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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a self-sustaining community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, or have quit, please -- join us! You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts.
The GUS library is resource for those looking for information on quitting smoking.
The Gus Library  The GUS library is really looking impressive these days.  Check it out and thank all who have done the very nice work.

A message to all quitters:  You don't have to avoid GUS if your latest attempt to quit didn't work out. We won't give you a bad time and we consider the attempted quits as practice for the real quit.
 

Tonight's music is dedicated to MNraindog who passed away last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was not very active on dKos but a dedicated progressive still. The considerable fire that was burning bright here now burns somewhere else.
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On occasion, I post this growing list of tips for quitters and ask for any other suggestions.  The new suggestions get added and the list grows longer.  

This list of suggestions is in the spirit of GUS, it is yours to do what you wish with it.  Since quitting is a personal thing and everybody is different, they are not hard and fast rules and there is no wrong way to quit. I am adding a suggestion not included in the list, a pre-list suggestion, for anybody getting ready to quit.

Go read Dallasdoc's diary.
start here with Dallasdoc diary
and go check out the the GUS Library  .  There is a lot of good information found here
After that, here is the list of quitting suggestions as it stands now and is ready for any new ones to be added.
Quitters of all kinds are welcome to submit additional ones in the comments section.

I copied, pasted and put in bold italic the new additions.  Someday, I'll do an edit to make it pretty.

Here we go.

1.  SET A DATE A few people can just quit on a whim, most cannot.  You can practice quitting before your quit date.  I think since I "practiced" quitting so many times before, I became good at it.  I just wasn't good at staying quit.  For some unknown reason, this GUS thing seems to have helped that issue.  That and $7.00/pack and lack of stamina.  Yep.

2.  GET RID OF YOUR STASH  Smoke 'em all up or give them away the night before you quit.  Empty and wash all the ashtrays in your house and car.  Don't tempt yourself unnecessarily.

3.  START TO QUIT ON A NEW DAY  Quitting mid-day never worked at all for me.  Others may disagree.  I always found that smoking up all of my cigarettes the night before and starting the quit day with an empty pack worked best.

4.  FOCUS ON QUITTING  Your task is difficult enough without adding any more burdens to your psych.  Do not add weight watching, foot odor eliminating or any other personal improvement program at this time.  You can do all of those later.  Get this big one done and the others can be faced later.  This one is tough enough to warrant your complete personal improvement attention.

5.  BE VERY KIND TO YOURSELF  You get to do most anything you want to for those first 2-3 weeks of quitting.  Forget the diet, have ice cream if you wish with lots of chocolate.  Four or maybe five days of quitting could buy you a great steak/lobster dinner.  Use rewards to mark milestones in your quit.  One week, two weeks, five days, ten days etc.  Anything you want you can have because you are not spending money on tobacco. spend it on yourself.

6.  USE ALTERNATIVES TO CIGARETTES  Carrot sticks, celery sticks, chewing gum, licorice sticks, cucumber slices, bite size candy bars, M&M's, chocolate of any kind, bananas, peaches, jello, beef jerky, roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, salted peanuts, hard candy, apples, oranges.......Do you get the idea yet?

7. KEEP YOURSELF BUSY.  Try hiking, biking, knitting, sewing, jumping. hopping, cooking, eating, skipping, swimming, singing, whistling, hollering, screaming........ any thing but smoking.

8.  SEPARATE YOUR NORMAL HABITS FROM THE HABIT OF SMOKING.  If you had your morning coffee and cigarette on the porch, have your morning coffee in the kitchen.....or switch to tea for awhile.

9.  BREATHE  Look up Old Hippie Chick's comments.  Take deep breaths when a craving hits, it helps.
From jillwklausen:  Whenever the "craving" for a cigarette comes over you, what your body is really telling you is that it's feeling deprived of oxygen. So pretend to have a cigarette in your hand, pressing your empty fingers to your lips if necessary, and take a long, FULL, DEEP breath into your lungs. Hold it there for several seconds like you would if you were smoking, then blow it out slowly. Repeat as necessary.  Breathing is good, a visit to effervescent's yoga diaries could help you here.

10.  IF A BIG CRAVING HITS, GO FOR A WALK and BREATHE instead of a smoke break, go for a walk around the block.

11.  TRY TO AVOID TRIGGERS  For me, getting pissed off made me want a cigarette.  Republicans piss me off so I turned the TV off and avoided the talk shows.  I saved the nicotine replacements for these moments.  In my case, I used the lozenges when those unexplainable feelings of being really pissed off started.  

12.  LAUGH, LAUGH OUT LOUD  Maybe the best counter to a nasty craving.  You can't smoke when you are laughing.

13.  IF YOU HAVE A SLIP UP, FORGET ABOUT IT AND SET UP ANOTHER QUIT DAY SOON.  DO NOT GIVE UP ON QUITTING.

14.  From tripodisblack: In order to change old habits that trigger smoking, maybe you could try out a new activity - a Sierra Club hike in your area, bike ride, an urban walkabout, a new class at your local "Y" or gym/rec center. Join a friend/loved one for a walk. What some of my friends do is simply call me and we walk or work out together although we are in separate cities. Or if one of us has to work, one of us works out and the other talks through the workout.  Changing habits to get rid of an old one, good idea.

15.  From  GideonAB: I am not an expert on this kind of thing but I believe that some people find they can reduce their intake to one or two a day prior to quitting.
 During many of my early quits, I would suck down my complete supply of cigarettes the night before I quit thus increasing my intake.  Maybe this is why those attempts failed.

16.  From FrugalGranny: The keyword is choice. I never use the word can't. The word can't triggers rebellion in all of us. We don't want to be told we can't do something. I quit smoking almost 3 years ago. I always keep in mind that I am fully capable of smoking. I simply choose not to do so. This one is good for all the rebels and mavericks here.

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