Have you kicked the habit in a group?
June 30, 2008 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone successfully used Nicotine Anonymous to quit smoking? Tell me your story...

If you went through the three month program of meetings and got the chips and everything, what was it like, how did you enjoy the experience, and are you still smoke-free? Also, now that you are smoke-free, do you still attend the meetings? I saw a meeting near my office and want to try it out later in the week. Tell me what to expect and how to make the best go of the opportunity to end my nicotine addiction for good.

(You can fill the thread with other advice, but I've tried every other goddamn thing, so you really don't have to bother. Thanks in advance.)
posted by parmanparman to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried reading Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking? It's the best bang for your buck.
posted by fantasticninety at 7:20 PM on June 30, 2008

Response by poster: Have you tried reading Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking? It's the best bang for your buck.

Tried it. Went four months. Then again for three weeks. Then again for about nine hours. Still own the book. Think I'm going to need something more powerful than Neuro-Linguistic Programming....like a real person.
posted by parmanparman at 7:25 PM on June 30, 2008

Wow! That kind of scares me as I'm on it right now. I do know that Allen Carr's business has group sessions all over the place so you could always book with them and talk with real people.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours.
posted by fantasticninety at 7:30 PM on June 30, 2008

Response by poster: Wow! That kind of scares me as I'm on it right now. I do know that Allen Carr's business has group sessions all over the place so you could always book with them and talk with real people.

Well, I already paid $24.95 for the book. The sessions are in NYC, and I don't have the money to schlep up to New York, pay $300, and then hope this works again. I'm sick of putting my hope in books and tapes and patches.
posted by parmanparman at 7:39 PM on June 30, 2008

My husband has smoked since he was twelve. Was up to 3 packs a day when he had the stop smoking shots. Basically scopolamine used off label to help people quit. It has had some controversy but he quit!! He still has cravings sometimes but it has been almost 4 years and I NEVER thought that he would be able to stop. Research and see if this method is for you. It cost $500 but worth every penny!! Good Luck!!
posted by pearlybob at 7:41 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I finally had success at quitting with support from www.quitnet.com.
Hypnosis, nicotine gum, Wellbutrin, and a few books helped for a while, but I always went back to smoking.

I think that when I finally wanted to quit more than I wanted to smoke, I was able to quit cold turkey.

I realize that this doesn't answer your question about NA, but after smoking for over 30 years, I have been n smoke-free for 5 and a half years. Don't give up!
posted by Linnee at 7:51 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I think that when I finally wanted to quit more than I wanted to smoke, I was able to quit cold turkey.

I keep thinking whenever I wake up that I'm at this point. I go all day, then I turn a corner and end up in 7-11 and it all starts over again.
posted by parmanparman at 8:37 PM on June 30, 2008

Best answer: Didn't try group, but did try many goddamned things. I finally got some good advice:

"Don't smoke a cigarette."

Not to be glib: it was a slight attitude adjustment that worked for me. The point is to not smoke *a* cigarette. I wasn't taking on the monumental task of cutting out one of the most pleasurable aspects of my life for the rest of eternity. I was just, you know, not smoking that next one. I would ask myself, "do I really need to smoke *this* cigarette?" The answer is always "no," but as time went by that question came up less frequently.

But, now that I reflect on it, that advice came from a supportive ex-smoker friend who listened to me bitch frequently. That may have been more important than the specific advice.

Good luck.
posted by GPF at 8:37 PM on June 30, 2008

Something related that you probably haven't tried is StickK (Mefi post), which lets you put up money to make a contract that you will meet a given goal. If you fail, you can appoint the money to go to someone else, to charity or even to a cause you don't like (there are several to pick from). It'd be unenforceable, but you can also appoint a friend or family member who you'd never lie to to verify by email every week.
posted by abcde at 9:18 PM on June 30, 2008

Seconding GPF. It really is a moment to moment active decision not to smoke the next cigarette. When I quit the last (and final) time I walked myself out of a lot of 7-11s. 6 years later I still have to occasionally walk myself out of a 7-11. The more you exercise the control - the easier it gets. I think this is also the basis of the AA model of recovery- you don't have to think about forever - just focus on not smoking *right now*. I can't see how it would hurt but it was an attitude change and Wellbutrin that finally got me to be a former smoker.
posted by Wolfie at 9:25 PM on June 30, 2008

I thought about Nicotine Anonymous, but couldn't find a work-schedule-compatible meeting (they offer phone and internet groups, but those seem like a poor substitute).

Instead, I've tried to approach quitting in as 12-step a way as I can without actually working the steps.

Make sure you take no holidays from non-smoking. Set up at least a small network of people who know you're quitting; you'll be less likely to fall back into old habits. Even better, see if any of your friends who smoke will quit with you... or get an already-successful quitter to act as a sponsor. If you fail, learn from your failure and start from the beginning.

