To recap, so far, you have defined your reasons for wanting to become a non-smoker. You’ve turned them into positive statements and have been repeating them to yourself over and over during the day, especially when you are smoking. You’ve thought about what you are going to replace smoking with. You’ve picked your BAN day and you’ve written it on the calendar and shared the information with those you live and work with. Now lets talk about laying some ground work for when the day arrives.
This step is about preparing, your environment and those folks who you have the closest relationships with, for your transition to becoming a non-smoker. You’re going to let family and friends (maybe co-workers too) know what they can do that will be most helpful to you, as well as what not to do. For instance, I let my family know that I may be a bit cranky, or out of sorts, for a while and that I would appreciate lots of positive feedback regardless. If they wanted to support me, they could do it by letting me know that I was doing great and that they appreciated my taking this step because it benefits them also. They don’t have to smell cigarette smoke or ashtrays in or around their home anymore. The money being saved is likely to benefit them as well. If/when your health improves, you will feel better, look better and live longer. This also benefits your family. Besides, why wouldn’t the people that love you want to do everything they can to support you in becoming a non-smoker?
The other thing you can do in this step is, in addition to preparing your family for your BAN day, you can prepare your environment and plan what changes you will make on “the day” as well. This might include things like purchasing any items you will need when you quit and begin to engage in whatever activities you’ve decided to replace smoking with. If its biking and you don’t have a bike, you could be shopping for one, or if you have one make sure it is in good condition and maybe plan where and/or what time of day you will bike. You might even recruit a friend or family member to join you. That might be another way family can support you in becoming a non-smoker. If, like me, you plan to use sweet or salty snacks for those times that you always enjoy a cigarette, you could plan and purchase, or bake and freeze, those. If weight gain concerns you, choose healthy snacks. Maybe learning to cook healthier will be how you fill the void, so you take a cooking class or check the internet for free online tutorials. Be creative but I really encourage you to put some thought into this ahead of time. If you find that the time comes and you don’t really feel a void then great, but better to be prepared.
If you are going to use the nicotine patch, I used Nicoderm, then you should get the first box. I used the patch as a crutch as well, when I had that automatic thought the first day, “I need a cigarette”, I had the patch on and simply talked back to the thought by saying, “No I don’t, I have a patch on feeding me nicotine. I don’t need cigarettes.” That thought never came back after that first day. I was elated, it was so simple to eliminate those automatic thoughts! I am quite certain that the whole month of positive self-talk is what made it so easy, so please don’t forget to keep telling yourself how much you are looking forward to becoming a non-smoker. I do want to mention that I did not use the patch for very long. The nicotine patches have different levels of strength that gradually wean you off of nicotine. I found after a few weeks that I didn’t feel any different when the patch was on or off and in fact had forgotten to put it on a couple of mornings so I just stopped using it and continued my positive self talk. Only now, my self talk was in the present tense. I’ll share more about this in the next step.
One more thing that I did that might be important for you as well is to make sure you don’t have a stash of cigarettes in the house on your become a non-smoker day. I figured out my smoking consumption and supply so that I had no cigarettes left by mid-morning on my BAN day. If you’re like I was and buy cigarettes by the carton then a while before your the day start buying by the package so you will either smoke your last one sometime on the BAN day or won’t feel wasteful if you throw some away. You can quit anytime you like on the BAN day, I quit right after my usual morning coffee and cigarette. I planned it that way, it didn’t just work out that way. I had that last cigarette, threw away the empty pack, put on a nicotine patch, gathered up all the ashtrays and cleaned them and put them away in my storage room along with my lighter. To be clear, that was what I did, intentionally, others who have used this method had cigarettes left in the house and weren’t bothered by them. I present it as an option that might be important and if you haven’t thought about it, now is the time.