Stories on Quitting Smoking: Sometimes, it's all in the Family

 Quitting smoke - Help within Family 

In one family, there was a health situation that could be familiar to all of us. Both husband and wife were smokers, but he was a  two-pack a day man, heavily dependent on nicotine for emotional control. His wife was able to quit, but when he was "stubborn" and continued to smoke after only a few days of going without, she would join him in the smoking once again. 

This scenario repeated a few times before she confided to his sister that she was ready to go back to smoking again because she was certain that he was smoking, and just not telling her about it. The two women agreed that she pretend to believe that he had quit.  The health issue was becoming critical for him. His doctors were insisting that he quit smoking, period. She thought about it, and decided that he would never quit unless she did because his reasons for smoking were so tied to his emotions, and also tied to his vital relationship to her as his closest confidant. 

For several months, she would watch him panic when she handed him his jacket with a pack of smokes in the pocket, and when she listened to silly excuses to "go to the store for ketchup" when there were three bottles in the pantry. He never smoked around her, and she never mentioned that the smell of cigarette smoke was still easily distinguishable.

They had reached a silent agreement that he needed more time. While it can be argued that such agreements don't have to be silent, the lack of confrontation and judgment could have been a key to their joint success. Since she didn't ask him if he had quit, he didn't have to consider lying to her.

After about a year of gradual adjustment, he was able to quit smoking. But don't assume that just because his wife was able to quit that it was easy for her to do so. She did what it takes to kick the habit with the help of doctors and other factors that worked for her. 

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It is important that she stopped tying her own quitting to his success. By putting a stop to the nagging and unproductive dialogue regarding the importance of doing it "together," she was able to free him from the guilt and inadequacy triggers. He was able to give her support by providing a smoke-free home while he worked out the various issues involved in his own addiction. He benefited from the smoke free environment as well, because he was able to learn to communicate with her in a smoke-free manner. (She was probably a big smoking trigger for him, and frequent guilt-free trips to the store avoided overly emotional arguments.) Did he seek out professional help as well? Very possibly. By giving each other the space that each needed, they truly did quit together. Just not on the same day. Family is certaily key in the process of quitting smoking.

If you're ready to quit right now, make sure you learn more about this quit smoking program. It works for most people and can start working as early as 8 days.

Download our free Checklist that you are ready to quit smoking to see if you can recognize some of your private thoughts on the matter.

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Further Reading