Donald, you a stubborn contrarian????? I'm shocked, shocked that you would say such a thing!!!!
I think that's a splendid story, in all seriousness, though. I think it's a great window into how this is a different process for each of us and the key is finding that thing that walks you away from the beast.
In my case, I made the decision to not be a smoker any more -- after the first 24 hours. (That day was just about getting through that day and I promised myself that if I could just go one day, then I'd let myself have one. And by the next day, after I actually survived an entire 24 hours without one of the stupid things, I realized that I COULD survive without them. So I decided I wasn't a smoker any more. When I talked to people, I never said I was quitting, I'd say I had quit. The quitting part isn't the process. It's the dealing with the having quit part that's the process. I stopped and then figured out what I needed to do to feel better. This was a huge psychological distinction to me. I'd quit -- that was the hard part. Now I just needed to get past the nastiness of detoxing.)
I made a list of all of the reasons that I quit (note: not why I should, but why I had), and a list of all of the reasons I loved smoking (that was a really interesting list and gave me some insights into why I did it and maybe some other things that would fulfill those particular needs).
I spent lots and lots of hours at the about.com smoking site -- very, very helpful. I'd read when I got a craving, and for me, turning the process into an analytical, outside-of-myself learning process about the psychology of addiction was really helpful. Got me out of the immediacy of the beast clamoring and gave me a little bit of distance from my emotional/physical cravings. One great acronym I got from there: NOPE. Not One Puff Ever. This has been strangely freeing for me, because it's given me no wiggle room. (And lord knows, if I've got wiggle room, I'll take it and then some!)
The Wellbutrin/patch combination really helped for me as well -- I approached it as if I was taking medicine to get me over an illness, so I went immediately to the pharmacy after getting the scrip from the doc and began taking it that day. I was getting well...
It helped to disconnect the oral fixation/addiction from the nicotine addiction since I had nicotine in my system all the time, took enough of the edge off that I didn't completely lose my marbles (though my husband might want to add I came close!
), and also gave me my own framework like Donald describes. In my case, it was about telling myself that while I wanted a cigarette at that moment, I wasn't supposed to have one while wearing the patch (you can get really sick to your stomach with nicotine poisoning and I HATE being sick to my stomach). I had to wait for four hours until after I'd taken off the patch to have one. Four hours seemed like such a long time away -- I might as well leave the patch on and just deal with it.
And while the first week pretty much sucks, it really, really, really does get easier!!!! Faster than you'd think. I started smoking when I was about 15, quit for a couple of years in my 20's, but smoked steadily before and after that until a little over a month before my 45th birthday. That's lots and lots of years of habit as well as addiction. Now, as of tomorrow exactly 6 months later, I don't reach for them any more, I don't check to see if they're in my bag before I leave, I don't know where the lighters are in the house any more, and I can sit by my husband when he smokes in our yard and not go bonkers wanting one.
Every once in a while I get a twinge, but I am amazed at how infrequent and how ultimately unpowerful they are. (I'm still on the Wellbutrin so that may be helping with this, too -- am planning to stay on it for a year because it's definitely whacked back depression issues). (So has realizing that I've saved about $800 in six months -- by the end of the year, it will be about the cost of an extra acre of land where we want to move. I've just bought myself land with what I saved not smoking! WooHOO!
Anyway, Shannon, I'm happy to help cheer you on! And get support where ever it makes sense to you -- it can make the difference. Good luck!
And beautiful Karen, you'll be ready when you're ready. I think that's the biggest piece of all -- knowing that it's time.
PS: It was Glen starting this thread that got me started on the first serious thought about quitting, which was a key step in this process for me. Thanks, Glen!!!!