Congrats man, quitting is tough but stick with it. I've been quit for a year and two months now. Smoked for 12 years prior to that. Some advice I can lend...
- Don't try cutting back slowly, it doesn't work. If anything, it makes it worse. When you cut back all you're really doing is putting your body in a constant state of withdrawal. Between smokes your body goes through all the withdrawal symptoms as if you'd gone cold turkey then when you can't take it anymore you have one and the whole cycle starts all over again. If you go cold turkey you eventually hit a peak in the cravings, usually 3-4 days in, and the cravings subside from there.
- Keep BUSY! As the old saying goes, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” For me, I was bouncing off the walls with nervous energy when I first quit so I got all kinds of stuff done around the house. Staying active is important for two reasons. One, you won’t have time to think about smoking. Two, the other nasty side affect of quitting can be substituting food for smokes so you won’t eat as much if you’re busy and if you do eat more you’ll work it off.
- Avoid temptation. You mentioned staying away from the bar scene, I would heartily recommend following through with that. I think it was easily 3-4 months after I quit before I set foot in a bar. By then the smell of smoking was repulsive but after a few beers I still found myself tempted so I left. If you have friends that are smokers, ask them to not smoke around you. If they’re truly friends they won’t have a problem with that. My wife and I quit together because there was no way one of us could quit alone and we didn’t quit until after moving back to Ohio from GA because our good friends and neighbors in GA were both heavy smokers.
Not to be all doom and gloom but there are some harsh realities to quitting:
It is most likely the hardest thing you will ever do…
….a friend’s dad who served in the Marines said he’d rather go back through Marine basic training than try quitting smoking again.
….a coworker who at one time dabbled in the likes of Ecstasy and cocaine is still a smoker because he can’t seem to give them up.
….I’ve been quit for over a year now and I won’t lie, there are still times that I’m tempted. I can easily dismiss those momentary impulses but they still happen.
But there is a bright side…
….food really does taste a lot better once you’ve been quit for a while.
….you do have a lot more energy and working out actually feels good.
….the smell of smoke lingers in odd places, like your hair, but you won’t notice it until it’s gone.
….you save a TON of money to be spent on, what else, BREWING! Something to install on your PC, http://www.dedicateddesigns.com/qk/download.htm
. It tracks how long you’ve been quit and how much money you’ve saved, nice motivation.
….it may not feel like it now but the urges will subside, your body will learn how to function without nicotine and you will learn new habits to take the place of when you used to smoke.
Alright, I’m done. Sorry for the long winded rant there. I just know how tough quitting was for me so I’m always looking to help a fellow EX-smoker.