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Almost everything you read about the process to end the habit of smoking confirms a belief that quitting is extremely difficult to achieve. From the start, doomsday statistics reveal high failure rather than success rates in the first seven to 10 days of the process. The claims suggest that this is due primarily to unbearable physiological withdrawal symptoms. So, if you are grasping for any excuse to continue a smoking habit that mimics mine (a pack a day for the last three decades), then the notion that the odds are stacked against you to quit has become your excuse of choice.
Sorry smokers, I have good news to report. The process honestly has not been as insurmountable as the data would suggest. My proof? Here is this former smoker’s depiction of what to expect in the toughest period of the journey: the first 10 days.
Day 1: I felt miserable. I wanted to smoke so desperately that I literally shed a few tears. For my journey, I’m using a chewing gum Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). I followed the NRT recommendation and chewed nine to 12 pieces of gum on day 1. I also drank plenty of water and didn’t leave my house. If I couldn’t get to a store, I couldn’t buy a pack of cigarettes. Brutal day.
Days 2-3: I felt anxious. These two days were more about mind control over the physical need for nicotine. This internal battle of wanting something yet choosing not to have it caused the irritability stage we often hear about. The gum and water helped a great deal to ease the stress. I stayed house-bound because I still didn’t trust myself near a store.
>> Read more: 5 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain After You Quit Smoking
Days 4-7: I felt physical relief and joy. I took a flight of stairs and was shocked that I wasn’t wheezing. I used the gum, but I seemed to have longer spans between nicotine cravings. I left the confines of my house on day 4 with a strong urge to purchase a pack, but I chewed a piece of gum before I left and was able to resist. By day 5, I left the house but didn’t even think about purchasing a pack of cigarettes.
Days 8-10: I felt more shock than anything. I couldn’t believe that I had waited all these years to try and quit when the withdrawal wasn’t so tough. The biggest issue for me now is remembering that I still need the NRT gum. At this point I’m starting to believe that I am close to being a non-smoker.
>> Read more: Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
I recognize that I am still in the “warm and fuzzy” stage. The NRT recommended period is a 12-week program, so each week I will report on my progress. Please feel free to join me on this journey, add your comments, tips and experiences. I would love to have company helping me and encouraging others that it is NOT an insurmountable task to win this war!