Anyone can experience a smoking relapse. You could have lasted a few months without smoking and felt great about it. Then you ask a friend for an occasional cigarette after quitting for no apparent reason, and before you know it, you’re smoking. Although it may not become a habit, most people in this scenario resort to smoking at least a few cigarettes everyday.
Understand that you are not alone if this has occurred to you. Plenty of others have taken the same path. According to relapse statistics that followed ex-smokers’ relapse rates for over 20 years, 39% of them relapsed at some time. By the end of the trial, the smoking relapse rates of the participants indicated a significant decline, with 69.5% of them having successfully stopped again.
While it may appear that the first cigarette was lit by accident, it is rarely the case. The good news is that you may regain control by reconsidering your reasons for quitting smoking.
Assessing Addiction Behavior
Days or even weeks before the actual incident, the roots of a smoking relapse are typically planted. Something as basic as passing a stranger sitting on a park bench “relaxing” with a cigarette might initiate the shift in mindset. “He gets to smoke, but I can’t since I quit,” you could think.
If such ideas aren’t addressed, they can fester and grow until you feel sorry for yourself and worry about smoking. It all comes down to perspective. If you persuade yourself that smoking is worth it and that stopping is a major sacrifice, you’ll probably start smoking again sooner or later.
Unexpected smoking impulses can be risky and lead to relapse. Triggers, events, or conditions can cause smoking relapse. It’s critical to become aware of these triggers and avoid them if at all possible.
Some common relapse triggers include:
- Associating with other smokers, especially when in a relaxed environment
- Consuming alcohol
- Feeling confident
- Not getting enough rest or sleep
- You may find yourself in stressful situations all the time.
You may considerably improve your chances of successfully quitting smoking by eliminating as many triggers as possible. While it maybe hard to avoid all triggers, doing your best to avoid them as much as possible can decrease the chances of craving cigarettes years after quitting.
Justifying Cigarette Relapses
The boundaries of your quit will get a bit hazy when you put some distance between yourself and that final cigarette. It becomes easy to forget why you decided to quit smoking in the first place.
Perhaps your persistent cough has gone away, or you believe quitting hasn’t been as difficult as you anticipated. You persuade yourself that it’s no great issue if you go back to smoking for a little while and then quit.
We quickly forget about all of the other smokes that were less enjoyable—the ones that gave us a headache, tiredness, and shortness of breath.
While the nicotine is no longer present in your system, the habit of smoking persists. If you allow addiction behavior to take hold, your mind may come up with some clever arguments for craving cigarettes years after quitting. Of all, they’re all falsehoods, but they maybe appealing. Most of us have failed to stop at least once due to erroneous reasoning.
Recovering from a Relapse
Junkie thinking is a result of having smoked a cigarette or more. If you allow it to, it will continue to influence your life. Give up the cigarettes and pursue an alternative to smoking immediately to maintain your quit plan and prevent a long-term relapse.
Your mind should be working for you, not against you.
You’ll justify why it is important to put off quitting, but don’t believe the lies. Rejoin the saddle and get back on your horse. These suggestions can help you get back on track:
Make a list of reasons
Make a list of reasons why you want to quit. You may have already done this. If so, take your list and go over it. Then, add to it. Keep it close at hand and refer to it whenever you feel unsteady. These reasons are just as valid today as they were when you quit smoking. These reasons will help you regain your focus and get your priorities in order.
Human beings make mistakes. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a failure because you slipped or relapsed. You can learn from your mistakes and make improvements to avoid repeating them in the future.
Find an Alternative to Smoking
Remember that no matter how intense the need to light an occasional cigarette after quitting is, it will disappear within five to ten minutes, whether you light a cigarette or chew a piece of chewing tobacco. You’re one step closer to quitting smoking for good each time you overcome cigarette urges.
You can help fight these urges by finding alternative activities or products for smoking a cigarette. These can include:
- Vaping: Start with a high nicotine concentration and progressively lower it with each bottle of juice you purchase, and you’ll be free of your nicotine addiction in no time.
- Chew something: For a satisfying crunch, chew sugar-free gum or hard candies, or consume raw carrots, celery, almonds, or sunflower seeds.
- Workout: Physical exercise can help you avoid or minimize the intensity of smoke cravings. A quick burst of physical exercises, such as jogging up and down the stairs a few times, will help you get rid of your cigarette urge.
Overcome Cigarette Smoking
Every person’s journey is unique. While the choice to stop should be yours alone, the road to recovering from cigarette smoking relapses does not have to be. Overcome cigarette smoking and relapses with help from House Haven Recovery Center. House Haven Recovery Center is a well-known Nashville rehab center that uses a 12-step program in assisting men with long-term treatment and recovery, from cigarette smoking to substance abuse.