The first 72 hours – Dealing with the toughest phase of quitting smoking

The first 72 hours – Dealing with the toughest phase of quitting smoking

The cravings are intense, the mind is stressed and everything in life starts seeming difficult in the first 72 hours.

Written by Sameer Jha |Updated : December 26, 2014 8:59 PM IST

I have always maintained that quitting smoking is like climbing a mountain, and the first 72 hours, represent a part of the mountain that is often the steepest and most slippery. The cravings are intense, the mind is stressed and everything in life starts seeming difficult. Here are some things that helped me see through this incredibly tough phase.

1. Realize that the pain is for your own good and it will go away only if you don t smoke

The craving maybe intense and unbearable now, and you may want to end the agony by smoking just one! But, believe me, the pain will come back and you ll want to smoke just one once again. If you want freedom from the prison of nicotine addiction, then this is the time for you to grovel.

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2. People deal with pain and suffering when they have an accident, you can deal with this too

Imagine if your leg had suffered a huge gash. Wouldn t you be forced to bear the pain? You would be. Quitting cigarettes is giving you a fraction of that pain, and it is caused just because your body is healing. Deal with the pain for the first 72 hours, and it ll start to get easier as time passes by. In my case, the third and fourth day were nightmarish, but they lasted only 24 hours each. Now, as a smokefree individual, I feel so happy and proud that I endured the pain.

3. Reward yourself with anything else other than cigarettes

Even though other things may not be able to provide the momentary pleasure that fresh tobacco smoke would, you can try pampering yourself to mitigate the torture. I can clearly remember getting head massages, ordering the most expensive chicken dishes and sipping slowly on Coca Cola to survive the harrowing experience.

4. Seek as much love as possible from your near and dear ones

Even though I snapped at people while quitting, I can see clearly why seeking their love and support would have been a much better option. Snuggle up with your spouse, hold your mother s hand, hug your siblings and tell them how much you love them to find some strength and comfort from within.

5. Remember the 5 Ds of quitting smoking

Applying all the five Ds of quitting smoking are a great way to survive the first 72 hours. They are delay, distract, drink water, deep breaths and discuss.

6. Don t try to fight the cravings, accept them and don t give in

By trying to fight the cravings, and telling yourself that you are some strong Hercules, you are only exhausting your energy and willpower. Accept the craving for what it is a niggling sensation in your mouth and head, and know that it will go someday. At the moment, it may seem unending and something that will last forever, but know that people have quit smoking before you, and will continue to do so after you.

7. Use the pain created by failed attempts

I had tried to quit several times before I finally managed to do it. The pull of nicotine is intense, and despite my best intentions, I had failed at least 5-6 times. Each time, I would swear to not pick up the cigarette again, but would crumble after a day or two. However, I had seen a beautiful ad which advised you to Never give up, giving up. I followed that mantra and kept on trying to succeed. Each time I failed, the pain of failure grew more intense, and to counter that pain, I found an inner strength to quit smoking finally.

Just like me, you too can climb this mountain. The view from the top is amazing.

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.

Image source: Getty Images

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