The First 72 Hours
Why Prior Attempts Failed
Contrary to conventional wisdom, a permanent successful recovery is vastly less dependent upon "planning" than "understanding." In fact, findings from two studies indicate that spontaneous attempts are twice as successful as planned ones (see West 2006 and Ferguson 2009). Although poorly understood, it seems to suggest that delay in getting started breeds needless anticipation anxieties that sap and erode determination, motivation and resolve.
Put another way, none of our prior attempts failed because we selected the wrong recovery commencement date. They failed because we failed to understand and master the principles underlying our addiction. It doesn't take brute strength or raw courage to navigate the up to 72 hours of healing needed to rid the body of all nicotine and move beyond peak withdrawal. Instead, it takes protected core dreams and desires that stay fueled and available within seconds, as the primary defense against challenge.
Discovering Online Support
When a smoker first discovers online support, with hundreds of quitters encouraging each other on message boards, it can be a pretty exciting time. The support encounter and experience itself has fueled thousands of successful recoveries. But more often than not, the novelty eventually wears off, crisis arrives, and the uneducated quitter is left with little to fall back upon except words of hope on a screen.
Rule #1 - Put Your Recovery Education First
The below education links are intended as a roadmap of the basic knowledge, tools and skills needed to navigate the first 72 hours. The last link is to Joel's Library, home to a collection of nearly 100 short clinic articles, his free ebook (Never Take Another Puff), and almost 500 video lessons.
Since 1972, Joel Spitzer has dedicated his life to nicotine cessation and prevention efforts. His last community position was as cessation and prevention services advisor to the Evanston and Skokie Health Departments in the Chicago area. Since 2000, Joel has served as WhyQuit's Director of Education where he freely shares his program's core content and decades of wisdom. One complete cover-to-cover reading of Joel's Library will substantially enhance the likelihood that you'll never again take another puff, dip, chew or vape of nicotine.
It's time now to go to nicotine dependency recovery school, and put education first. There will be plenty of time later to post messages. Keep in mind that the six-month nicotine cessation rate for ignorant uneducated school-of-hard-knocks cold turkey quitters is only about 10-11%. Although horrible, according to a March 2003 study which combined and averaged the results of all seven over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine patch and gum studies, only 7% of NRT users were still not smoking at six months.
A quality dependency recovery education program should at a minimum elevate your odds over OTC NRT by at least 400 percent. None of us are stronger than nicotine but then we don't need to be as it's only a chemical with an I.Q. of zero. Our most effective weapon is a mind filled with understanding, truth, confidence, excitement, new skills, and relapse prevention wisdom.
Cessation Advice Warning
Please don't take offense, but serious drug recovery programs do not allow brand new quitters to share their personal quitting tips and wisdom with other new quitters. Frankly, for the most part, it reflects a failed nicotine addict pretending to be credible. Credibility is earned. Make sure the person giving you advice has proven the worth of their words by their recovery having been bronzed (3 months), turned silver (6 months) or gold (a year and beyond). Accept their wonderful words of encouragement but be cautious when it comes to relying upon their wisdom.
- Preserve your memory of your reasons for quitting
- Master recovery's only rule: The Law of Addiction
- Understand the basics of nicotine addiction
- Adopt each of these 20 basic quitting tips
- Develope recovery patience: Just one day at a time
- Focus on victory here and now
- Learn how to avoid blood sugar swing symptoms
- Know that you may need half as much caffeine for the same effect
- Use attitude to reduce recovery anxiety
- Don't expect your educated recovery to be difficult
- Master your mind's junkie thinking
- Understand the need to extinguish use conditioning
- Have at least three crave coping plans ready to go
- Learn to relax and embrace your subconscious healing
- Quit for yourself, not others
- Locate and destroy all nicotine delivery devices
- Develop a postive attitude about the healing that's about to occur
- Prepare your mind for watching others smoke
- Withdrawal is just your stepping stone to comfort
- Create your own zero tolerance relapse policy
- Download a free quit counter, app or meter
- Spend as much time as possible in Joel's Library
- Visit Turkeyville, WhyQuit's Facebook cold turkey support group
- Keys to navigating 72 hours and moving beyond peak withdrawal
How to Quit Smoking
Read our free quitting e-books
Read both and watch knowledge destroy quitting anxieties!
Discover Smart Turkey Quitting
- WhyQuit.com WhyQuit is the Internet's oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers.
- Nicotine Addiction 101 WhyQuit's guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
- Nicotine Cessation Topic Index An alphabetical subject matter index to more than a thousand nicotine cessation articles, videos and support group discussions.
- Joel's Library Joel Spitzer began presenting stop smoking clinics and seminars in 1976. WhyQuit's education director since 2000, Joel's Library is home to his life's work. It includes Joel's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide." The Guide walks new quitters through the first two weeks of smoking cessation, recommending daily videos to watch and articles to read. It's also home to more than a hundred original short stop smoking articles, to "Never Take Another Puff," Joel's free ebook, and to his ever growing collection of more than 400 video stop smoking lessons.
- Joel's Stop Smoking Video Index An alphabetical index to Joel's 400 videos. Each link opens a webpage where Joel shares the video together with related articles and links.
- "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine shares the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful abrupt nicotine cessation. Whether hooked on cigarettes, e-cigarettes (e-cigs), bidis, kreteks, a pipe, hookah or cigars, on dip, chew, snuff or snus, or on the nicotine gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler or patch, the book provides a road-map home.
- Turkeyville Imagine surrounding yourself with more than 10,000 cold turkey quitters. Turkeyville is a Facebook support group exclusively for cold turkey quitters. The group's primary focus is helping newbies navigate the first few days. Just that first brave step, yes you can!
- Freedom Freedom was WhyQuit's original 1999 stop smoking support group. No longer accepting members, today Freedom's 453,000 archived member posts serve as a valuable source of recovery insight and understanding.