Recovery from nicotine addiction is a good thing and it needs to be accepted rather than feared. Anything you do while under nicotine's evil spell can be done as well or better without it and succumbing to your nicotine addiction will not make stressful situations less stressful. With that said, it will be imperative that you know what to expect when you decide to quit. All of the following withdrawal symptoms are manageable and if you stay quit, you only have to deal with them once! Below is a list of the standard withdrawal symptoms for the first 15 weeks of nicotine cessation.
MISERY! You will be foggy and fuzzy and the world will seem surreal. Your brain is wondering where its nicotine fix is and it is going to ruthlessly punish you. The first 72 hours is all you'll need to get the nicotine completely out of your system and this is the only time you will go through physical withdrawals. Drink lots of water and plan something to do with your idle time, don't put yourself in any stressful situations, and don't take your anger out on loved ones or co-workers. Fighting this nicotine addiction is about YOU. Quit for yourself, accept the nasty withdrawal symptoms as they come and go, and remember that nothing lasts forever.
This time period is all about mental strength. The nicotine is out of your system; however, you will still have some issues to deal with.
This three week period is critical and your brain is rewiring itself. It isn't used to being in an oxygen rich environment. Everything is a mental game now. The cravings are actually due to triggers. Triggers are events where you would normally smoke or chew. Mowing the grass, playing golf, going to a nightclub, after a big meal, and dealing with a stressful co-worker are all examples of psychological triggers. You must learn to deal with your personal triggers. Keep drinking lots of water, eat hard candies, maul a punching bag, do whatever you have to do to keep nicotine out of your system.
At this point, life isn't great but you're probably starting to get better and more restful sleep. You might notice you're going to bed earlier than you normally have been and not waking up as frequently during the night. More than likely, you'll start coughing a lot more if you smoke or you may notice some sores in your mouth if you chew. You're thinking, "great, I quit and now I have cancer." You almost certainly do not. Your body is healing and flushing hundreds of built up and unwanted toxins out of your system. It is highly recommended that you visit your physician around the 30 day mark; don't be afraid, just do it. He or she will be very supportive and can further explain the healing process to you.
At this point you CANNOT let your guard down. Stay away from your known triggers and have a plan for tough situations you know you'll encounter. Don't go out drinking with your friends. In fact, don't drink for at least the first 50 days. Drinking is a huge trigger and it weakens your resolve.
Life is really good. You still think about nicotine but you feel a lot better. Some people may suffer anxiety attacks during or a little before this stage. Some people can push right through this, others need a little help. Talk to your doctor before you quit or immediately after you quit and they will know what to do. Some may prescribe anti-depressants. Lots of quitters take or have taken prescription medicines and they can help with the affects. Don't wait till you get to this stage of the game to talk to a doctor. You'll get through this stage much easier if you know how to take care of the anxiety or are at least prepared for its coming.
This is the last really tough period of nicotine addiction. Some people report feeling like they are right back at day 1. The fuzziness and strong craves are very prevalent in weeks 10-13. It can be a tough time and if you have an accountability partner or a support group you need to let them know this is happening. You must find a way to get through this, it usually only lasts a few days. Fight through this and you'll have good things to look forward to.
Enjoy these days!!! You should take all the money you saved by quitting and plan a celebration with your friends and loved ones. Kicking a nicotine addiction is a great accomplishment you deserve some kudos. Do something special for all the people that put up with you for the last several months, they deserve your gratitude.