The truth is, you can’t help them. However, you can support them, and yes, there is a difference. You cannot help them, you cannot do it for them, but you can build them up during the process. When a person quits smoking, it is a choice they must make for themselves. They must want to do it, otherwise, they will never be successful.
I don’t have any firsthand experience with addiction myself. In fact, I have never been addicted to anything in my life. Not cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol. I guess the closest thing I’ve come to being addicted to, would have been my love for Pepsi. When I gave it up though, there was no struggle. One day I decided I didn’t want to drink soda anymore, and I never did again. That was eight years ago.
I can’t imagine quitting smoking is anything like giving up soda. I realize how hard it must be and how real addiction is. Yet, I still don’t understand it. However, I have decided that you don’t have to understand the addiction itself. You only need to learn how to be supportive of their choice to quit.
Through my experience with my significant other, I have compiled a few tips on ways to offer your support during this process.
- Be patient – The individual may not be successful the first time. They may slip up, however, that doesn’t mean they can’t quit.
- Be understanding – Know that this isn’t easy for the individual. They will likely become irritable and stressed out. Don’t take this behavior personally. Allow them their space. Expect that they will be fatigued. They will likely experience terrible headaches and other ailments. This is all a part of the withdrawal process.
- Keep them busy – Go for a walk or a bike ride. Binge watch their favorite television shows or movies.
- Try to avoid high-risk situations – Recommend dates at places other than bars or other places where smoking is allowed. Avoid spending time with friends who smoke.
- Most importantly, encourage them – Explain to them how proud you are of them for making this decision. Let them know that you understand how difficult it is for them and that you will be there for them if they need you.
If you are reading this, I’d like to know if you have had a similar experience with a loved one. It doesn’t have to be an addiction to cigarettes, it could be anything. If you do have personal experience, do you have any additional advice you can offer or any stories you would like to share? I welcome your comments.