It’s the first of November so congratulations to everyone who completed Stoptober and Go Sober for October! For a lot of people this is when the hard part is over when quitting smoking or drinking, but for some, this is when we go back to our old ways. In case you haven’t heard this yet: that’s okay! Quitting can be difficult particularly if this is your first go.

Quitting for short periods of time can be manageable but quitting for good can feel overwhelming.
When we tell ourselves not to do something, we then want to do it. Don’t imagine a pink elephant with green spots. It’s hard not to, right? So if we tell ourselves we can’t have a cigarette or a drink then that’s usually all we can think of.

If you struggle with giving up, then give yourself permission. Abstinence works for some people but not for everyone, so if you know this is going to be difficult for you, then focus on moderation and reducing.
Look at when you reach for a cigarette or pour yourself a drink: is it as soon as you get up? When you feel stressed out? After a meal? Try and find something else to reach for, like a cup of tea.

Rather than taking something away from your daily routine, try adding to it. Life is easier if you make small, manageable changes.
So let yourself think of pink elephants with green spots over a nice cup of tea.

Kai Markanday – Concerned Other Support Worker