Jul 01 2008

How I Quit Smoking “Cold Turkey”

Posted at 2:34 pm under Health and Fitness

  • Sumo

quit smoking cold turkey On January 12, 2008 with no prior thought, I woke up, walked downstairs and decided I was going to quit smoking after approximately 10 years of a pack or more per day.

I have no idea what provoked this decision, if any, but I told Claudia and we both decided to quit and we did.

I used Commitยฎ lozenges (mints) to help me fight the urge and they actually helped quite a bit, but 6 months later I’m still taking them, although only every once in a while as opposed to a few months ago when I was taking 10 or more per day.

Claudia is stronger… she didn’t use Commit or anything else… she just quit!

Thousands of people have quit smoking in the past, so I don’t think we’re special, but there are thousands more who think they “can’t” stop, so I want to point out a few things that hopefully with help.

1. I was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army… I run my own business… I workout regularly… I could go on. I know a thing or two about self-discipline. If you tell yourself you “can’t” do something you simply won’t do it! The fact is you can do just about anything you want to do, but it’s human nature to doubt yourself, especially when it gets tough.

Most people can quit smoking for a day or two if they REALLY want to, or have to, but most of those same people will cave in after 3 or 4 days because they simply can’t resist the urge… they convince themselves, not even realizing it, that they can’t do it, but they really can!

Go against that and tell yourself you WILL do this, no matter how bad the urge to smoke is, you WON’T smoke another cigarette!

2. Come up with at least 1 powerful reason to quit. This is what you’ll think about when you REALLY want to smoke. Something that triggers emotion is the best (kids) but health should be nearly as important. For Claudia and I it was a combination of our little guy, Aaron and our own health. Money is also a good one, especially if your budget is tight. I know when we quit a carton of Marlboro’s here in Indiana was somewhere around $40.00; that adds up!

3. Replace your smoking routine with something else! This is something I didn’t start doing until several months after quitting, but I think it would have really been helpful back then. The toughest thing for us was forgetting about the “smoke breaks.”

Our smoke breaks were our time to sit outside, relax and talk. Now they’re gone, so it’s tough. It’s important to get your mind off of that and replacing that time with something else is important. For me it’s doing curls with a 25 lbs. barbell. It’s a stress reliever and it’s helping build my muscle at the same time.

Hopefully this will help you quit smoking too, but what it all comes down to is what I stated above (1.) self discipline. You MUST convince yourself that you can do it because if you doubt yourself you’ll never do it!

Good Luck!

Claudia and I feel GREAT after 6 months being smoke free! We go for a run on an almost daily basis and we can actually BREATH deep and feel great! No more coughing, no more money thrown away etc. etc. etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “How I Quit Smoking “Cold Turkey””

  1. Nick Sanderson 01 Jul 2008 at 3:08 pm 1

    Hey good on you Josh. Didn’t realise you had a personal site too. Already bookmarked it and I’ll be coming back later to read some more. Good job on giving up, the challenge now is to make sure the lozenges don’t hold anything on you. When I went cold turkey I used a glass of water as a replacement to a cigarette – needless to say I was well hydrated! lol.

  2. Joshon 01 Jul 2008 at 3:12 pm 2

    Hi Nick, thanks for stopping by. I just started this blog a few days ago… it’s still a work in progress, but I have big long-term plans for it.

    Fortunately in the past few weeks I’ve been cutting way down on the Commit mints. For a while there I thought I just switched from cigarettes to these mints. But now I’m pretty much done.

    Thanks for the support… see you around ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Katie Dardenon 01 Jul 2008 at 4:43 pm 3

    Hi Josh ~ I quit in 1981 after smoking for 12 years and being up to 3 packs a day. One night I threw away my cigarettes and never touched one again.

    I don’t think I actually smoked 3 packs every day, since often I would light a cigarette, take a puff, put it in the ashtray as I was working on my graphics (or whatever) and when I reached for it again it would be 3/4s gone. But I did light up 3 packs a day.

    I had quit twice before – once with a boyfriend (and went back after being angry with him), and once for 3 months (but went back due to the stress of staying up all night for finals). The last time, however, was for ME.

    In 1981 I was doing a special outward-bound type physical program and the night before I started it I threw my cigarettes in the trash and never touched them again.

    I did not use drugs, gum, coffee or anything else as a substance substitute. They didn’t have many substitutes at that time…and I’m glad. A substitute can be as hard to quit as the cigs themselves.

    What I found that worked for me was to NOT fight the urge! Rather, I would fully acknowledge it. “Yes, I notice I want a cigarette, isn’t that interesting. I COULD have a cigarette if I really wanted, but I think I’ll wait a little while and just not have one at this moment.”

    I think most people run into problems of giving in to the urge because they fight it. I took the “Yeah, so what” approach. I didn’t hold on to the thought, I let it pass through me, so to speak. This is a great example of what you focus on you get more of. I chose to acknowledge the urge and not focus on the desire.

    The other thing I did is I rather naturally substituted physical activity for the cigarette. If the urge became strong, I would go take a run (or a walk), or engage in some physical activity. Later I realized that these things caused me to breathe deeply, which is the ‘relaxation’ part of why people smoke. That’s probably what you are doing with your curls.

    A friend who took a different route to stop was told to eliminate or alter any habitual activity where he used to smoke. For instance, since he would sit and smoke while on the phone, he changed it to standing up while he was talking on the phone, and only staying on the phone for 3 minutes at a time, max. You might try talking while taking a walk through the neighborhood or around your yard as your substitute for sitting and talking.

