I smoked a cigarette after staying quit for 18 days. Have I lost all the progress I made?

I smoked a cigarette after staying quit for 18 days. Have I lost all the progress I made?

An ex-smoker recounts his journey of quitting smoking.

Written by Sameer Jha |Published : December 23, 2014 5:36 PM IST

I had successfully quit for 18 days and was feeling really good about myself. However, today while taking an evening walk, I smoked one and have been regretting it ever since. My brother told me that I have lost all the progress that I made on my 'quit smoking campaign' and will have to start over again. Is it true?

No. But, it should have been avoided.

Don't worry, having resisted smoking for 18 days, you have got into the habit of resisting. That is your biggest gain, besides the obvious benefits that your lungs and the rest of your body have received.

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You might find that the intensity of your cravings, which were starting to slightly fizzle, have increased again. Don't worry, it'll last 1 or 2 days (I know it's a lot) and you'll have successfully recovered all the damage smoking the solitary cigarette did, to your quit smoking campaign.

I can remember smoking a cigarette exactly 31 days after staying quit (yes, I wanted to celebrate the landmark) and while it gave me a strong buzz and a momentary relief from the agony, after 30 minutes, I was in greater agony as I was craving another one. What's more? The cigarette didn't taste that great and my breathing pattern suddenly felt irregular. I felt extremely shattered and angry at my decision to take the plunge. However, having fought the battle for so long, I vowed to never repeat the mistake again.

Having quit successfully, I see that solitary cigarette as a lesson in how much harm just one cigarette can do to a healthy body. Certainly something I didn't realise so consciously when I would smoke away 20 in a day.

Some basic things you need to remember after slipping:

  • A slip is an accident, a relapse is a choice. Even if you have smoked one, don't think that your efforts have gone to waste and go into the comfortable prison of cigarette addiction again. In fact, if you have set a clock tracking the number of days since you quit smoking, don't reset it.
  • Take it as a lesson in how slippery the path to freedom could be, and also how much damage a single cigarette can do to your body.

Sameer Jha was a regular smoker for five years, and would smoke 10-20 cigarettes a day. He was extremely addicted and struggled to go an hour without a cigarette, let alone a day and believed that only death could make him quit smoking. In a series of posts, he shares his experience about how he was able to silence the beast that nicotine addiction is.

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