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Cold turkey

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One way to quit is to go cold turkey. This means instantly stopping smoking, rather than through gradually cutting down, and doing so without medication (such as nicotine replacement therapy).

Cold turkey is the most difficult, yet surest method, to start and maintain your cigarette-free life.

How does one stop smoking cold-turkey?

First, think about the project for a number of weeks, months or days before beginning. Condition yourself to think of smoking as something repulsive and odious. Concentrate on these thoughts and think of the terrible consequences of smoking, not long-term perhaps, but right now in the present. Think of your horrible breath. Think of the odor constantly clinging to your hair, your clothes and encircling you like an evil miasma, proceeding you and announcing your presence wherever you go. If you smoke inside, look at your walls, the inside of your windows, your curtains. See the yellowy film? That's what's going inside you. Allow yourself to fully appreciate the noxious fumes you are inhaling, coating your lungs, teeth, palate, throat and settling finally in the alveoli of your lungs. Think of the damage you are doing to yourself as you find yourself puffing up stairs.

Next, as you work on the negative thoughts about smoking, start your action plan. Eliminate venues where you allow yourself to smoke. Nowadays, this is forced upon you anyway, especially if you live in California. If you live where smoking is allowed and tolerated, train yourself to go smoke-free in selected places. No smoking at the gym, for instance, or while walking. Stop smoking in your car. Check out the underside of the windows and that will make it easier. Gradually, expand the places you refuse to smoke, concentrating on making the decision to smoke more difficult. Stop smoking anywhere inside your home or anytime during the workday.

Then, as you focus on how terrible smoking really is and as you eliminate places and times you allow yourself to indulge in this filthy habit, pick a date certain, such as your birthday, Memorial Day, graduation, or, of course, everyone's favorite, New Year's Day, and vow that will be THE day when you quit. Concentrate on the day for a week or so before the big event. Smoke as much as you can. Overindulge to the point of nausea. The day before the BIG DAY, make sure you smoke two or three or four times your usual amount. Make yourself sick with one last smoking orgy.

THE day arrives. Now, you are ready to quit COLD TURKEY. Your thoughts about smoking are now all negative; you have only a couple of places left where you allow yourself to smoke. Be sure to remind yourself repeatedly the actual physical addiction lasts only 48 hours. It's the mental addiction which gets to you. Remember: you are home free after 48 hours.

By the way, to go cold turkey also means you must give up smoking dope. The act of smoking anything will reactivate your desires and undo all your good work. Goodbye, sweet Mari....

The next issue, of course, is how do you maintain?

Many avenues suggest themselves and by far the most important is constant attention and thought to quitting, Never forget--it's over. Keep up the negative reinforcement: smoking is disgusting, degrading and dirty. Now, when a smoker approaches, you know immediately by the smell. How did you ever think no one noticed? At the same time, think positive thoughts about how great and clean you feel. Concentrate on the positive results you are experiencing day by day. Run, walk or jog. Notice how it's becoming easier. Walk up stairs. Suddenly, your food tastes better.

A big question for many smokers is how do I satisfy those oral cravings without gaining weight?

It's perfectly possible to quit smoking and not gain weight, popular opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. Assuming you are a person who usually watches what you eat, just keep doing so. Try to stay away from restaurants and bars for the first month or so. Use gum, sugarless candy, toothpicks, dental floss, toothbrushing to keep your mouth happy without cigarettes.

When you have the urge to smoke, take a walk or go to the gym to help curve cravings of eating after you quit smoking. When you quit cold turkey, you need to give it up completely and not keep yourself in an environment where cravings are likely. One important tool to use is to pray to God for the strength when you feel a craving coming on. After the first six months, it will seem like you never smoked before and once you have quit for a year, the less likely you will be to go back. My success of quitting cold turkey was prayer and keeping busy. My motivation was that I did not like standing in extreme heat or cold just to smoke and there was a bat in my garage that scared me.

Above all, keep up the negative thoughts about smoking and you will never go back!

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