I quit smoking. I'm losing my mind. Help!

I haven't had a cigarette since Saturday night. It's been two and a half days now. I was fine at home the past two days, but now that I'm at work SOMEONE IS GOING TO DIE. Any words of wisdom or advice from the forumites? I'm not a wimp, I'm pretty bullheaded and I want to succeed at this, but I'm getting weepy and evil and am about to come out of my skin! Could use some ideas!!!


  • 40 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • You can do this! I've been smoke-free for 13 years, but it wasn't easy at first. Buy a huge bag of tootsie rolls, hard candy, gum, anything that you can chew on or suck on. Think about how much you can irritate that whiny person at work by popping your gum. I have a co-worker that chewed on the coffee stirrers. She would grab a handful each morning and her garbage can would be full by the end of the day. But she was successful.

    Focus on getting through one hour at a time - or even 15 minutes at a time if necessary. Eventually you will look at the clock less and less and it will get easier. You will also start to feel so much better.

    My husband used Zyban. It helped him with the irritability and moods. He was very mellow while on it, but our insurance didn't pay for it and it costs $125 per bottle.

    Good luck!
  • Unfortunately, no words of wisdom. But we can all encourage you. Do this for yourself! As HR you'e had to do lots of things you didn't want to do, that were personaly distasteful, disgusting, stressful, that hurt. This is hard, but is it as hard as firing someone who really needs the job, some one you know whos family will be hurt byt the loss? Call a friend, tel them how much you really want that cigarette, let them help you through the cravings. Youv'e done so many things for your employees and your company - now do this for you! C'mon forumites, one of our own needs some help. Cheer her on!!
  • The nicotine patch helps with the cravings. Take a short walk around the office when you feel like you're going to explode. Chew on straws, coffee stirrers, tooth picks. This may sound crazy but gently tap on the bone behind your ear... it realxes you. (I saw it on Star Trek but it really works.) And be sure to drink lots of water and juice, quitting tends to plug up the pipes, if you know what I mean... watch what you eat, don't replace butts with snacks, weight gain is common. If you exercise, escape to the gym or whatever you do. If you don't exercise, buy yourself a walkman and walk when you are really on the edge.

    Good luck! This may be the hardest thing you ever do. I've tried a few times and the weight gain always made me go back to smoking. But I'm thinking about trying again.
  • Keep cheering me on, folks! I'm going for a walk around the warehouse to get rid of some extra energy. I have printed all your advice out and will try it out. It's so hard to go through this without help and support. Your input means a lot!!! Thanks so much!
  • Hang in there - the first 72 hours are the worst, then it starts to improve. One word of wisdom - don't overdo it on sugar-free hard candies. They have a rather obnoxious side affect, not unlike an out-of-control whoopee cushion!

    Try eating celery and carrot sticks. Also, try putting a rubber band on your wrist and snap it (hard!) when you think you're about to freak out.

    I quit a year ago, but also quit back in 1987 for five years. In my case, the stress bone's connected to the smoke bone, so find something during the day that you can do to de-stress (I take a walk through the plant, but keep away from the door to the outdoor smoking area). I also make it a habit to stay out of bars - a dry martini with a twist tastes just as good at home.
  • I've been smoke free since May 5, 1986. I succeeded by chewing nicotine gum. Because the gum was so strong, I use to cut it in two. I chewed the gum from May 5, 1986 through December 31, 1986. I gradually cut down on the gum until I was down to 1/4 of a piece of gum a day. My New Year's resolution was to quit chewing the nicotine gum. I succeeded at that also and now chew Extra Polar Ice gum.

    I also took up walking which led to taking up golf. In the golf season, I usully golf 9 holes each workday and 18 holes on weekends and holidays. By staying active and eating healthy foodsI have not put on a pound.

    Quitting smoking will be the best thing you've ever done for yourself. Don't give up! You'll smell better, feel better and save money. Good luck!
  • Linda,

    I too have joined you in the grueling process of kicking the habit. I haven't gone cold turkey like yourself (I tried that, my husband almost died). I visited the family doctor for a prescription to Wellbutrin which is the same thing as Zyban but insurance companies pay for it! I have to take it for 2 weeks and then start the patch. You can't smoke at all on the patch. I don't know if I'll need the patch though, I have already cut down from a pack a day to maybe 4 or 5 a day and I've been on Wellbutrin for 2 weeks.

