Forums / Distractions / Autopilot


4 posts, 0 answered
  1. marianne, quit coach
    marianne, quit coach avatar
    278 posts
    30 Nov 2017
    18 Jan 2019
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    Hey there community members!

    Do you feel like you are on autopilot when it comes to your smoking?

    As a Quit Coach, we have heard numerous clients say "I'm not craving a cigarette, but I automatically just reach for it....and before you know it, I have a lit cigarette in my mouth".
    Quitting smoking is such a journey that sometimes takes more than just Nicotine Replacement products or other quit aids. It's a huge lifestyle change. Just how some people automatically take off their glasses before bed, it's something that you don't really think about, it just happens. Talking with people who have been smoking maybe 30+ years, it's about retraining their brain to "what will be their new normal?". What will you replace that carton of cigarettes of your nightstand with instead? Or after a meal, what will you do instead of going out for that post-meal cigarette?

    Share your best tips and tricks you used to create your new normal!

    Nadia B. and Marianne
  2. treepeo
    treepeo avatar
    832 posts
    29 Nov 2017
    18 Jan 2019
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    Hi Marianne,

    So true!  I remember one of my brothers saying that he was talking to someone and automatically reached into his shirt pocket for a cigarette.  And then he realized, "What am I doing?  I haven't smoked in 10 years!"  So yes, sometimes we are definitely on autopilot.

    When I first quit, mornings were especially hard.  It used to be I would rather spend my time before work smoking than having breakfast.  So I deliberately changed that up.  Sometimes I would make a really delicious breakfast, including eggs.  I found that I had so much extra time on my hands as a non-smoker that this was actually possible.  And if I didn't feel like eating, I would play a few games on my computer.  The way I looked at it, if I was going to make a major change like quitting smoking, which I knew was going to be really hard at the beginning, I had to replace it with things that I would enjoy as a sort of reward.  And I found that really effective.
  3. atp
    atp avatar
    501 posts
    31 Dec 2018
    19 Jan 2019 in reply to marianne, quit coach
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    I'm almost 3 weeks into my quit and know exactly what you are talking about. You realize how much smoking was a part of your daily life. The automatic smokes: coffee/smoke, get in car/smoke, take garbage out/smoke, bbq/smoke, water lawn/smoke, walk dog/smoke. Routine is such a hard thing to change. 

    For me I started to make oatmeal for breakfast. It takes time to get a good oatmeal. And also eating oranges and apples. Take my time peeling them and focus on the activity of peeling/eating. 

    I also put gum in the door of my van where I used to keep my smokes, so as I drive and reach down for a smoke I now get a gum. 

    The other thing I did for the first while when I had an urge to smoke was to stop and smell my fingers - no more tobacco smell on them! That was my reminder que not to smoke. 

    Although I find that as the days pass, I am breaking the 'routine' urges of smoking. My patterns of doing things are changing. I do have more time to do those little things around the house. 
  4. efram, quit coach
    efram, quit coach avatar
    236 posts
    29 Nov 2017
    17 Feb 2019 in reply to atp
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    Hi Folks,

    From what treepeo and atp say, it seems that having a replacement -- especially an enjoyable one, like a delicious breakfast -- can really help!

    I spoke with a truck driver once who'd replaced the cigarettes in his pack with straws cut in half and stuffed with cotton; he'd reach in his shirt pocket and pull one of those out instead.

    Atp, you used the word "patterns." Some people find that tracking their smoking prior to quitting helps to increase awareness of their smoking patterns and also cut down on the "autopilot" smoking.
    Last modified on 17 Feb 2019 10:57 by efram, quit coach
4 posts, 0 answered