smoke free buddhaBecoming a non-smoker is more than giving up nicotine, getting out it of your bloodstream and having your chemistry adjust to that new reality. It is not simply about giving up a habit; it is about cultivating new ones. Becoming free of tobacco is not a flash of lightning event, it is a journey of discovery.

A couple of acupuncture treatments will get you through those first few days of withdrawal, as the nicotine metabolizes out of your body. The craving and discomfort of nicotine withdrawal is well treated by a few needles in the ear. We use the same treatment to help people kick heroin. But, becoming a non-smoker usually requires more than a bloodstream free of nicotine. Becoming a non-smoker involves replacing the good things smoking gives you, and finding something new to do with all those extra minutes that are now added to your day.

What do you mean “the good things smoking gives you?”
That’s right, smoking provides a number benefits that must be replaced if one is to successfully transition into a smoke-free life.

Indeed. Smokers enjoy a five-minute deep breathing session several times a day. Each cigarette is an opportunity to pause, relax, and breath deeply. It is a socially acceptable way to take a few minutes to yourself, even if you are seen as a pariah. In our whirl and buzz of cellphone, email and twitter messaged life; the smoker has a built-in cushion against invasions of their time. Smoke time is one of the few moments when you can put the world on hold; especially these days when you have to go outside and away from others to indulge.

When transitioning to a smoke free life, it is vital that you find a way to fill the void of quietude and thoughtful breathing that smoking once provided.

Prepare to succeed.

Like any journey, proper preparation is essential. It helps to have three lists.

  1. A list of the good things that smoking gives you. It could include anything from “I have five minutes when the kids don’t bug me” to “it keeps me from falling asleep on the job.” Get clear on how the time you spend smoking has a positive impact on your life.
  2. A list of the things you hate about smoking. This one is easy enough. It includes everything from burning holes in your favorite clothes to throwing hundreds of dollars a month down the rathole of Big Tobacco.
  3. A list of the moments you reach for a smoke. The trigger moments when you want a drag. It could be after that first frosty taste of beer, it could be after an argument, or when you want a break from the computer. When you know the danger points, you can prepare to meet them with a sleeve full of new tricks.

Do the work.

After you have made the first list, go through it again and come up with at least two other behaviors or activities that you can use to get the same benefit. That way you are already prepared with actions that will net you the same result as having a smoke. It is the ultimate in having choice.

The second list is self explanatory. The third one is where the real work comes in, these are ice cream and chocolate sauce moments, the pizza and oregano, the cool summer evening and a convertible moments. Those moments when something and a cigarette seemed like soulmates. It is not the nicotine you miss here, it is the companionship.

Solution? Much like list number one. Find yourself several other things to do in those moments. Write them on your palm if you have to, or text yourself with them. Again, the way through moment is by having choice, so have some other options already thought out and ready to go.

What about acupuncture?

Acupuncture will not make you quit. That’s your job. What acupuncture will do is help you through those itchy moments of craving. It will help to bring a sense of calm and quiet as it supports your body in the process of detoxification and adapting to a nicotine-less life. It supports you through the process of re-crafting a life that is even better without cigarettes.
Additionally, various Chinese herbal formulas help with the process of detoxification. As the liver and lungs release years of accumulated poison, you will enjoy increased vitality and well-being.