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Quitting smoking - help me out

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by project_c, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    I think I've finally managed to quit smoking.

    I'm turning 39 this year, and thought it was time to call it a day. I smoked around 20 a day for the past 20 years, it's not been easy to stop! So I thought I'd share my experiences, and ask for a bit of advice from any of you ex-smokers.

    I've had a lot of 'wisdom' from people about what to do when quitting, and it's all been great, but it's all been from 'normal' people, and I really want to hear from musicians and creative people who have managed to quit smoking, and carry on being creative and making music / art.

    As well as playing bass, I work as a freelance artist, which means working from home a lot, and it also means over the years I ended up relying on cigarettes almost as an integral part of my creative process. Other smokers in creative jobs will know what I'm talking about: during every stage of the creative process, I would stop and have a smoke, and reflect on the work I was doing. The same thing applies to music. I'd write a bassline, then sit back with a smoke and listen. Smoking was totally integrated into my creative process.

    I found that getting rid of the nicotine addiction was horrible for the first 3 days, but after that, it really wasn't an issue at all. Physically, I feel better than ever. I'm going to the gym every other day, I go for huge walks, I cycle every day, I feel awesome. My skin looks better, I have tons of energy, and food tastes amazing. (A bit too amazing! I have to be careful about how much sugar I'm craving...)

    But I'm struggling with the creative process - I really miss smoking when I play bass, and when I'm doing my work. It's not the actual nicotine I miss, but the process of sitting back and having a smoke as part of the process. Because of this, I'm feeling detached from my work, and I'm also feeling unenthusiastic about playing bass. There's no way I'm going back to smoking, but I really want my creativity back. How did you guys deal with this part of quitting? Is it just a matter of time before things go back to how they were? I would really appreciate a few words of wisdom.. Thanks!
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    The psychology behind changing behaviors is probably the same across different addictions, so I'd like to chime in how I dealt with my food addiction. Here is how it was explained to me...

    A is your desire, C is fulfilling that desire, B is the action to get from A to C. So breaking the B is key. For me, I removed myself from situations where I was used to eating comfort food. For example, boredom eating at night. So I went to bed earlier, or I sat in a room in the house further away from the kitchen.

    I don't know how that will fit in with you, but I can only speculate that changing the room where you do your creative thinking would help? The time of day?

    I'm not therapist or psychologist, just another guy like you dealing with an addiction.

  3. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    thanks Mike! The problem is that by doing that, I would have to leave my studio and avoid both my work, and my music. That's not an option, so I just have to fight through it day by day, it's not easy..
    Addiction is a strange thing, but it sounds like you're doing a good job of tackling it, thanks for chiming in.
  4. Find something to substitute maybe? Find some tasty tea you can have around for sips in between the work process and reflect with that. I guess it be counter productive to stick something unhealthy in that spot but if you can find something beneficial to go from "a" to "c" then you might be set.

    Edit: cool avatar by the way.
  5. I used to smoke too, and I've been smoke free for 5 yrs now. My B was the hand-to-mouth motion that a smoker does when smoking.

    To break this B habit I started using the Nicoderm patches. It 3 months of full-size patches per day, then the next 3 months half patch per day (I cut the patches in halves). Then finally 6 months of quarter-size patches per day. One day I simply for got to put a patch on and went thru out the day never missing it.

    This is when I discovered a key part of my smoking habit was the hand-to mouth motion. Breaking this part of the habit while decrementing nicotine intake worked for me.
  6. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I used to smoke 20-30 cigarettes a day between the ages of, well, 20-30!

    I "gave up" when I was around 31-32, but for the longest time I would smoke 2-3 cigarettes when I was out and about in a social situation such as down the pub, or gigging with the band or out with my friends riding motorcycles (obviously this was when we stopped for a break not actually when riding). Strangely, I could go for weeks or even months without smoking at all, and with no cravings, unless I was in one of those situations where somebody would offer you a smoke.

    Because I only smoked in these situations, I never used to buy or carry a pack, and it got embarrasing scrounging off my friends all the time, so I would buy a pack occasionally and give that pack to whoever I'd been scrounging from, but then I started to smoke slim panatella cigars instead - because I could just buy these in singles whenever I had the urge to smoke. After a while people woud buy me a pack of 5 or 10 panatellas for birthday or Christmas gifts so I was on the slippery slope to starting again (especially because I used to inhale the unfiltered cigar smoke and that is right up there on the tar intake).

