Bad v. Good Addiction.

When I opened my Facebook page up to questions today, I got a heavy-hitter right out the box: “i’m trying to stop smoking today……….finding it really hard…… will power is zero so how do u suggest i succeed? :)” I knew it was important when a second person added, “I am quitting on Feb 15th so like [redacted for anonymity], any suggestions???”

So this is my TWO CENTS:

Smoking feels good, doesn’t it? Nicotine calms your nerves and helps you deal with stress and anxiety. So, why stop? Ohhhh—it’s bad for you. But knowing how bad it is, doesn’t stop your body from craving it. The benefits are immediate. The effects are distant. Total bummer…and may I add, totally unfair. Same with eating sweets, having unsafe promiscuous sex, cursing out your bitch of a boss. You get my point.

I won’t give you all the psychobabble about analyzing why you’re smoking. And looking deep within yourself to…blah, blah, blah. I won’t tell you what it’s doing to your lungs, your teeth, your skin, the scent of your clothes. You already know that.

I say trade the chemical dependency for something else. No, not chocolate cake or your best friend’s boyfriend. And certainly don’t curse out your boss (unless he or she really has it coming and you were going to quit anyway). I mean something healthy. Something good for you. Trade the bad addiction for a good one, like learning a new language that you’ve always wanted to learn. Like reading books that let you escape reality. Or collecting coins (who couldn’t use more money?) Or yoga.

Exercise would be at the top of my TWO CENTS list because it’s a benefit to your body and mind all the way around. If you don’t already workout, start with walking 30 minutes a day. Then increase the speed and length of time, if you can. If you do already workout, change it up a bit to something more strenuous. And do it when you feel most stressed. When you’re craving a smoke the most.

Get crunked. Get hyped. Get pumped up about it. Your body will release endorphins. You’ll have more energy. You’ll feel better in the short and long term. You’ll look better. You’ll handle stress and anxiety much better.

You feel stressed? Anxious? Feigning for a cig? Jog in place or do jumping jacks. It sounds foolish, but it works. I wasn’t a smoker, but eating sweets was becoming a comfort of mine that had to be put down. Sugar is a bad addiction as well. So, I took my own advice.

Set short term goals. If you’re able to resist the temptation to smoke for a day (or however long your goal is) reward yourself with something positive. If you happen to fall off the wagon into your old habit of coping, don’t beat yourself down. That will stress you even more. Realize it’s a daily challenge, as with most challenges that are worth overcoming. Just commit yourself to digging back in. Be committed to a good addiction.

And imagine how proud you will be of yourself for sticking to your goal and conquering your bad addiction. YOU CAN DO IT!


  1. Thanks for the pep talk!!! I’ll read it again on my big day, the 15th!!

    • All right! I’m rooting for you. Any particular reason why you’re waiting until the 15th?

  2. Now I am truly in awe. Mom, wife, attorney, author, blogger, now advice columnist??? Boy!

    • What can I say–I like to help people. 🙂 Headed to the gym now so I can help myself.

  3. Exercise is the perfect addiction 🙂

    • Yep. Best to find some sort of exercise that you enjoy so you can maintain it. Dancing is very popular right now. Though Zumba class kicked my booty tonight, I must say the music makes it fun.

  4. The only time I ever got a stronge urge to quit smoking was in Iraq. Then an explosion would go off nearby and I would light one up. Figured, in the scheme of things, smoking was the last thing that was going to kill me over there. A lot of non-smokers started while there as well. It was an outlet for the stress, but perhaps not a good thing in the long-run.

    I found that I smoked even more while studying Arabic because it was stressful. Not an easy language to learn. Excercise does help to a certain extent because you are mostly cursing yourself for smoking while on a long run. Probably the best advice you can give since it keeps you busy. Especially since smoking burns a lot of calories so when you quit, you need to burn them in some other way. I would agree that making yourself do some form of excercise every time the urge hits you to smoke would be the way to go.

    My motivation to quit hasn’t resurged since Iraq, but when it does, excercise will be my outlet.

    • Susan, you never cease to amaze me. Arabic? Wow. I’ve heard how difficult that language is to learn. One of my besties is a high-ranking officer in the Air Force, so I’ve heard lots of stories but still can’t imagine how stressful it was in Iraq. Enough stories to know that I’m a wuss and you ladies are phenomenal.

      I’m glad you shared your experience from a former smoker’s point-of-view too. Glad to know my suggestion resonated well since it was off the top of my head. 🙂

  5. 🙂 you’re so right, the fix is quick and the health issues are way down the line……or so we try to convince our selves! Well I slipped off the wagon today and bought a packet of 10……….I’m climbing back on tomoz I refuse to be beaten by this little white stick filled with dried up leaves.I am saving my money £9 so far!!! I’m going to buy myself a new laptop. the exercise is a good tip, walking up and down the stairs till the craving passes is what I’ve decided to do!!………You never know I may be able to shed a few pounds in the process!!!

    Thank you for your advice……….I’m going to try my hardest to follow it :)………I will keep you updated on my progress!

    • Please do keep me posted. If you can handle giving birth to FIVE children, I KNOW you can beat this. LOL Walking up and down the stairs is good!

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