    Call your doctor tell him you want Wellbutrin. Good Luck!!
  • I want to encourage you also. I quit smoking on April 12, 1984 at 9:00 p.m. God willing, I will have my 20th anniversary in a 'few' months. I was smoking at minimum, three packs a day, sometime cracking the fourth, if I was up late. I loved nothing more than to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, just so I could grab a cigaret while I was up. Mealtime always culminated in two or three chain smokes. Back then we could smoke in the office and I ALWAYS had one in the ashtray in my office, another in my hand and one going in the breakroom. I realized I was burning holes in all my clothes, almost burning my babies, coughing my head off and filling up the backyard with butts, not to mention stinking up the office, house, car, truck, childrens treehouse, etc. I had no help, other than the patience of my wife to put up with my foul self. It was sheer hell for a week. Bad temper. Could not think straight. Could not reduce a thought to writing. Could not focus to deliver a comment in a staff meeting. Could not have BEGUN to read this paragraph you are struggling to read and have started over twice already. I could have killed for one in the morning and after a meal and GOD help the guy who pissed me off if I had a beer. Thankfully I made it through. I often say if I ever find out I have a terminal illness the first thing I will do is buy a carton of cigarets. I loved it THAT much. All I can do is tell you that YOU WILL MAKE IT! IF I DID, YOU will. I was a tough case. To top it off, my dad died 17 days after I quit and if that wasn't a good reason to start back, there ain't no good reason. But I toughed it out. No matter what in the world happens that makes you think you want one, do not give in to the temptation. You are currently addicted but that will pass. I promise. While you are addicted, you will be tempted in 30 ways and there will be as many reasons that you think are good reasons, and what the hell, why not have one and quit all over again tomorrow. You're on a roll now. Keep up the roll. You'll break out of the misery in less than 10 days. each night tell yourself 'It WILL be less torturous tomorrow', and it will be and finally it will be success that you feel rather than the urge. Just put a sign on your shirt saying "Please stay the hell out of my way. I am trying to quit". Then put an "X" through 'trying to' and write in 'GOING TO'.
  • Congrats on working on quitting Linda, I know you can do it. Hey just remember if you are going to kill someone, make it an employee that causes you a lot of grief so you get some benefit from it. Best if you can lure them away from the workplace, that way you might even get away with it!
    My $0.02 worth.
    DJ The Balloonman
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 09-03-03 AT 02:02PM (CST)[/font][p]And if you killed them at work, you would have to do the paperwork. That would be really hard in handcuffs!

    Good luck, I hope to join you one day soon. I heard something yesterday that made so much sense to me. We don't worry about our health until it's in jeopardy. Good health is cheap, most of the time free. Treating our poor health is very expensive.

    Gave me something to think about.
  • Hi Linda,

    I have quit smoking also. It will be a year for me in October. I used Zyban for a month. It is not an easy habit to break but hang in there it does get better. I work out every day and drink alot of water. Water fills you up so you don't eat as much. I gained about 10 lbs. but I am loosing the wieght. Give your body time to adjust. This is a big adjustment for you and your body.

    Hang in there.

    Good Luck
  • Hey Linda, hang in there. It's easy to quit - I've done it several times! The last time it was with the Wellbutrin and it really works - makes you not want to kill people. Which, if you have family, is a good thing. And I stayed quit for about six months. Maybe I should have listened to the doctor - she wanted me to stay on the Wellbutrin for a year, and I didn't. So, the weight gain brought me down. I'm getting ready to try again.
  • You guys are the best! I feel better knowing there are people who understand! I've always been obsessed with my weight, so I am behaving nicely in the food department, no sweets, no soda, and lots of water. It's nice to hear from all of you, because the first thing my dad said was, "Well, don't go packin' a bunch of weight on!" (Yes, I ignored it, and no, he isn't coming to visit any time soon!) Weight gain has been my past excuse to start up again, but not this time, and support is soooo important. It's almost 1 pm and I haven't hit, spit on, punched or killed anyone yet, so I think the worst might be over! Thanks very much to all of you. Oh, by the way, if I do end up killing someone, where should I post my question about legal advice ... ?
  • If you have not hit, spat on, cursed, scowled at or blown snot at anyone yet, honey, you ain't in pain yet! But when the time comes, just do it and move on. You can tell her later that you weren't responsible for your actions and you're sorry about it. And if she can't take a joke, tell her............
  • Don't worry about legal help. The Forum attorneys will defend you pro bono. Isn't that right? Then again, I don't know if I'd want an employment law attorney defending me on a felony charge!