    Then around 10 years ago I was just sitting down smoking one of these panatellas during the Christmas break and suddenly realised that I was really not enjoying it, so I stubbed it out half way through and haven't smoked anything since - in fact just the smell of somebody elses smoke makes me shudder these days.

    As far as creativity is concerned I replaced the essential "pondering time" distraction activity with making myself a coffee (mostly decaffeinated so as not to replace a nicotine addiction with a caffeine addiction).
  7. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    You have an oral fixation. Nothing revealing there.

    Try replacing it with something else like a lollypop, if you need to.
  8. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I take the Two Turkeys method.

    Step 1) Stop, cold turkey.

    Step 2) Replace oral fixation with Wild Turkey.

    If I ate meat, there'd be a third step, and I'd call it the Tres Turkeys method.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Have you thought of going the vape/e-cig route ?
  10. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    The method to the end result is going to be a little different for everybody but the one constant in all of it comes down to will power, plain and simple. Its a tuff nut to crack, its been 7 years now for me after smoking for 30 some years. I found when the cravings got really intense I would have some projects lined up that required my attention and consentration there bye making me forget about the cravings. I wish you the best, shake that monkey off and kick its ass but good.You'll be glad you did.
  11. notverygood


    Feb 11, 2010
    There is nothing you can do but switch up your routines until the feeling goes away. I"m a very avid reader and i went through the same thing. What I did is get an e-reader and read away from my usual spot. I believe something like that could work for you, although yours would be far more complicated. Have you tried using an acoustic bass outside of your studio? This would remove you from the problem area while allowing you to get creative. Or do something that requires your full thought process like getting a bass VI and learning how to play it to it's potential. Maybe learn something new altogether like keyboards or something. Both of these would allow you to become excited about playing music again without the thought of smoking. Teaching your brain to remove smoking from it's creative process.
  12. droppedurpocket


    Nov 11, 2011
    Plano, TX
    This is what I thought of too. Allows you to still have your time to sit and reflect, without actually smoking
  13. I've tried quitting a few times before and tried the vapor/e-cig method but that only made me want to smoke more. It has worked for my friends though.
  14. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    its a process, takes time, just stay with it. Remember slow and steady wins the race.
  15. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    thanks to everyone who chimed in, some great advice here, especially regarding changing studio routines and playing an acoustic or a 6 string.

    things like patches or e-cigs are not an option! I've already gone 2 weeks without nicotine, and it feels great so using nicotine in any shape or form is out of the question. as it was mentioned, it would just make me want to smoke again, and I don't want that.

    Thanks again, would be great to hear from more people who've managed to kick the habit!
  16. tbird99


    Jun 29, 2012
    Dalton, Ga
    Well I could never smoke more than like 6 per day I would get sick if I smoked anymore but anyways one day I just stopped cold turkey the first like week I was sweaty and shaky and nervous but eventually they stopped It hurts to even go into a convenience store it hurts to see them but I get over , but honestly I'm thinking of starting again , you only live once and I would rather die happy and doing what I like then die unhappy , as did vicious said ill be dead before I'm twenty five but ill have lived the way I wanted to live
  17. taphappy

    taphappy doot de doo

    Sep 28, 2007
    Tempe, Arizona
    Rather than leaving the studio, one of the first suggestions was to change the studio. Rearrange it, if it's possible. Even just staring at a different wall, having a different perspective in that room can help.

    Quit once for a year, got drunk on New Years...and bam. Then just was off for about 3 months, then life happened and I got back on the slippery side of it. Probably smoking 2-5 a day. Best advice, man...just NEVER take a drag again. If you get the urge, drink some water, munch on something healthy. It'll be gone.

    And as far as the eats go, you will likely eat more! This goes great with exercise if you specifically start cutting down a bunch on saturated fats. Healthy munchies.
  18. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I have no answer for you except I guess what helped me was taking up a mindset of "I don't smoke anymore". I just don't smoke any more and don't want to.
    Quit a two pack a day 40 year addiction. Six and a half years clean!
    If I could quit anyone could. Good luck on you!
  19. notverygood


    Feb 11, 2010
    IMO this just extends out the miserable part of the process. Plus my wife (she's a nurse) says that these have caused some pneumonia in the older patients she has seen in the ER. I guess that water vapor sits in the lungs IDK.
  20. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    +1 on the substitute behaviour ... for me it was gum, for you it might be something different

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