4 ways that helped me quit smoking

18 05 2010

Romans 6:22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. (NLT)

For as long as I can remember my dad smoked.  And to be honest, while his second-hand smoke made everybody around him cough I was sucking it up through my nose and try’n to breathe it out of my mouth hoping to see smoke.  Now, if you’re a smoker, were a smoker, or know a group of smokers you know that smokers hang out with… other smokers.  So as a kid I was around a group of smokers because my dad was a smoker, which means there was never a lack of cigarettes.  And before I was brave enough to steal cigarettes I used to roll tea in paper… yes I realize how dumb that is but I was fascinated with the practice of smoking.  My dad smoked Meritt cigs from a soft pack which he tore the butts off of.  Now if you’re wondering why I am sharing all of this it is because I want you to understand that if any kid was going to become a smoker it was me!

By the time I was 12 I was brave enough to steal smokes, now I wasn’t a chimney smoker or a constant smoker by any means at that time because supplies were limited.  So when I could finally buy cigarettes legally I was already hooked!  I loved smoking!  I loved to smoke when I drank, when I was stressed, when I was driving, when I was bored, when I saw someone else smoke, basically any excuse was a good excuse to smoke.  And, just being transparent, when I watch a movie and characters smoke I crave a cigarette. 

Here is what happened this morning.  I was driving back home from dropping Marla off and I was sitting in that awesome morning traffic and as I looked around I realized that almost everybody around me was smoking.  And I couldn’t help but remember when that was me.  When I would have 3 to 5 smokes before I ever got to work (and I worked less than 30 minutes away).  At the same time of this realization David Crowder’s version of “Oh How He Loves Us” came on.  And this surge of extreme thankfulness just overtook me!  God intervened in my life almost 7 years ago and healed my many areas of brokeness, those areas that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t over come on my own. 

I don’t miss that dryness in my mouth.  I don’t miss coughing up dark phlegm.  I don’t miss trying to cover up the smell.  I don’t miss spending the money.  I don’t miss the attitude I would get when I couldn’t smoke.  I don’t miss having a craving so bad that I would approach a complete stranger.  I don’t miss waking up and my mouth feel like it’s an ash tray.  I don’t miss the way I would smell the smoke on my fingers as i brought my spoon up to my mouth.  I don’t miss not being able to smell.  I don’t miss standing out in the rain just to smoke.  I don’t miss having to buy a new lighter every other day because I would lose mine or it would get jacked.  I DON’T MISS ANY OF IT!  Honestly after I quit smoking I still struggled with dip, but through the same process I’m free from that addition as well!

 Do I think smoking is wrong?  In a word, YES.  But it’s not because the Bible says in the 11th commandment “Thou shalt not smoke.”  In fact the Bible never says don’t smoke so really the act of smoking isn’t the issue.  In fact the Bible talks more about not overeating than it does about not smoking.  So maybe your issue isn’t smoking, but maybe you carry around a bucket of KFC like a smoker carries a pack of Marlboro either way, it’s not the action it’s the reasons and the effects behind the action

Here is what I mean by that.  Why do you smoke?  For pleasure, that’s and issue of gluttony (yes gluttony, do you smoke more than you eat?)  For stress, that’s a lack of trust issue (lack of trust because you turn to the Marlboro Man or a Camel to help you get through your issues instead of turning to God).  Or maybe because you just can’t stop and are addicted (once you’re addicted that thing you’re addicted to has become your god).  Or what about the effects of smoking: cancer, emphysema, asthma, or the myriad of other possible illnesses. 

 This is the point: the action of smoking isn’t the issue, it’s when we indulge ourselves and become gluttonous.  It’s when we turn to a cigarette instead of God when we’re stressed or worried.  It’s when we care more about making sure we have our daily fill of smoke instead of our daily fill of God.  This is when all smoking becomes a sin.  And that’s not even the physical aspect.  The Bible says we’re not our own, we were bought with a price.  So basically what we’re doing is taking someone else’s property and slowing tearing it apart.  And it just so happens that the property belongs to God.

So what are the tricks I used to quit?

Realize it’s wrong!  Now you might not believe smoking is wrong, but I know this: as long as you don’t think smoking is wrong, you won’t quit.  Why would you?  If smoking isn’t a negative action in your mind your body will continue to act in an accepting manner of it.

Realize you can over come it!  This may seem elementary, but it is the most important aspect of quitting.  I had tried the gum, I had tried tooth pics, I had tried cold turkey, I had tried accountability.  None of it worked untill I realized that as a Christian I could say no to what I believed was wrong.  Not by my power but by God’s.  Romans 6:22 tells me that I am free from the power of sin. In other words, I was free from the power that cigarettes had over me!  I had to constantly tap into this thought over and over to remind myself I was free and that no “thing” was going to control me! 

Avoid the places you bought smokes from!  We are creatures of habit.  So it would be a safe bet on my part to assume that you bought cigarettes at the same two to three places consistently. So avoid those places.  Because, just as we had the habits of buying them at the same places over and over, when you go to those places you will be more likely to buy them out of habit and ease.  Find a new gas station, or convenience store, sure gas might be a few cents higher but isn’t it worth it to quit smoking?

Chew Gum!  When we smoke we create an oral fixation.  Now that oral fixation doesn’t go away, in reality, that oral fixation is just as strong as the addiction to smoke. So my remedy for this was to chew gum.  I also had a friend tell me he used dum dums.  What ever yours is use it.  As your craving for smokes decline your need for gum or dum dums will as well! 

There are other things you can do as well, but this post has gone on long enough.  Hope this helps!  If you struggle with this you’re in my prayers, I know how hard it was trying to quit all those years.  But I promise, once you admit it is wrong and realize God has given you the power to quit you feel much more empowered to do so.  This does not mean you won’t “fall of the wagon.” But it does mean that you have the power to get back on.  Prov. 25:16a They may trip seven times, but each time they will rise again… (NLT)

What are some ways that helped you quit smoking?

What were some of your biggest obstacles in overcoming your addiction?

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4 responses

18 05 2010
Sandy Rodriguez

Mason,
Thanks so much for this one! Maybe if I read it enough times, I will get serious about this-it is so much easier to push it to the back of my mind!

I miss you and love you!
Sandy

18 05 2010
Mason Stanley

It really is easier to push to the back of our minds. I got so tired of trying that I quit trying to quit. At least I knew I could win that battle. I miss you too! I hope this helps spark a revolution in your efforts 🙂

18 05 2010
Rocco

“So maybe your issue isn’t smoking, but maybe you carry around a bucket of KFC like a smoker carries a pack of Marlboro either way, it’s not the action it’s the reasons and the effects behind the action.”

There is so much truth in that. We take our need for life, love, acceptance, validation, whatever you want to call it, to any and everything but God.

18 05 2010
Mason Stanley

Rocco, thats a great add to the post. I’m amazed how we will seek every possible venue with a lit vaccancy sign knowing it is know where near as good as our Father’s house! Thanks for the tribute!

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