Quit by Choice

while you still have a choice.

Would You Rather Die Than Live Without Smoking?

Have you quit smoking? Or are you still preparing for it? In either case, have you ever had the thought, “I’d rather die than live without smoking”?

First of all, understand that this is perfectly normal: you’ve spent years cultivating your "inner junkie"; you’ve fed him, protected him, and helped him grow big and strong. Now you’ve decided that you’re not going to feed him or protect him any more, and he’s pissed!

It’s Not You

Secondly, understand that the thought, “I’d rather die than live without smoking” is not coming from you; it’s coming from the junkie, and right now he’s big and strong, because you’ve been feeding him and protecting him for so long.

Thirdly, recognize that you’re bigger, and you’re stronger, and you have free will; all he has is his hunger and the bag of tricks he uses to get you to feed him again. His entire existence is about getting the next fix, and every time you choose not to feed him, he gets weaker.

But Beware…

Finally, beware: the junkie will never die. You can starve him for the rest of your life (and I assume that’s what you intend to do) and he’ll continue to get weaker and weaker, but he’ll never die. He’ll always be there, ready to pounce on any perceived weakness with one of his tricks to get you to feed him again.

Recognize that, whenever you have a thought like, “I’d rather die than live without smoking”, that’s the junkie talking. When that happens, talk back to him; tell him why he’s wrong. Because you wouldn’t really rather die than live as a non-smoker.

But the junkie would.

Picture a wino laying in the gutter, dead drunk. Or a heroin addict, crashed out in some abandoned building with the needle still hanging out of his arm. Or a crackhead, screaming and fighting like a madman as he’s being taken down by a bunch of cops. They’re all people, just like you and me, but with one big difference: they’ve let their inner junkie take control of their lives.

Why Doesn’t that Happen to Us?

Of course, nicotine junkies like you and me rarely end up in the gutter (because nicotine is legal, cheap, and easily available in a variety of forms); we end up in chemotherapy, in intensive care, or in hospice, when feeding our addiction finally catches up with us.

And the only way to avoid those fates is to be aware, stay conscious, and starve the junkie; one day, one hour, one moment at a time.

  • steve says:

    This is such a great and true way of looking at it. i am going through quitting smoking. i am using the patch and it helps but what will make me stay quit is reproggaming my brain so i think of smoking like being a junkie

    November 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm
  • a reader says:

    Well and wisely written. However, cigarettes may be cheap, but they are not low-priced.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm
  • smok says:

    My mother smoked when she got pregnant and was pregnant, and both my parents smoked, so I am a real smoker, unlike most people who smoke today. My died volunteered to risk his life in WWII to stop Hitler, and to me, the smell of tobacco will always be the smell of anti-Nazis. I would rather die than give in to the anti-tobacco bullies who try to force people to stop smoking in their own apartments. They are actually Health Nazis, who care more about their own health and life than any significant human value.

    March 14, 2019 at 1:25 pm

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