support to quit smoking
December 5, 2011 3:04 PM   Subscribe

How can my SO help while I quit smoking?

Short of nagging or policing me (which are not happening and are not part of the agenda) what can my boyfriend do to help me while I quit smoking?

There are tons of questions on mefi by people asking how they can help their SO quit smoking whether they like it or not or how they can quit themselves.
I am interested in what my boyfriend can do to help me while/after I quit smoking.
He has not been nagging me or trying to make me quit because I told him it's pointless.
But he knows that I do want to quit and has if there is anything he can do to help.
I've quit lots of times (at times for a year or two years) so I know that it's both the easiest and most difficult thing I have to do.
I've told my boyfriend that I don't want him to be my guardian and police me and he agrees that it's a bad idea.
But we both want me to be healthy.
I've got a quit date in December to coincide with when the boyfriend is away for two weeks so he won't actually be there for the first days after I've quit.
I'm not looking for advice on how to quit smoking.
I want to hear from the collective about what you did to help your SO quit/avoid a relapse or vice versa.
Things like, going for a jog together to work those lungs or just telling you you're amazing for quitting. Anything that worked for you.
Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If there are habits that you have that are triggers to smoking (going to the bar, coffee in the morning) that he participates with you in (other than the smoking), ask him to be patient while you avoid those behaviors.

Positive reinforcement helps a lot, let him praise you and heap goodies on you for sticking with it.
posted by tomswift at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2011

Primarily: he can not smoke, and be willing to avoid smoking triggers with you like tomswift says. Secondarily, you may need his help thinking of things to do that don't involve smoking triggers.

Find a card game - preferably one that can be played over and over in fairly quick rounds - that he can play with you when you need something to focus on and keep your hands busy.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:33 PM on December 5, 2011

nth being aware of, and willing to avoid, smoking triggers. For my SO, this mean a bit less pub-time while I quit.
posted by pompomtom at 3:35 PM on December 5, 2011

My boyfriend regularly gave me praise out of nowhere without any prompting. That meant a lot to me because I often 'forgot' that what I was doing was good or worthwhile. You go through a lot of physical and mental things that make it hard to have perspective or feel good in real time about what you are doing (that changes!). He kept reminding me that I was doing something really good for me, that he was impressed, and that it was worth it--this always came out of nowhere and I really needed to hear it.

My SO also knew to pick up the slack for a little while. He was understanding when I didn't want to go out (the first couple months I really didn't). He knew for a spell, too, that certain things triggered me (as mentioned above). So, even though there is no smoking in bars anymore, I personally strongly associate bars with smoking (most of my adult life there was smoking in bars) so we didn't hang out in bars. We went to restaurants, movies, or to see art exhibits.

He stopped smoking around me. he has since also quit, but for the first six months that I quit he still smoked. I never asked him to not smoke around me, but I am so glad he stopped because in weaker moments I might have said, "aw, chuck it" and grabbed a cigarette from him. For me a moment like that would have equalled another three months before I quit smoking all over again.

I want to mention that the fact that your SO won't be around the first two weeks sounds ideal, though. That is how I would have wanted it. Withdrawal is uncomfortable. I prefer to be alone when I have a headache or pms--and this is very much like that.

Good luck to you!
posted by marimeko at 3:42 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking

This book saved me from an early death, and has done the same for many, many others. Please. Read this book.

(12/29 will be the three-year anniversary of my last cigarette ever. And I don't miss it. Not even a little)
posted by Afroblanco at 4:37 PM on December 5, 2011

I quit smoking about 4 months ago in a house full of smokers. I poked around on how to quit on other MeFi threads, and found the easy way to stop smoking as afroblanco recommended. It really is a great book to read before you quit. For me, I thought I wanted to quit but I realize now I wasn't sure until I finished it, and I don't think I would have made it without that help.

For the first couple of weeks, all I wanted was the ability to say to everyone "today sucks! To hell with it, I'm going to bed" without judgement. Your bf being out of town is a good call, but fyi I still felt irritable to about the 3 week mark, so you might still be in this sort of mindset.

Smoking used to be my time for pacing and thinking, so I also needed to go for lots and lots of walks. This was actually great, because I got to rediscover the outside without smoking. You should see if he would be ok with going on some of those walks with you cigarette free (i.e. not carrying any cigarettes, not just refraining from smoking), b/c I would definitely have snapped if I had been walking with a smoker.

Most important is to recognize that this is a personal struggle, and he can only do a little to help you along. I still recommend The Easy Way to help you with that personal struggle, but you just have to (a) make it past those first couple of weeks and (b) know you don't want another one once you make it through.

Good luck!

posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 8:22 PM on December 5, 2011

SO can take the initiative for frequent fresh breath kissing. And a lot of happily distracting sex. Lots and lots. Good luck - you can totally do this!!
posted by mcbeth at 6:36 AM on December 6, 2011

If you anticipate that you will be moody or bitchy while you quit, it might be helpful to have a preestablished safe word. So in the middle of a stupid fight you just declare It's the Smoking!! And you take a break and talk about it later when you're not so on edge.
posted by CathyG at 11:26 AM on December 6, 2011

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