    The other thing that was amazing is that I continued to have dreams for about 8 years. In my dream I would be smoking. I would wake up in a panic, concerned that I had really had a cigarette, almost smelling smoke in the air. I later realized it was my mind’s way of dealing with the urge in a harmless way. Thank you mind!

    I’m now a hypnotherapist and I can tell you the habituation is the worst part of the smoking – you must change the habits and rituals (as well as your reactions to the triggers that used to prompt you to want one) that surround smoking.

    But the most profound shift you must make is to know that you are now a non-smoker. Until you make that shift, you’re simply a smoker trying to quit. Once you’ve made the identity shift into being a non-smoker, your ego and your subconscious will both help you maintain your new identity. Then it doesn’t take will power – it’s a natural extension of who you are.

    It was 5 years before the thoughts about having a cigarette stopped. If I had tried to use will power I don’t know if I’d still be smokefree 27 years later. Once I was clear that I was a nonsmoker, however, I knew that I would never put a cigarette to my lips – it would be out of character, and so was never considered seriously.

    Congratulations to you and Claudia on getting control of your life back. It’s a major accomplishment however you do it!

    P.S. The hardest part for me was that for about 3-4 months at about 2pm every day – without a cigarette I wanted to take a nap!! AND, it took me a couple years before I could sit and read for more than about 20 minutes without falling asleep!

  4. Earthaon 01 Jul 2008 at 7:24 pm 4

    Hi Josh,

    Congrats on quitting cigarettes. That is great that you and Claudia have been smoke free for 6 months. I have never smoked but I have heard how difficult it is to quit. I think it is great that you have added in exercise to help with stress. After a long day, I look forward to a nice run or weight training. I feel a lot better afterwards.

    Looking forward to reading more posts here!

  5. Joshon 01 Jul 2008 at 8:17 pm 5

    @ Katie – Don’t feel bad about this, really, but I was 1 year old in 1981 ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry, I had to.

    Seriously though, great job! I was only around 1 pack and doing the same thing (didn’t really smoke them all) so it must have been that much hard for you.

    You’re spot on about the “substance substitutes.” For a while there I was eating them mints like crazy. I just switched from one form of nicotine to another.

    After realizing it I’ve cut way down and I’m more or less done with them. I’m eating one of two a day and I don’t even really fiend for them. Now that I’m thinking about it I’ll quit now lol

    I have to admit, I do still have the urges from time to time, but they are fairly weak and I don’t even consider having a smoke, so I’m pretty happy with myself.

    Thanks for the extremely helpful advice and for stopping by!

  6. Joshon 01 Jul 2008 at 8:23 pm 6

    @ Eartha – Thanks for the kind words. It definitely feels great! Speaking of running, I’m hading out for one right now ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Mikitaon 03 Jul 2008 at 4:58 pm 7

    I had surgery yesterday on my ankle and was having severe pre-surgery anxiety for some reason. I don’t smoke nor do I drink, but my blood pressure was “through the roof” and they couldn’t operate on me until my bp levels came down a bit.

    Surgery ended up going well, but I had a stern lecture from the doctor and nurses to improve my diet, get daily exercise (when I’m able to walk again) and to improve my overall health. They told me for a 36-year-old man who doesn’t smoke, my bp could end up killing me, so I need to take ACTION sooner rather than later.

    If you smoke, it’s only that much worse, so I commend you for going “cold turkey.”

  8. Joshon 03 Jul 2008 at 5:37 pm 8

    @ Mikita – Glad to hear the surgery went well! It’s definitely worth it to live a healthy lifestyle!

    I was in excellent shape when I was in the Army, but quickly got out of shape. A year later I’m just getting back in shape and I feel GREAT!

    You’d be surprised how much happier you are in general when you actually feel good!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Brian D. Hawkinson 10 Feb 2009 at 1:39 am 9

    Hi Josh, You both must be very strong willed to quit like that. My wife and I quit over three years ago but it took a few times. I know I’ll never smoke again but even after three year I still get that urge every now and then. It’s not too bad and lasts only seconds but it’s still there. That’s a powerful hold cigarettes has on us.

  10. Joyceon 11 Jul 2010 at 1:44 am 10

    Actually i’m a newbie to affiliate marketing and i get your emails/newsletter about article marketing. I always have my common sense hat on when i’m online and because your sights ring true, i was searching to see if you have a link building site…found out you will soon.

    To make a long story short, i saw the blog site and decided to check it out. So, with cigarette in hand i clicked on. And look what i found?

    I’ve been a smoker for 20 years and even though i enjoy smoking, i KNOW i need to quit. The health issues, the cost, the 2 different toothpastes i use to make sure i don’t offend anybody…My morning routine used to be the first of 5-6 cola drinks with the first of 15-20 cigarettes for the day, so i stopped drinking cola. Easier to give up the cola…Which is kinda good, i lost a few pounds! i’m not much of an alcohol beverage drinker but i did notice i smoked more if i had an alcoholic drink. Well, the restaurants took care of part of that issue. Just have to watch those family gatherings!

    I’ve tried to quit smoking twice. Three days and 8 days. I gave in to the cravings without much of a fight, plain and simple. I’ve come to the conclusion that when i finally make the committment to myself to stop smoking, i will, plain and simple.

    Just wanted to give you a shout out. Thanks for the smoking topic and thank you for sharing your marketing expertise with the rest of us.

  11. Reganon 16 Feb 2012 at 1:32 am 11

    Hey Josh,
    Just looking for fellow cold turkey quitters and your site popped up. Very good advice that you have given. I am coming up on thirty days and have quite a bit in common with what you have done. The physical activity replacing smoking is a huge release while dealing with cravings. Good job to you and I hope you have maintained your quit!

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