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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
March 5, 2012
No one wants to begin the hard work of quitting by thinking about relapse. The truth is that relapse is a stage in many people's quitting process—one that can be avoided and one that should be seriously considered before it happens.
The first step in avoiding relapse all together is to make this quit attempt different from any others you have tried in the past. Only you can decide what is different about this one from others you may have made. If you have experienced relapse before, think about what triggered you to go back to smoking. Learn from that experience by making a plan of what to do if you encounter the same situation again. There's no shame in relapse. Nicotine is a powerful addiction and it takes a lot of steady work to break it—and you can break it!
Relapse starts with one slip, but a slip doesn't necessarily mean you've relapsed. Relapse can happen when you make a conscious choice to smoke instead of continuing your efforts to be smokefree. The next thing you know, you're buying cigarettes and back to where you were before your Quit Day.
Slips are usually followed by feelings of guilt and remorse. You feel badly that you slipped and you get right back on track with your quit plan. If you slip, take a moment to think about your feelings. Make a choice to get right back on track, tell yourself that you are strong and reaffirm that nothing is going to stand in the way of your goal to be smokefree.
Planning is a good way to prevent slips and relapse. Review the "FFS Quit Plan 2" handout in Module 5. A wise person once told me, "You won't slip if you don't go to slippery places." What are your slippery places? Do all you can to avoid them until you're feeling stronger and more grounded in your new smokefree lifestyle. If you have a slip, review the "What to do if you get off track" handout in Module 5.
If you feel tempted to slip, call the Lung HelpLine and talk with a registered nurse or respiratory therapist: 1-800-LUNG USA (586-4872) and press option 2. Our counselors are trained in smoking cessation and they can even set up a regular schedule to talk with you. You may also opt to participate in an instant chat.
This week, make it a point to work on your smokefree plan:
- Complete the FFS Quit Plan Part 2.
- Review the Benefits of Quitting handout in Module 5.
- Call the Lung HelpLine for support: 1-800-LUNGUSA (586-4872, Option 2)
- Reduce your stress. Review the 52 Proven Stress Reducers handout in Module 5.
- Practice deep breathing with our healthy snacks when the urge to eat strikes.
- Print and share the Relaxation Exercise.
- Drink water—lots of it.
- Reward yourself for getting back on track.
Don't let a slip, a day of slipping or even a weekend of slipping lead you to relapse. Keep moving toward your goal of being smokefree. You're in the right place to help yourself!
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.