    Hang in there, I've given up several addictive things in my life (none illegal, maybe some immoral, but none of them smoking), so can't give you advice on that. I have lived through both my wife and my assistant giving up smoking, so it's not impossible.
  • Every hour you don't smoke is another hour that your lungs have a chance to heal!

    I hate to be a downer, but my mom smoked from the age of 18 until 4 months ago. (She's 63) The reason she quit? Small-cell lung cancer. Mainly smokers get it, and it's terminal-period. I won't go into the gory details of the surgery, the chemo and now the radiation, but suffice it to say, it's been ugly, and painful, and for what? Maybe we keep her 6 months longer?!?

    In the middle of all of it, she said to me "I just want to hear Anna(my baby daughter, her only grandchild) talk. My heart has never been broken in the same way before, and hopefully never will again. She was supposed to live until her 80's like her parents, not to 63 or 64....


  • You go, Girl!!! I am always so amazed by those who are able to quit smoking. I've never been a smoker, but I know it's terribly addictive. My grandpa died from it. I wish you all the best--hang in there!!
  • I think all of us have a story about someone we lost to cancer. My mom died at 62, not from cancer, but way, WAY too young. That's my motivation: sticking around as long and as healthy as possible for my son. Thanks again for sharing, everybody! You've made today much easier! Oh, and Don, I have to admit, I probably would've blown a booger on someone if I could've figured out how to do it!
  • Good morning Linda! Well, now it's 3 and 1/2 days and look at the help and encouragement you've generated. You just hang in there today and know all of your colleagues are cheering for you and sending you their best vibes so you can be successful and DO THIS FOR YOU! Have a smoke free hour - day- week - life!
  • Thank you so much! Everyone's support has made a huge difference! Yesterday was rough, really rough, but today I already am starting to do better. Keep cheering, folks, because it is really helping!!!
  • The day you can read a 20 word complex sentence that illustrates a concept, look up and repeat it almost verbatim, you know you have 'rounded the bend' and are headed home! And clip and save the sentence so one day you can say, "You know...there was a time when I could read this sentence and not be able to look up and tell you precisely what it said, much less relate the concept to you in my own words". Unless you've done the drill, this might not make any sense whatsoever, but I promise it's real.
  • Hang on, you CAN do it! I quit after smoking from ages 15-35 -- it was one of the toughest things I ever did, but boy I am glad. My brother committed suicide this May after having been diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in March -- it is a horrible disease -- he was way too young at 58. Trust me, it will get easier -- it does take a while though. I could hardly stand being around myself for 6-8 weeks. And then, I would forget about cigarettes for brief periods of time and amaze myself!

    BUCK UP AND DO IT! (good luck -- I'm thinking of you)
  • Linda,

    Congrats! I quit six years ago and I calculate I have saved $4000 in cigarettes not to mention dry cleaning, health issues, etc.

    I found the nicotine gum were tremendously helpful in dealing with the cravings. My other tip is to announce what you have done to AS MANY people as you can. That will make it harder to ever go back to smoking.

    I still remember the day that I realized that 24 hours had gone by and I had not thought of a cigarette.

    Welcome to life!

