Before you can tackle an addiction, it helps to understand that addiction is more than a state of mind, it is a disease. Addiction is a medical condition and a mental illness. Nicotine, the addictive element found in cigarettes, causes your brain to release adrenaline and dopamine, a neurotransmitter which gives feelings of pleasure and reward. Because Nicotine can actually change your brain chemistry, it won’t take long before a sometimes smoker finds themselves experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Are Cigarettes Really Bad for You?
Yes. They are. There is no sugar coating this fact.
Nicotine can be as addictive as drugs like heroin, meth, or cocaine, though people won’t argue cigarette smoking has more negative consequences than shooting up or snorting. That doesn’t lessen the severity of long term cigarette use. Smoking tobacco cigarettes can lead to many forms of cancer, emphysema, heart and lung diseases, ruination of eyesight, sexual dysfunction, weakened bones, and so much more.
More preventable deaths are caused by smoking tobacco cigarettes than anything else.
Cigarette Smoking in Recovery
Roughly 85% of recovering drug and alcohol addicts rely on cigarette smoking as a “crutch,” while others will admit that without them, staying sober would be a hell of a lot harder. Some may have started smoking long before they actually quit doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Others turn to cigarettes in the early days of recovery as a means of trading one vice for the other; they don’t worry too much about it because simple tobacco is the least of their worries.
Beating Nicotine Addiction
Annually, 5% of smokers manage to be successful in their attempts to quit. Most people who try to stop will end up resuming the habit again within six to twelve months, however. It takes an average of two or more attempts for a smoker to truly break a cigarette addiction.
Some recovery centers require patients not smoke while enrolled in their programs. Most don’t. Too often, cigarette smoking isn’t seen as a danger and is swept under the other issues being dealt with.
The good news is that, if you’re willing to view your habit as a legitimate addiction which needs to be addressed, then any tools or skills you’ve acquired for dealing with harder drugs can work on nicotine, too.