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Pleasure vs. Pain
It’s part of every animal’s basic survival instinct: Avoid pain, seek pleasure. When you smoke, you’re pleasuring yourself (get your mind out of the gutter). The nicotine you inhale from cigarettes almost immediately travels to your brain where it is interpreted as pleasurable and gratifying. Your brain says, “Wow, that was awesome! Where can we get some more of that ASAP?” And an addiction is born.
As soon as you try to take away the source of pleasure (the nicotine), you experience pain. You want to avoid pain, so you keep smoking. So what’s a nicotine addict to do?
First, talk with your doctor about possible medications. They can help ease the painful withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. Next, identify the things in life that give you pleasure (besides smoking, obviously). Be forewarned: The process of learning new ways to cope without cigarettes and discovering more about yourself can be uncomfortable or painful. Try interviewing friends who have quit smoking to see what they’ve substituted for smoking.
What are some of the things on your list that give you pleasure? What are some of the responses friends who have successfully quit smoking gave for what they used as substitutes for a nicotine fix? [Mayo Clinic]