How do I avoid relapsing during stressful times?
You can avoid a lot of the things that trigger the urge to smoke until you feel ready to handle them. But stress, bad news, and sad events come on their own terms, and when they do, they make many of us return to the comfort of that false friend, smoking.
There isn't any technique to guarantee that you won't smoke when the going gets really tough, and you'd only be human if you did. But if you can try to remember that smoking is only temporary relief and can't really solve your problem, you might get through. Here's how Nat put it:
"My dad died in March of lung cancer. I had quit a couple of months prior to that and started back during the days leading up to the funeral. What I'm going to say may sound hard, but I feel more compassion than you know.
My daddy died.
I smoked just one.
My daddy was still dead.
I smoked some more.
He was still dead.
The estate pressures were still there.
My momma still needed me.
My family still needed me.
I was once again a fully involved addict with a lot of grief and pressures.
I have had to go through the quit all over again.
We learn to deal with our emotions through smoking. A crisis arises after 2-3 years and we want to smoke. The quit process never ends. Every day we must make a conscious decision to either win or lose. If you look at it right, it's an opportunity that the never-smoker doesn't have: victory over the most addictive substance in our culture!"
Another way to deal with a strong urge is to beat it senseless. :) Here, Susan describes her battle with what we like to call the Nicobeast:
"... in a drunken stupor, I did the only thing I could do. I got in a barfight with him. I would have slammed him onto the pool table but it's a British Pub, no table. I would have hit him with a beer bottle but I was drinking mixed drinks. So I hit him. Hard. Then I kicked him right where it hurts. Rest assured my friends, there will be no little nicobeasts running around ... if you know what I mean. I was trying not to be too obvious about beating him up as I didn't want my friends to notice. Fortunately, we were outside. So I pretended to be stomping my feet to keep warm. Really I was stomping the nicobeast into so much hamburger helper. I had to sing Ave Maria to cover those awful squeals that he made. I can't carry a tune in a bucket. It was a little embarrassing, but worth it. I walked away unscathed."