUITTING SPIRIT
The journey is so much deeper than just making it through those first physical cravings. You may end up pondering your childhood, the experiences and choices that lead you to where you are, you might ask why, exactly, you are so addicted to tobacco, question what lead to your romanticizing this harsh, unforgiving drug. You might find yourself carrying a book about quitting smoking in your purse or your car (maybe a book on tape) and think what a weirdo I am. But you need to be forgiving with yourself. Like somebody put it in writings I came across during my tobacco recovery research online “You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.” Meaning, delve into yourself and your spirituality, even if you never have before or it feels incredibly silly. Take a smoking cessation class with a bunch of old, smelly folks, if it means that much to you. Try hypnosis, just try it. Do whatever weird voodoo thing you need to do in order to expunge this ridiculous habit from your life. Because whatever strange thing you to do to cope–hula hooping, swimming laps, reading about Buddhism and eating dark chocolate–its bound to be worth it in the end.