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Spring excellent time to quit smoking

by John R. Polito, founder of WhyQuit and author of "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home"

Spring is the perfect time to quit smoking and reclaim your mind and life As flowers unfold and life renews, it's hard to imagine a more perfect setting for smokers to rediscover their own abandoned beauty, an inner self, buried long long ago by the output of brain "pay attention" pathways taken hostage by nicotine.

Although deeply ingrained, it somehow seems wrong to use "quit" or "quitting" to describe a beautiful homecoming that's long overdue. The terms are better suited to identifying the day you said goodbye to a calm and quiet mind, as you climbed aboard an endless roller coaster ride of nicotine-induced dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin highs and lows.

"Quit" and "quitting" better describe a sad priorities exchange where planning for and delivering that next nicotine fix became more important than family, friends, work, eating, and even sex.

Nicotine dependency recovery can be the most beautiful awakening you've ever known. Yes, those first 72 hours may be challenging, as you purge 100% of nicotine from your mind and reach peak withdrawal. But taking them just one at a time, while celebrating each, can transport any smoker to that magic moment where extraction is complete and true healing begins.

Have you ever noticed how obnoxious and zealous some ex-smokers seem to be? It isn't that they're necessarily trying to rub it in or make you feel badly. Most are astounded at how horribly wrong they were all those years about life without nicotine. They want you to join them. They are often just trying to relate how amazingly easy life is now that they have quit. They recognize how fooled they once were. Attempting to reach through your wall of dependency denial, it's their hope to spark hope.

Charleston, SC smoker inhaling smoke on March 3, 2007Nicotine dependency is about being buried alive by brain "pay attention" pathways taken hostage, and then living a lie. It's about the power of those dopamine pathways to make us falsely believe that smoking nicotine defines who we are, is core to our very existence, gives us our edge, and that life without it just won't be as good.

Yes, spring is a time of renewal and about coming home, but how? Contrary to pharmaceutical industry quitting-product hype, nearly 90% of all U.S. ex-smokers made the journey home without any product, service or procedure. Clean, fast, effective and free, they simply decided to stop putting any and all nicotine into their bloodstreams.

But just one powerful puff and full relapse is all but assured. It's called the "Law of Addiction." We'll never be stronger than nicotine but then we don't need to be, as it's only a chemical with an IQ of zero. It cannot plot, plan or conspire and is not some demon that dwells within.

Our greatest weapon against it is, and always was, our vastly superior intelligence but only if put to work. Think about it. What learning takes place by slapping on a patch, being hypnotized, taking a pill, chewing gum or sucking on a lozenge? Knowledge truly is power. The following links are free resources that will aid you in understanding both nicotine dependency and the recovery process.

Spring is upon us. Aren't you just a little curious about what it would be like being "you" again? It's your birthright to be free. As hard as it may be to believe, a 2006 study found that unplanned quitting attempts are 2.6 times more likely to succeed than planned attempts. Remember, baby steps. The next few minutes are all you can control and each is entirely do-able. Rid your mind of all nicotine and then watch the forgotten beauty within unfold.

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Written March 3, 2007 and last updated June 1, 2015 by John R. Polito