Mostly, try to think of yourself as an addict. Remember that just because you haven't smoked for days or months or years, a few drags during a rough work day is enough to set your brain towards demanding nicotine again.

Also, the lozenge is great.
posted by jdn at 1:45 AM on July 1, 2008

Hey parmanparman!

I don't smoke, but I know that there are tons of forums out there target to addictions and nicotine addictions. You might have more luck registering and asking for experiences from some of those lot. I think AskMe folks tend to get "Answer At Any Cost" syndrome. It might take a little work to find one that is open-minded - it seems like many of them have a "pro-12-step, anti-other-stuff" philosophy and others have the opposite. Or, I suppose you could try lots of them and get a variety of opinions. Here are a few I've dug up:

The About.com forums are always active and seem attract a variety of opinions. No registration required to read posts. I did a cursory search for "12-step program" in the Smoking Cessation section and found a few posts with explanations and experiences.

The QuitSmoking.com message board seems to be very active and unaffiliated, too. I searched for "Nicotine Anonymous" and got a few dozen hits.

Hope this was helpful!
posted by muddgirl at 10:32 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: RESOLVED: Went to NA this morning.
posted by parmanparman at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: I am now back home. I went all day and after work went to the gym where i did a lot of burpees and some lats and chest presses and about 15 minutes on the rowing machine. To say I perspired would be an understatement. Then, I went to the Red Derby bar and had two Tom Collins and a woo woo, which is peach schnapps and cranberry juice in a shot glass *good* and was with one friend who smoked and one who didn't. I told both of them I had given up smoking. It went really well and for the first time in about a year and a half, I successfully went to a bar and came home just smelling of alcohol. I am really happy. I am also really happy I only had three drinks and kept my tab under $15.
posted by parmanparman at 7:15 PM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: well, end of the first day. I am off to bed.
posted by parmanparman at 8:44 PM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: I had a dream about smoking this morning, but that is normal and something I am used to. It's not a crave dream, but more of a memory dream. Had a donut and a ham sandwich for lunch. Really need to up my calcium and protein consumption and really cut out bread. But, I also need to take one thing at a time.
posted by parmanparman at 6:26 AM on July 2, 2008

Response by poster: I keep looking out the window. It's kind of funny how smoking kind of put me into a frame of mind for the activity of 'hiding'. Despite my smoking being in the open, I would 'hide' from people I didn't want to know I smoked. I would come back to the office and wash my hands and face, gargle, wipe up everything with a paper towel, and hope no one saw me 'hiding' my addiction.
posted by parmanparman at 9:21 AM on July 2, 2008

One suggestion I have is to change your habits that lead TO smoking. I haven't been in a 7-11 in years - it's just not a place I shop. I shop at Trader Joes. They don't sell cigarettes. If you do your shopping in stores that don't sell cigarettes then it's a lot easier to avoid that decision at the cash register. If you don't have TJs in your area, try shopping at a health food store such as Whole Foods. Treat yourself to some tasty and healthy "expensive" foods that you can now easily afford because you aren't spending all that money on cigarettes. :-)

Here in California the bars are smoke free (as are restaurants and clubs, all other workplaces, etc.) Apparently you live in an area where the bars are still full of smokers. You might want to change your entertainment habits for a while and avoid places where people smoke. Instead of getting drunk (or just buzzed) with your friends for leisure, consider a different hobby, one where smoking isn't conductive and few people smoke. Perhaps take up hiking. Or horseback riding (most stables forbid smoking because of the fire risk with all the hay and bedding in a barn). If you need an evening activity, try taking dance classes - look for a dance studio that doesn't allow smoking. Bonus - you become a better dancer!

Good luck!
posted by jcdill at 3:57 PM on July 2, 2008

Never tried a group. It hasn't ever occurred to me, because talking about smoking while you're trying to quit just makes it harder for me. Reminder, trigger, etc you know the story.

I have had very good luck with the patch. I've quit using the patch - MANY TIMES! Haha yeah. But I don't fault the patch for my relapse a year after it helped me kick the habit. That's just stupidity. The patch breaks quitting into two stages: 1) you wear the patch and let the smoking fall out of your routine without feeling any biological withdrawal symptoms 2) once smoking is out of your routine and habit - maybe 2 months - you stop wearing the patch and experience the physical withdrawal. At that point smoking is largely behind you and if you can get through a few grumpy days and past major triggers, you're golden.

Best of luck. I say try the group if your interested and see what you get. I would guess that groups vary a lot.
posted by scarabic at 11:03 PM on July 2, 2008

Response by poster: Looking back at the original Best Answer, I realized that I have been following other advice. It's been three days and I have not had a cigarette at all. I have gone drinking twice with no craving. I had a teensy bit of one when I went home and decided to try running around the block instead and doing some push-ups. That was very helpful in staying smoke-free. Now it's Thursday. I am in my last day of work and I'm feeling no pain.
posted by parmanparman at 8:25 AM on July 3, 2008

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