Thursday, 11 December 2014

Quitting anything will bring cravings

I can't say that I've ever had to quit smoking or drinking, having never done either of those things at all, let alone enough to be addicted. I am aware, however, that a lot of people approach the Big Quit by looking for an external force that's going to make it happen, whether that's hypnotherapy, acupuncture, the patch, nicotine gum or inhalers to "handle the cravings". And before I get going, I need to stress again that I literally have no first-hand experience with how intense those cravings can be. Still, here it goes.

There are going to be cravings. Lots of them, strong, hard and frequent. That's how you know you're getting over an addiction. The craving is a withdrawal symptom, and you're not going to be able to quit without getting them. What you need to do, however, is to recognise, anticipate and accept that these cravings will happen, and let them pass without satisfying them. Then do it again and again, as long as they come, for the rest of your life, because that's what quitting means.

By all means, get support, call people, talk to your doctor, read about it, substitute better behaviours, but for goodness' sake, don't keep taking in exactly as much nicotine as before. You don't expect someone who has "quit drinking" to take a little nip every now and then to get over their cravings, do you? If you quit sugar you don't have a little chocolate now and then just to keep the edge off. If you quit, then you quit. Don't half-ass this. It's your life and you're going to be the one making the change.

"But," you say, "it's really hard!" Yes. Yes it is. Of course it is. If it weren't, then they wouldn't bother putting the addictive stuff into cigarettes in the first place, and there wouldn't be a whole industry also built around helping you quit smoking, would there? If it were easy, you'd just decide to quit and then there'd be no step 2. So prepare yourself for a hard job and stick to it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - And if losing weight were easy, we'd have an epidemic of skinniness on our hands.
PPS - Which would be very strange.

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