Remember the quotation by Mark Twain? Maybe you, too, have quit many times before. So you know that staying quit is the final, longest, and most important stage of the process. You can use the same methods to stay quit as you did to help you through withdrawal. Think ahead to those times when you may be tempted to smoke, and plan on how you will use other ways to cope with these situations.
More dangerous, perhaps, are the unexpected strong desires to smoke that happen sometimes months, or even years after you’ve quit. To get through these without relapse, try these:
- Review your reasons for quitting and think of all the benefits to your health, your finances, and your family.
- Remind yourself that there is no such thing as just one cigarette — or even one puff.
- Ride out the desire to smoke. It will go away, but do not fool yourself into thinking you can have just one.
- Avoid alcohol. Drinking lowers your chance of success.
- If you are worried about gaining weight, put some energy into eating a healthy diet and staying active with exercise.
Recovering from slips
What if you do smoke? The difference between a slip and a relapse is within your control. A slip is a one-time mistake that is quickly corrected, whereas a relapse is going back to smoking. You can use the slip as an excuse to go back to smoking, or you can look at what went wrong and renew your commitment to staying away from smoking for good.
Even if you do relapse, try not to get too discouraged. Very few people are able to quit for good on the first try. In fact, it takes most people many attempts before quitting for good. What’s important is figuring out what helped you when you tried to quit and what worked against you. You can then use this information to make a stronger attempt at quitting the next time.
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