Getting Ready for Quit Day
First, decide how you are going to quit. There are several ways to tackle it:
1. A sudden impulsive break with tobacco. All at once, you get angry with the weed and stop. It is probably the morning after a late night and your throat and mouth feels like a tingling raw porcupine. And so you say you are done with it. But that frequently lasts till the craving in your nerves becomes stronger than the rawness in your mouth. And back you go.
2. Then there is the "taper off" method. This is the old ploy of "cutting down," a method that, for most people, just doesn't work. Trying to "ration out" the cigarettes over a longer period of time, in the hope of eventually cutting them out entirely, only gets your mind on the smokes all the more and encourages you to think you can't overcome—as you see that you aren't.
Trying to count the cigarettes all through the day and taper off, and then discovering that the number of butts in the ashtray is far too many. You forgot to keep the count going—and spaced out properly. This is because a lot of your smoking is automatically, unconsciously started. If your mind thinks that it is all right to keep on with tobacco, it will continue to do it in the routine way, which is an automatic reach and light up way.
Trying to ration yourself to one after a meal, only increases your psychological craving for the next meal to come sooner! Your nerves will get no rest. The trouble with this method is that it is almost more trouble than smoking is. All you can think about is the count or the clock. How is the pack count doing? Can I still have another today? What time is it? Is it time for another yet? Should I smoke it now—or save it till after lunch?
Then along comes an emergency; you toss out the scheduling and go back to your cigarettes in abundance.
3. Then there is the "place a bet" method. You make a bet with someone for a fair sized amount of money that you can stop smoking for a month or two.
4. Lastly, there is the better than bumming method. This technique calls for going about without smokes or lights—and depending on your self respect to not keep asking others for the "makings" needed to keep the nicotine flowing down your throat.
The experience of many others can tell you that, in most cases, the above four methods are not successful.
But there are ways that work. And, in this book, you will learn about them:
1. A definite plan of action that has been well thought out and is carefully carried out, either alone or with the help of another. A number of variations of this plan are known to succeed. Many of the best points in them will be found in the forthcoming pages. These are ideas and methods that work, and have worked for thousands. They are based on sound, practical facts and common sense.
2. In addition, in this book we are going to give you some information that you will rarely find in any "how to stop smoking" plan: nutritional information that will enable your body to work together with your will in forever getting rid of tobacco in every form.
3. There is yet another way of overcoming that you may never have known about. There is more help available to us than we often recognize. All three of these important factors are to be found in the coming pages of the book you now have in hand. Second, you must accept the fact that quitting is more than desire; it is a decision coupled with an act of the will. Mere desire is not willpower. Along with your desire to stop smoking, you will want to mobilize your willpower into a clear cut positive action.
Third, your decision is based on definite facts about tobacco and what it is slowly, insidiously doing to your body—and, in fact, to the bodies of everyone who lives and works near your tobacco smoke (including your children).
Now for some preliminaries to quitting:
1. Start thinking about it. Strength of will and a renewed determination of character comes even as we think about it: what is involved, what will happen if you don't quit—happen to you, to your wife or husband, to your children.
The very fact that you have read this far in this book is very encouraging. You are on the right road. You are thinking about it, getting a new mindset on the topic. You are moving toward a decision that you will stick with.
Thinking about giving up smoking always precedes giving it up. Think about what it has done to your life already. Think about the problem it is right now. Is it really "satisfying," "pleasant"? Is it a habit you want your sweet children to copy later on?
What would it be like to never take another smoke?
2. Make a list of reasons why you should quit. It would be best to write it right now. List all the things you don't like about smoking. Now, go over your list. You will think of some more items; write them down.
Reread parts of this book. You may want to add a few more items. Over the next few days, carry a card or slip of paper around with you. Other reasons may come to you.
And keep thinking: "I have to quit; I am going to quit."
3. Select the right time to begin. That day will be "Quit Day, and it will not be far off. Keep thinking about it, and get used to the idea. And, along with it, be thinking about the advantages you will gain when you do. Freedom to live a better, happier life. No more slavery to a habit that you are secretly ashamed of. A healthier, more energetic life. And a longer life than you otherwise would have had.
Actually, there are three things you could be thinking about: (1) the bad things about tobacco; (2) all that you will gain by quitting; (3) worry and fear lest you not succeed. Let me tell you this: Those who succeed—think about the first two a lot, and they do not give much attention to the third. What you think about affects you. Focus on the first two and ignore the third—and stick with the first two after Quit Day and stay off the third after Quit Day—and your future will be bright. Remember F.D. Roosevelt's famous statement in the dark days at the beginning of World War II: "The only thing we need to fear is [dwelling on] fear itself."
What is the right time to begin?
The right day to quit is the day you wake up in the morning and know it is time to quit right then. Or it is when a series of "stop smoking" meetings takes place locally. (Later in this book we will tell you how to find out when one of these stop smoking clinics will be held in your area.)
But, at this juncture, let us consider the first of these two just right days:
Watch and wait for a day when things are going on a fairly even keel. No special problems or crises are expected for the next few days at least.
Some morning, perhaps on a weekend, you will wake up feeling especially good. You will have had a good night's sleep and you feel ready for action. Somehow the idea of stopping today doesn't seem quite as impossible as at some other times.
Then and there, you tell yourself that you are through with smoking! This is it!
Quit Day has arrived.
You have studied this book; you understand the issues; you have given thought to the matter and are well aware of the serious consequences—for you and your loved ones—if you continue on with tobacco. You have made up your mind that you are going to quit—and now the day has come!
No more hot, dry, poisonous fumes in your mouth! No more of that yellow juice in your body. No more odor of burning nicotine and pyridine and aldehydes and all the rest of the hundreds of peculiar chemicals in nicotine. No more jail cell living, chained to a tobacco leaf.
Before, you weren't prepared; this time you are. The last sections of this book are filled with worthwhile material on helping you succeed. And, whatever may have been the past, this time it will be done. You are ready this time and you will carry it through.
But, before ending this chapter, let me add this: Do not wait too long to quit. If you postpone it too long, you will lose the momentum you are building up. Success in quitting requires selecting the time and then quitting.
And the time you select should be a favorable one. You know that quitting is not easy, so give yourself every reasonable advantage. Choose a time when there is not that extra tension and pressure. Try for a time when life is running more smoothly and evenly, a time when you are feeling well and up to the challenge of what needs to be done.
If an opportunity does not seem to be presenting itself, then make one! Take a long holiday weekend to get started.
For you do not need to wait till a certain morning to decide; you can decide the night before or several days ahead. Pick a convenient night to go to bed earlier than usual. Go over your lists and be thinking about what you are going to do, but do not smoke that evening. Read for a time or listen to the radio or do something else that is quiet and relaxing. Then go to sleep. The next morning has been selected to be Quit Day.
As soon as you awaken, tell yourself that this is it! This is the day you have looked forward to.
It is really "Freedom Day." Don't see it as something negative, for the negative—the slavery—is behind you. Ahead is a better way of life. Sure, there will be some storms, but that's all right. There will be a lot of bright, sunny days also. It will be a better future without nicotine.