Don't Think About Quitting Tobacco
Making the decision to quit using chewing tobacco is one of the biggest and most courageous decisions you’ll ever make for yourself and your family. As with any major life event, it’s only natural to feel anxious and preoccupied with the uncertainties of the future.
We have found that the best way to ease those unsettling feelings is to arm yourself with knowledge. When you know what happens to your body when you quit nicotine, it’s much easier to get excited about actually quitting, instead of worrying about what it will do to your body. With an understanding of what nicotine withdrawal symptoms feel like, you can then come up with a plan to overcome those cravings when they strike.
Having a plan is crucial, as it allows you to stop yourself from overthinking the situation, thus creating a new source of undue stress, and pushing you closer to taking a dip that you don’t really need.
The Difference Between “Thinking” and “Overthinking”
Picture this: You’re at home watching TV on the couch. You’re calm and relaxed. Suddenly, you get a text from a relative about next weekend’s big family reunion. You’re dreading it because you’re afraid the stress of the event will trigger a craving that you might not have the will to overcome.
Thinking about the reunion and how it might affect your efforts to quit worries you, so you put the phone down, try to push it out of your mind and get back to relaxing.
But you keep getting texts about next weekend, and your mind keeps simulating all the different scenarios you could encounter at the reunion. You might even decide that you need to pick up a can on the way to the event “just in case” you need it to get through the day.
In a matter of minutes, you’ve gone from completely at peace to an anxious wreck—and why? Because you’re trying extra hard not to think about it, and in the process, convincing yourself this will be too much for you to handle.
Thinking About Tobacco Doesn’t Matter, But What You Think About Tobacco Does
Our pre-quit program advises you to get rid of all your tobacco stashes, spit cans, and anything else that reminds you of dipping. This is because you don’t want to sit and stare at those things while actively trying to avoid them.
You may be able to turn your back on your chewing tobacco things, but you can’t do that with people, even if they stress you out and make you want to dip. As we have explained before, you do have control over your cravings and withdrawal pangs, but only when you are able to recognize the sensation (anxiousness, irritability) for what it is (your nicotine addicted mind asking for another hit). Through this simple shift in perspective, you gain power over your addiction and can use logic to defeat it.
“I feel this way because my body wants nicotine, but because tobacco is no longer in my life, I will not give in.”
The end goal is twofold:
- Be able to recognize a craving when it strikes, and use logic to stop yourself from giving in to it.
- Have a plan (or plans) to overcome the craving through avoidance or distraction.
As we have illustrated, having a plan for when cravings strike is crucial, as it allows you to stop yourself from overthinking the situation.
Don’t get stuck in a never-ending thought loop about why the family reunion will be so stressful that you might give in to a dip. Instead, remind yourself that you have a plan (you’ll keep a can of Grinds in your pocket, and excuse yourself for a walk if things get too intense) and then put those worries to rest.
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