Quit Smoking Cold Turkey: Step One – Admit and Commit

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“Hi, my name is Collette and I am an on-the-fence addict.”  Ok, they say admitting it is the first step. That was not so hard, sitting here by myself. It’s just me and my laptop, not a support group. No family or friends in shouting distance. No one to hold me accountable. But, that’s the point; it’s all up to me to jump off that proverbial fence. After 30 years, it’s finally time to stop smoking and it has to be mind-over-matter, cold turkey.

If you are a “gotta quit, can’t quit smoker” like me, you may also have tried most of the “stop smoking” aids available.  The choices are seemingly endless; from the Western medicine pharmaceuticals, such as nicotine patches, gums, and pills that make you ill, to the Eastern alternatives, like acupuncture, hypnosis and herbal remedies.  I’ve tried them all, including regular chewing gum, hard candies and carrot sticks for the so-called oral fixation. Even the thick sadistic rubber band on the wrist for snapping me into smokeless submission has failed.  Cutting back on the number of cigarettes and the timing between them only worked for short periods. The time has finally come to dig deeper for inner resources:  thoughtful planning and sheer willpower.

Thoughtful planning is the first step to successfully quitting cold turkey.  It consists of mental preparedness and action. The American Heart Association, along with similar organizations, recommends choosing a quit date.  Psychologically, this prepares the brain for the big change, or the challenge that lies ahead. Circle the date prominently on your calendar. For mental reinforcement, place the date in other locations as well: work calendar, cell phone, on post-it notes for mirrors, the refrigerator, and the car dashboard.  Thinking about your quit date is not enough. The physical acts associated with your chosen date leave a stronger cerebral “impression”, most likely improving your chances for success.

For me, I am giving myself seven days for the thoughtful planning stage. There is much more to think about and plan during this time, which I will cover in the days ahead.  Therefore, my quit date is one week from today.  Choose a quit date and join me on my “cold turkey” journey, won’t you?  Suggestions and comments are welcomed!

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