Ending an addiction is no easy feat. And doing it solo is even harder. But here’s a tip: no one ever says it has to be done alone. That old phrase ‘two heads are better than one’? That’s where you come in. If you know someone who has made the commitment to quit smoking, here are ways you can be helpful throughout their journey.
Be a Distraction
With any change, it takes time to get adjusted. Work with your quitter to plan daily coffee breaks, walks and other activities that work for their lifestyle. These alternative activities may serve as ways to get their mind off smoking when they have the urge. If they keep these healthy habits up, the routine of taking a cigarette break could ultimately be replaced with a walk around the block for some fresh air. Help them come up with a plan to avoid urges to smoke and you’ll also get to spend some quality time with your friend.
Give Them a Break
The motivated quitter in your life may not be his or her “typical self” while going through a quit. Symptoms of withdrawal can include being irritable, tired, having trouble concentrating, getting headaches and feeling restless. Their bodies and mind are going through withdrawal, so give them a break if they get snappy or frustrated. Show kindness and don’t take their moods personally. Remember that they’re going through a difficult time, and when possible, gently call it out. Just acknowledging the symptoms of withdrawal may help dissipate the feelings.
Celebrate Success to Help Them Stay on Track
Whether big or small, it’s important to acknowledge accomplishments throughout your loved one’s journey. It could be as small as taking a drive without a cigarette, or as big as being smokefree for six months—whatever it is, make sure to celebrate. When you’re hanging out, understand that they are always going through the process of quitting. Encourage them by celebrating their smokefree milestones with a dinner or movie, or bring them small gifts or an encouraging card. Remember to make sure they know you are just as invested in their quitting journey. Check up on them and send them encouraging emails, funny emoji text messages or shout-outs on social media.
Stay Patient and Positive
They say that practice makes perfect, and this includes the practice of quitting smoking. If your loved one has a slip-up, it does not mean failure. Don’t reprimand or scold, but talk about how they can handle things differently next time, or if they should shake things up and re-work their quit plan. The important thing is to just keep going, and keep trying to quit smoking. It’s important to remain positive throughout these slip-ups. If your quitter keeps trying, they may be able to quit for good.
Keep Up With The New Lifestyle
You’ve helped your friend or family member stick to their quit plan, avoid urges, and overcome the worst of their withdrawal symptoms. Quitting is a lifelong change, so continue the plan one day at a time. Let them know you’re available to take a walk or field a phone call if they feel the urge to smoke, and that you’re still there for them every step of the way.
Looking for even more Supporter Tips? Check out the Quitter’s Circle app.