Quitting smoking with the Cold Turkey method, or the drastic smoking cessation method, is a challenge that requires great commitment and perseverance. If you want to quit smoking without help, then you have to be mentally strong, stay busy and active, and react appropriately if the occasional relapse occurs. If you want to know how to quit smoking with the cold turkey method, follow these steps.
Method 1 of 3: Mentally Tough
Step 1. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of quitting smoking with the cold turkey method
Quitting cold turkey means deciding to quit smoking completely without the help of drugs or nicotine replacement therapy. This business requires perseverance and independence. Only 3-10% of people are successful because this method brings drastic changes in their lives. Before you try to quit smoking with cold turkey, you should understand the advantages and disadvantages of this method.
- If you need to quit because you have a health problem caused by smoking, cold turkey will be a quick way to improve your health condition or prevent it from getting worse. You also become more motivated to do so if you have serious health problems.
- You may suffer more, but only for a short time. Instead of spending months or even a year on nicotine medication and therapy to slowly rid your body of nicotine, this method can let you beat addiction faster if it works.
- You may experience intense and unpleasant symptoms of addiction, such as depression, insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.
- You are less likely to succeed with cold turkey than using a combination of other methods.
Step 2. Develop a plan
Creating a structured plan will help you be more assertive and make you more committed to the process. You'll need to select a day in the calendar to start quitting, and mark each day you managed to go without smoking. Choose a day of the week or month when you feel relaxed, when you are less stressed and want a cigarette.
- Identify the trigger. Write down the triggers that make you want to smoke, such as drinking alcohol, going to parties, or even listening to jazz. Decide how you will avoid it.
- Always remind yourself why you want to quit. Once you start a plan, always tell yourself that you want to quit for your health, for your family, and for your friends. You can also write motivational notes for yourself and keep them in your wallet.
- Please remember that the first days are the toughest. Outline this in your planner. Reward yourself for making it through the first days or weeks of quitting cold turkey.
- Keep a journal in which you write down your thoughts and feelings during the smoking cessation process. Plan to keep a journal at least once a day so you feel more in touch with how your body and mind are feeling.
Step 3. Manage stress
If you can control stress, the desire to smoke will decrease. You may be smoking as a way of dealing with stress, so you should find other ways to deal with stress so you won't be tempted to smoke again. Here are powerful ways to manage stress so the mind understands your attempts to quit:
- Ponder. Write down the factors in your life that stress you out and find out how to reduce them. If you can eliminate or reduce the sources of stress before you start smoking cessation, the process will be much easier.
- Do a relaxing activity. Try meditation, yoga, going for a walk, or listening to relaxing music before bed.
- Plenty of rest. You will feel more capable of dealing with stressful situations if you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and if you give your body adequate rest.
- Open up to a friend about your feelings. You will feel lighter when you do not feel alone in the decision to quit smoking.
Method 2 of 3: Living a Busy and Active Life
Step 1. Keep the body active
If you want to quit smoking, you must always be active so that you have less time to think about the urge to smoke. Staying active will not only make you healthier, but will also replace smoking with other habits. What to do is:
- Keep your mouth busy. Drink plenty of water, tea, juice, or anything else that distracts you. Chew gum or mint gum if needed.
- Keep your hands busy. You can squeeze a stress ball, draw, play with your phone, or find other ways to keep your hands busy so you don't reach for a cigarette.
- Exercising. Get used to doing regular exercise. Exercising 30 minutes a day can refresh the body and mind.
- Strolling. This is very good to do when there is an urge to smoke.
Step 2. Be socially active
It's best not to be alone in your room when you decide to quit smoking, as it will be difficult for you to hold back. Think of this as an opportunity to spend time with friends or family, so that apart from distracting yourself from smoking, you'll also be happier.
- Many received invitations. Think of this as an opportunity to attend various events, even if you avoided these in the past.
- Take your friends for coffee, go for a walk, or hang out. Chat more with your acquaintances or friends so that friendships can become closer. Try to invite them to do activities that do not trigger you to light a cigarette.
- When hanging out with friends or family, say that you are trying to quit smoking. This way you will have support and not feel alone.
- Do fun activities. Invite your friends for yoga, dancing, hiking or swimming at the beach.
- Remember to avoid temptation when you hang out. Don't go to parties where everyone smokes or spend time with friends who are heavy smokers, as this will tempt you. If possible, find new ways to be more socially active.
