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5 PREVENTING RELAPSE
Most people who have a relapse have one within the first three months of quitting smoking. Although this may make you want to give up and think you are a failure, do not get discouraged by the small relapse. Remember that more often than not people who quit have to try several times before quitting for good. Although it is difficult to stop, there are some situations that make it much harder. Some things that make it easier to relapse include other smokers, drinking alcohol, mood swings or depression, and weight gain. However, if you do have a relapse, then be certain to learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself what worked last time and what didn't? Also what was the major factor that caused you to give into temptation?
MIND THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
Being around other people who smoke is one of the worst things you can do if you are trying to quit smoking. The smell and second hand smoke can cause your cravings to get more severe and the habit is difficult enough to kick without constantly having to avoid temptations. Having friends, family, or co workers who smoke around you will be one of the most difficult situations to deal with, but it is important that you keep far away from these people while they are smoking, during the time when you are trying to quit. Ask people to not smoke in your home or your vehicle, and be sure to get the smell of smoke out of these places before you quit as well. It may be annoying for your friends who smoke to have to do it outside, but your health and well being are well worth the sacrifice. You never know, you may inspire your friends and family to try to quit with you as support, which will benefit all of you.
SOCIAL DRINKING AND SMOKING
Drinking alcohol is another factor in causing a smoker who has quit to have a relapse. Although whether you should avoid alcohol altogether when trying to quit smoking differs regarding the amount and way you drank alcohol before you quit. If you never drink, well of course you don't have to worry.
However, if you were a social drinker there are precautions you should take to prevent relapse. Most social drinkers have a cigarette with there drink, so it may be difficult to go out and get a drink without relapsing and having a smoke. Even if you throw away all your cigarettes there will surely be someone there to offer you a smoke with your martini. Each time you do go out for a drink after you quit, be certain to remember you are a recovering addict and need to refrain from smoking at all. Even second hand smoke could cause you to relapse. Some people find it best to avoid drinking at all while quitting smoking and to very seldom drink after they quit unless a good friend is with you to help support and motivate you to not smoke.
THE STRESS FACTOR
Some people use smoking to regulate their moods and keep them feeling normal. This is a huge problem when attempting to quit for good and avoid a relapse. Many things from medication, to deep breathing, can all help elevate your mood and keep you from needing cigarettes to keep from mood swings and depression. If you have difficulties with depression then keep doing what your doctor suggests and tell them you will be quitting smoking soon. See if they have any suggestions for things to do to keep the mood problems from getting worse due to the nicotine withdrawal. It is also good to ask your friends and family from causing you undue stress during the first couple of weeks after quitting, which is when you are most likely to have a relapse.
WEIGHT GAIN AND QUITTING SMOKING
When you gain a little weight from quitting you might be tempted to start up again to lose it but there are many ways to lose the weight besides smoking. It is also a bad idea to try to lose the weight while in the middle of quitting. Try your best to worry about losing weight after you have a good handle on quitting. Not dieting is a good way to keep your focus strictly on quitting.
When you are trying to quit it is best to not take even one puff off a cigarette. Even taking one puff will inevitably lead to another and another until you are back at a pack a day. Think about what will be some of the most difficult times for you after quitting, and make a solid plan for how to handle them. It is always best to recognize the situations that may cause you to slip up and relapse, and either avoid them altogether or have a plan of action ready when going into the situations. Some of these times include parties, work, and at a bar. These times and places differ for everyone so talk to people who are there to support you about what is best for you.
FALLING OFF THE WAGON
Now you know how to prevent relapse but, what about when you do relapse as many people do several times before quitting for good. Well there are many ways to recover once you have a relapse, first of all do not beat yourself up about it. Everyone makes mistakes it is how we deal with the mistakes that will decide if we can get back up. Many of the people who slip up and have a smoke still end up quitting for good it just takes a good plan of action and learning from your mistakes. It is best to treat a slip up like a fire or another type of emergency and STOP immediately! Then immediately start to think where you were, who you were with, and exactly what you were doing when you had a slip up, so you can then plan what to do next time you are faced with this same situation.
You are now prepared for this situation next time it happens and are quite ready to quit again and hopefully this time for good. Although remember if you slip up, it is not the end of the world. Simply assess the situation that caused it and take care of a plan before quitting again.