I get asked a lot about quitting smoking. Usually people want to know if the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) Protocol will work to help them quit smoking. In my experience, yes it does reduce the cravings and the side effects of anxiety and such associated with quitting smoking. What it doesn’t do is make you want to… so while it can be a very helpful adjunct to the process I do also suggest that you think about a few other things when deciding to quit smoking in order to improve your chances of success.
Step 1 You are thinking about quitting! Congratulations! Truly! The first step to anything is wanting to.
Step 2: HOW? And the answer to this is going to be different for everybody, so yes it is a really good idea to do some research about the different methods of quitting smoking. And there are many, it’s important to choose one that you think will be manageable for you!
Before deciding on the how, I suggest that you start by asking yourself a few questions about your smoking habits…
Have you tried quitting before? Yes I have heard rumours of smokers who just up and stopped never looking back after 40 years of smoking. But let’s be honest… they are not the majority 🙂 The majority of ex-smokers tried LOTS of times before being successful. And that is ok! In fact the more you try, the more chance you have of succeeding! And if you have already tried a few times, well then you already have a good idea of some things that don’t work for you and why they don’t work, making it easier to figure out what will.
Why do you smoke? Do you smoke because that’s just what you have always done? Is it because of stress? Or is it that sinful delight that you participate in when drinking or going out with friends who just make it look so delicious and fun? It might seem ridiculous, but being honest with yourself about why you smoke helps in choosing a method of stopping as well as making sure that you have the necessary support mechanisms in place to give you a better chance of succeeding.
Do you want to stop smoking? This is a tough one I know but really important to be honest with yourself here. Do you feel like it’s time, and you don’t want to be a smoker any more? Is there a specific health concern, that kind of makes it not your choice but you know you should? (Yes, we all know smoking isn’t good for us… but sometimes it isn’t until something is actually going wrong that we believe it.) Or is it that your partner or other loved one has told you that you have to quit?
In cases where we aren’t ready but are in a situation where we feel like we have no choice, again it’s good to be honest with yourself about that. Are you noticing a theme here?
In general, when trying to change anything it makes a big difference to be honest about where you are in the situation. No detail is trivial! Being dismissive of our own personal struggle usually means that we are less likely to take it seriously and that just means that we are going to have a harder time succeeding. It’s the same as booking a last minute flight to Paris. Trying to book the flight from Moscow when you are in Amsterdam just means that you are going to miss the flight. But if you are honest about where you are to start with, then you have a much better chance of getting somewhere!
So, now that the hard questions are out of the way. Choosing a method should become easier. If you are still struggling – talk to someone! Doctors, friends, counsellors.. me… Talking to someone usually makes it easier to weigh the options about what is going to work, and sometimes all we need to know is that someone is willing to listen and support us in the process.
Step 3: Pick a date! And not tomorrow! You need time to figure out a game plan. Take the time to look at your situation and why you smoke. Are you a stress smoker in the middle of exams, job interviews, moving house, and it’s the holidays with your not so favourite relatives? Then WAIT, schedule your Quit date for AFTER all these big changes / stressors. It’s ok to be honest about not being ready, so long as you do set a specific date for after this time period.
Step 4: Give it a go! Yup, you have done the research, you have been honest and set up the support systems, you have a plan, and now it is time! You are doing great by the way! Getting this far is already an accomplishment. It’s scary to change and you are making a really good effort to take it seriously and actually try. I’m proud of you!
Now I wish you good luck, and remember there is no shame in starting at Step 1 again… We are human, we fall down and make mistakes, what’s important is that we get up and try again!