On each pack of cigarettes, the warning states, in all caps, ‘smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy.’ Yet for many years, I’d light up my favorite fix with barely a glance at those words. While in recovery from crystal meth and my bout with bulimia, I kept smoking thinking that at the very least it was better than using or purging. Turns out that’s a common myth many addicts use to justify their nicotine dependence.
An article by the National Institute of Alcohol and Drug Abuse stops us excuse-makers in our tracks. Quitting smoking may actually increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety by 25%. Not only that, the percentage of addicts in treatment interested in smoking cessation rates up to 80%. Most smokers have heard the common adage that nicotine dependence is a harder habit to kick than almost every other drug. So how do we accomplish it? In my book Hand to Mouth, I outline 4 steps in 4 weeks that will help anyone who wants to break free of big tobacco.
Smoking is the one vice that many think it is OK to hold on to. However, deep down don’t we all know that isn’t true? Even though it feels like it’s tougher than meth to quit, don’t let that stop you. As easy as it is to pick up and puff, you can make a different choice, each time you feel a craving creep in, talk to it. Tell it who is in charge and what you want to do instead. Rather than smoking right then, in the middle of this powerful craving, I choose to drink a tall glass of water and walk around the block. Ten minutes later you’ll be on your way to another choice.