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RELATED: How to Quit Smoking (the Willpower & Toothpicks Method)

In some ways it's harder than quitting Adderall

Most Adderall takers are at least social smokers, probably because Adderall and Cigarettes can be such a delicious combination.

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that philosophically, cigarettes are similar in function to Adderall: They both help you lubricate your life. There aren’t many activities that don’t become instantly tolerable if you can smoke and/or take Adderall during them.

As such, quitting smoking can lead you to the same kind of life changes that quitting Adderall can lead you to, albeit to a slightly lesser extent (usually). I’m not just talking about the change in lifestyle that comes from quitting smoking; I’m talking about how quitting smoking helps you focus on your dreams, because you need a buzz from something and you’re not getting it from cigarettes or Adderall anymore.

FWIW, I was a militant smoker for years. I was not one of those “Yeah…I’ve gotta quit.” smokers. I was a “Quit? Pfft. I have no intentions of quitting right now. I love smoking!” smoker. And I haven’t had a cigarette in 2+ years. No Nicotine patches, no Chantix (though I’ve seen that work for several people), no gum, no stepping-down. I just stopped cold-turkey and toughed it out. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Give yourself a powerful reason

You’re never going to be able to face any kind of challenge without a powerful reason driving your struggle. It needs to be a strong enough reason that when your mission gets tough and you want to retreat, you can’t because this reason is blocking your exit.

Do whatever you have to do in your head to make failure unattractive and damning, and success extremely rewarding.

Step 2: Set a goal to go 30 days

I’m a huge proponent of the “just do it for 30 days” approach. “Forever” is a daunting, impossible goal. Plus, you’ve got no tangible deadline, no ability to count-down for comfort, and know way to know when you’re a officially done and ready to receive the reward you’ve set up for yourself.

Step 3: Go buy these

Meet your new best friend

I spent about a week living through the clinched-teeth temptation to smoke all the time. Then one day on a trip to the grocery store, I saw a car drive by my. The driver had his window down. I thought, jealously, that he was smoking a cigarette. Nope. He was just chewing on a toothpick. Huh. Interesting idea, I thought. So I grabbed a pack of toothpicks, and my mission to quit smoking got a million times easier to bear.

Chewing toothpicks helped tremendously in relieving my oral and mono (hand) fixation, but normal toothpicks weren’t very convenient: they either came in a flimsy box that would break in your pocket, or in a tube that was weird to carry on your person. Plus, I really liked the mint toothpicks and you can’t really find those everywhere.

Then I found Stim-u-dent toothpicks. They were perfect: Mint-flavored, smaller than a pack of smokes (and flat like matches so they won’t get crushed in your pocket), and about 20 to a pack (just like cigarettes). Plus (and this is the big selling point), they are consistently available at almost every drug/grocery store next to the dental floss.

Stim-u-dent toothpicks were (and still are!) my perfect cigarette replacement. To this day, when I hang around people that smoke (e.g., at parties), I always keep a pack of Stim-u-dents on hand.

So, go buy a pack at Walgreens, and chew through a few whenever you get the urge to smoke.

Step 3: Keep the adjacent habits and routines, just chew toothpicks instead

Don’t stop going on smoke breaks. That’s going to make it harder on you. Keep your lifestyle the same for the first 30 days. Hang out with your smoker friends, go out several times a day at work to have your smoke break, etc. Just chew your stim-u-dents instead.

Step 4: Make it to the 30 day mark. Remember that day 1 sucks.

Once you make it to the 30 day mark, it’s time for a renewed commitment. Technically, according to the rules that you made for yourself, you could smoke now. You did it. You proved to yourself that you can go 30 days; you’re over the hard part. But the idea of quitting “forever” still seems a little extreme. You success can actually make you more susceptible to getting lazy and falling back. Don’t let yourself do this. One of the most powerful personal slogans I’ve ever heard about addiction is “Day 1 Sucks”. As in, “don’t relapse because then you’re back at day 1 of quitting and that’s the worst place to be”. So remember that. Keep building your progress. Don’t throw it all away and have to start over again. Now you’ve pretty much made it.

Step 4: Gradually lose interest in smoking-centric activities

Once you stop smoking and (if you take my advice) start your compulsive toothpick chewing habit, you’ll have less and less of a desire to do those activities that you used to do that revolve around smoking. You’ll be surprised at how many of your favorite Friday night activities suddenly become boring and repetitive without cigarettes. Let this process happen in yourself. Go with it. Time to figure out what you like to do all over again.

Step 5: Done!

The only challenge now is not to smoke a cigarette under any circumstances; not to believe the self-lie that you’ve got the constitution to “just have one” and not let it escalate. Keep your psychological boundary firm and don’t let it decay.

Whenever you consider smoking a cigarette, remember that powerful reason you came up with the the first place. Fall back to that, and if it’s strong enough, it’ll beat the little temptations that happen over the years.

10 Responses to “RELATED: How to Quit Smoking (the Willpower & Toothpicks Method)”

  1. since smoking is addictive, it is really hard to quit smoking;.”

  2. karen says:

    i dont even see why this is here. Quitting smokings easy IF AND I MEAN IF you can get off the devils candy called adderall. smoking just makes the adderall more addictive. this is the easy part.

  3. Mike says:

    @karen – Yeah, I very much agree that quitting smoking is easier than quitting Adderall. But since many Adderall users are also smokers, and since I figured out a way that worked for me to quit smoking, I figured it might be tangentially helpful to post how I did it.

  4. Heather says:

    To quit smoking, I turned to rasberry iced tea from taco bell or KFC. That stuff has a tang to it that curbed my craving of cigarettes. Every time I craved one, I would go to the drive-thru. I also liked just chewing on the straw. I think the key is finding that ‘distraction’ item you can use every time you have a craving. Toothpicks, gum, or rasberry iced tea- find yours and punch that craving in the face with it!!! Good Luck!

  5. John says:

    I just lost my health insurance so i figured it was a good time to quit adderall (2x 20mg xr a day) and subsequently smoking brings little joy so that too. I got dumped out of no where from a 6 month official year unofficial relationship the same day i had my last addy pill and fired from a side job ive had for 10 years the day after (they replaced me as i was moving to be with my girl). Trying to stay positive but im withdrawing from 2 substances and missing a lot of people i was very close to.

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