Step 3. Avoid temptation
This is mandatory. Once you know what triggers you smoke, avoid any situations that make you relapse, or things that make you think about them. Here are ways that can be done:
- Try to avoid spending time with fellow smokers as much as possible. If one of your best friends smokes, talk to him about your goals, and try to spend less time with him when he smokes.
- Avoid places where you usually buy cigarettes. If you go to a regular store and always feel the urge to buy a pack of cigarettes, change your path and find a new store.
- Avoid situations where you tend to smoke. If you often smoke when you hang out at the mall, at certain restaurants, or at clubs, try not to visit those places again.
Step 4. Find a new hobby or interest
Finding a new "dependence" for changing smoking can help you refocus your energy, and you'll be excited about a new routine instead of struggling to get through the smoke-free days. Here are some great hobbies and interests for you to follow:
- Do something with your hands. Try writing a short story or poem, taking art lessons or a pottery course.
- Try running. If you set a goal to run 5 Km or 10 Km, you will be so focused on this new exercise that there is no time to think about cigarettes all the time.
- Be adventurous. Try hiking or mountain biking. Doing something completely outside your comfort zone will keep your mind off smoking.
- Cultivate a new love for food. Not that you have to replace smoking with food, but to spend some time appreciating food and maybe learning to cook. Realize how now that you are no longer smoking, everything feels better.
Method 3 of 3: React Appropriately if Relapse
Step 1. Reflect after a relapse
If you've given in to the temptation of smoking, whether it's just smoking a cigarette at a party or finishing a pack on a tough day, it's time to sit back and ask yourself why it happened. Understanding the reason is the key to preventing relapse. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself:
- Do you relapse due to stress? If so, you should think of ways to reduce stress, or to avoid certain situations that cause stress. For example, if you smoke because of stress at work, find ways to deal with it, such as eating ice cream or watching a movie after work.
- Did you relapse because you were in a situation that made you want to smoke? If you smoke at your friend's party because you usually smoke on his back porch, then you should temporarily avoid the party he or she is hosting or get ready with chewing gum, dessert, or betting yourself not to smoke.
- How did you feel before the relapse? Recognizing those feelings will help you fight them in the future.
Step 2. Continue your efforts
This is an important point. If you smoke one cigarette or relapse for a day, don't think you've failed and then give up. Don't use that one-time relapse as an excuse to go back to smoking. Just because you show weakness once doesn't mean you're weak and don't have the ability to quit.
- Continue what you are doing. If you've been trying for a long time, then your body will no longer feel as badly addicted as it used to be, even though it has relapsed once.
- Increase alertness after a relapse. For one week after a relapse, try harder to keep yourself busy and active, avoid temptation, and control stress.
Step 3. Know when it's time to try a new method
There is a reason why only 3-10% of people successfully quit smoking with the cold turkey method. Because it's so heavy. If you've been trying the cold turkey method for months or even years but keep coming back, or even reverting to smoking, then maybe cold turkey isn't the right method for you. Here is another method you can try:
- Behavioral therapy. A behavioral therapist will help you find triggers, provide support, and help you decide how best to quit smoking.
- Nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine substitutes in the form of patches, candy, gum, and sprays are some ways to give your body nicotine without tobacco. This is a good way to slowly wean your body off nicotine rather than quitting drastically.
- Drugs. Visit your doctor for a prescription for medication that can help you quit smoking.
- Combination treatment. Behavioral therapy, nicotine replacement therapy or medication, and adequate support from friends and family can be the best ways to ensure that you actually quit smoking.
- Sunflower seeds can relieve cravings that are hard for you to get rid of. Grab a bag of sunflower seeds in your favorite flavour, or try another flavor and eat it when you feel like smoking. It really works.
- Refresh and clean the house and all smoking areas. Get rid of ashtrays and all smoking aids.
- You can try sunflower seeds to divert your cravings for cigarettes. Eat your favorite flavor or try another flavor when you really feel the urge to smoke. This method really works.
- Write down 5 reasons you shouldn't smoke and post them on the back of your cell phone/landline.
- Friends are the most helpful help when dealing with serious problems like this.
- Avoid hanging out with friends who smoke.
- If you can't stop with the cold turkey method, try cutting back. If you usually buy one slof, buy only a pack and don't use it for several days.
- Try using nicotine gum. A small amount of nicotine in it helps reduce cravings.