Most smokers are gripped by the minds splendid ability to justify its actions. So when your brain becomes reliant on a chemical to feel ‘normal’, its natural for a thick blanket of nonsense excuses to evolve, simply to make your conscious mind feel better about itself.
Except you know, deep down, that something is wrong, somewhere. The problem with excuses is that you know, subconsciously, that you’re really addicted and thats the only real reason you smoke. For example if it wasn’t for the nicotine, smoking cigarettes would be as arbitrary as blowing bubbles. But I don’t know many people who do that to help with their boredom or to ‘keep their hands busy’.
So what happens when you believe something consciously and know something else subconsciously? You get worried that your excuse might get rumbled, you feel anxious that you aren’t fully in control and you get defensive.
You think cigarettes are your friend?
What kind of friend would suffocate you, ruin your clothes, ruin your taste, destroy your teeth, clog your arteries, give you high blood pressure, feed you over 4000 chemicals, massive doses of carbon monoxide, 43 known cancer causing agents including NNK when nicotine breaks down, before killing you with cancer, stroke, heart attack or COPD? Your ‘friend’ is conning you, and does not care what happens to you!
You enjoy smoking?
One of the human minds strongest traits is to justify its behaviours, even if the real reason is not understood. You don’t believe you would do something that you don’t enjoy doing, so logically you must enjoy smoking? Its a persuasive trick of the underlying addiction. How can you tell the difference between genuine pleasure, and the relief from escaping impending withdrawals? A glass of cold water is enjoyable on a hot day because your body needs it. Can you remember what it was like before the addiction took over? If you’re an average smoker, then how many of the 7300 cigarettes have you really enjoyed in the last year? Long term, how confident are you that the ‘pleasure’ of smoking is actually costing you much more happiness?
Waiting for someone else?
Your nicotine is lying to you, pure and simple. Its based on the belief that the temptation to smoke would be too great, with cigarettes and smoke around the house or garden, and this is then percieved as painful or ‘a hassle’. The fact that you smoke is consequential of the fact that you have a motive to. Its this motive that needs to be addressed and quashed by learning what is really happening. By dissolving the illusions that you have developed for yourself around smoking (with a little help by the tobacco industry). How long will you both use each other as another reason so stay enslaved? Until one of you is visiting the other in hospital? And then what happens if they relapse, will ‘love’ cause you to do the same? Why let someone else decide whether or not you are free from nicotine? If you are worried about temptation when you quit smoking, then you have a lot of re-framing to do around the issues of why you smoke. When you quit for good, you wont be tempted, and nothing would drag you back to it.
The real reason smoking seems more relieving when you are stressed is simple yet greatly overlooked. Ammonia in tobacco makes the smoke alkaline, which helps the nicotine (an alkaloid) to be absorbed faster. Stress produces acid, so nicotine is metabolised faster and the smoker goes into fast withdrawal. The sense of increased relief from a cigarette is a psychological trick, it feels like its helping the stress when in fact its doing nothing to change your circumstances. Stress is there to remind you to do something about it. This is why smokers end up depressed, and with a lower quality of life. Nicotine is actually a stimulant, it makes you more stressed and increases blood pressure. As if being a slave to a chemical wasn’t stressful enough. Wake up!
What kind of friends are only so because you smoke? What kind of friends wouldn’t want you to help yourself, and wouldn’t encourage your personal development towards something you wanted? If any so-called friends alienate you because you are quitting smoking, then they’re the one with the true problem. Too often, people drag each other down into the desperation they feel themselves. Smoking wont deprive you of a single true friend or loved one – unless you don’t quit, in which case you will deprive them of you. The truth is that you might be depriving yourself of possible new friendships and acquaintences by smoking. When you quit, your smoking friends will most likely look up to you to help them quit too.
Its too much of a habit
Don’t kid yourself. A habit is something you do alot but could change if you had too. Smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction. The addiction has most likely wiggled its way into the centre of your life to the point that you associate most of your life and identity to it. Nicotine can subconsciously link itself to everything like an associational virus – the telephone, computer work, meals, driving, talking, walking, stress, joy, concentration, boredom, romance. Do you really think that all these things rely on tobacco? Perhaps you just have a habit of giving much more than your income tax to the Government, maybe just a habit of slowly destroying your body. Why not make a habit of trying to improve your health, finances, outlook and life by taking control of your habits?
Keeps you alert?
Nicotine boosts adrenalin and a host of other chemicals, increases blood pressure gives you something to concentrate on. The downside is it rids you of the ability to relax for long periods. Your brain becomes used to the artificial hormone imbalance, you develop the need to keep the plates spinning, and you can’t relax for long without the need of a cigarette arising. In the end, how could an artificial tampering of your neurochemistry via 4000 chemicals in smoke compete with millions of years of evolution? You don’t need cigarettes to stay alert, you need some excitement, some motivation, and some constructive goals. Nicotine is the last thing you need.
Something to do with your hands?
Your hands might remind you of your need for nicotine, but that doesn’t mean you smoke to keep them occupied. It is was true, you could just doodle, squeeze a stress ball, or use strength-grippers. If your hands really needed to be occupied as part of a compulsion, don’t you think that would be a pretty serious and irrational problem in itself? You should have left your need for a dummy when you grew up – if you still need one, then there are surely other issues that need to be addressed once you have quit smoking.