    Paul in Cannon Beach, Or
  • I'm having a bit of a rough time at the moment, so I came here to see if there were more posts, and what wonderful words of encouragement! Cheryl, I am so sorry about your brother. How difficult it must have been, and how strong are you for sharing that story! I'm gonna grab a bottle of water and take a few laps around our warehouse. You all are really helping me a lot. I printed this thread and am looking at it every time I think of having a cigarette. Paul, I told everyone here at work I was quitting, so not only will I get ribbed if I have one, but a lot of folks are checking on me throughout the day, so I don't feel alone at all in this anymore! Gotta go walk! Oh, and Don, I can't swear that I could repeat a 20-word sentence verbatim last week...and I admit that I read another thread and tried to lick my elbow...got any other tests?
  • The key here is to re-direct your thoughts. Every time you are thinking about lighting up, use that as a trigger to think of something else. When you deny yourself something you become focused on it. Find something else to focus on that is more important than the urge. Do something like plan a trip for next year with all of the money you are saving. This should give you the motivation.

    Cigarettes are over $5.00 a pack here in NY so that money can add up quickly. Good luck and I hope I could be of some help.
  • As if you don't have enough to do to occupy your daily HR world; here's an idea. Print out this entire thread, AGAIN. Cut out each reply and thumbtack them all to a bulletin board. Rock back in your chair and throw a dart at the board, get up and read the post the dart hit. Make a game of it, but at the same time, benefit from re-reading that post. Maybe even this can be fun, but you never could have proved that by me 19.7 years ago! Oh, and if people walk in the room, do your best to resist slinging the dart their way.
  • Hang in there! It WILL get better. I had actually forgotten about the evil, weepy, crawly feelings until reading your post. Apple slices worked for me. I sliced them very thin (20-30 per apple) and would slowly chew an apple slice when I had a craving. What a wonderful feeling it is to go for a chest X-ray and be told "your lungs are clear"! You CAN DO it!
    ..26 years and counting.
  • Sunrise day 5 and your forum frinds are still here. How did the lap around the warehouse go? And leave it to HR folks to even make a 'game' of deep sixin a crummy, wasteful, harmful addiction. As I said early on, I never had to stop so I don't have any words of experience in that area, but I've watched friends and family go through what you are experiencing and appreciate how hard it is. But if anyone deserves a longer life, better quality life, healthier heart, arteries, lungs it is you...and your kids and other loved ones who do not want to see you debilitated, or worse. Most of us don't knowingly eat poison, many of us avoid too much red meat, saturated fat etc, why would anyone put lethal smoke in their bodies? You hang in there!
  • Linda, keep it up. I am so proud of you. I am married to a smoker and can't get him to even want to quit. I know how terribly hard it must be.(I nag at him all the time and to no avail.) My grandfater died of emphysema from smoking. I do not remember him ever able to get out of the bed. He would play a game with us called "who can find the cigarettes and the winner would get a quarter". We would search all over the house until we could find where my grandmother had hidden his cigarettes.
    My father farmed and his main crop was tobacco. (Our family is embarrassed to admit that, but it got us educated and grown.). However, none of us smoke. The best way to encourage kids not to smoke is to have them work during the summer in the hot hot sun in south GA in the tobacco fields. Not only is it back breaking work, but when you walk through you come out with the black sticky stuff all over you (nicotine) and you can't wait to get a bath. (Just think that that goes into your lungs.) However, I must admit that one of the best smells I remember as a child and young adult is the smell of tobacco curing in the barns in the back yard during the sumemer.
    I know a lot of people who years after stopping to smoke still use the nicorette gum after meals or in an emergency. You might want to think about trying this. Also, keep thinking of what you can do with the money you save!!
    Good luck and do try to stick with it. It will be one of the smartest moves you ever make!! (Glad to hear you told everyone. This forces you to think twice when cravings hit. I am sure they will be supporting you. Just ask for help.)

    E Wart
  • I quit smoking a little over a year ago too. The first week or so was the worst for me. I did it using the patch. That was a BIG help. I also drank lots of water. It's supposed to help flush the nicotine out of your system faster which helps you get over the withdrawal. Exercise really helped too. I changed my patterns of behavior so I wouldn't be around things or people who would trigger that urge. I stayed out of smoking environments, like bars and certain restaurants so I wouldn't be tempted. I avoided alcohol and certain social gatherings for a while. My house became immaculate from cleaning it because of all the nervous energy. I got involved in outside activities. I didn't allow myself time for a smoke break. I kept myself busy and before you know it, you don't miss it anymore. Time passes and you can get on with your life. Keep it up! It's definitely worth it!

Sign In or Register to comment.