You’ve embarked on a brave journey to quit smoking. Maybe you’ve made it through the first few days without a cigarette, riding out cravings and filling your new free time in healthier ways. But then something happened – a rough day at work, an argument with family or a long commute through traffic – and you slipped and smoked. Don’t beat yourself up. You have not failed. You’re far from the end of your journey to being completely smoke-free. Get yourself back on track on Monday and ready to recommit to your quit.
Quitting smoking is different for everyone who tries to do it, but one thing that is very common among quitters is slipping up. It’s normal to relapse 7 to 10 times before quitting for good. Think of a relapse as a hurdle during a race. It certainly gets in the way of your path to the finish line, and you may trip, but it’s in no way the end. Nor is it a forfeit – you haven’t lost anything yet! You just have to get over the hurdle and finish the race. There might even be another hurdle ahead of you. You can get over that, too.
Every time you smoke a cigarette during your quit process is an opportunity to learn about yourself and the best way to quit and stay quit. What triggered you to smoke? How can you avoid it the next time? Don’t feel bad about smoking when you can use the experience as a useful tool. Something didn’t work, so you need to fix it. Identify another method of dealing with cravings and triggers that you haven’t tried. For example, if sipping water or having a healthy snack didn’t fend off a cigarette craving, take a walk instead. Maybe you need to bring in the big guns, like nicotine replacement therapy or a counselor.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re still in the game and are still quitting smoking. Remind yourself how many days you went without a cigarette, and be proud of that achievement. Then aim to add one more week. You may not even feel the need to smoke again. But if you do, accept it as a normal part of your quit journey. It will be imperfect, but it’s your path you can succeed. When Monday comes around, reboot and recommit to your quit. It’s a new week and a new chance to stay quit!