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!