Whether you’re using stop smoking chewing gum or your willpower, there’s no reason for you to miss out on social activities. If you’re in the process of quitting smoking but class yourself as a socialite — this quiz to discover your smoker profile from Nicotinell should help establish if you are indeed a social smoker — you may find yourself questioning what this will mean for your social calendar.
The relationship between smoking and drinking
If you’re a drinker as well as a smoker, it’s crucial to address the relationship between the two before quitting for good.
At the extreme, government data has found that up to 90 percent of people who are addicted to alcohol will also smoke. Furthermore, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink and have a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol than non-smokers do.
Similar to each other, alcohol and nicotine act on common mechanisms which are found in the brain.
As soon as you smoke a cigarette, the chemicals enter the bloodstream which is then transported to the brain. Once there, the nicotine will stimulate the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure. These receptors will increase in number as smoking becomes prolonged and your brain will become reliant on nicotine in order to release these feel-good chemicals.
When you quit smoking, within 72 hours the nicotine in your bloodstream will drop and you will begin to feel cravings. Persistence is key, as nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of a quit.
Studies believe that when it comes to alcohol, the substance imitates a feeling of pleasure. If true, this reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. There are suggestions that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.
If you come into a situation where you would normally spark up, we’ve got some tips for you. Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:
The one thing you must not do is restrict yourself from social activities. Everything you did as a smoker, you can do as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can create a sense of intimidation. Plus, socializing with friends is an important part of your life. The sooner you teach yourself how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.
It’s not unknown for social drinkers to feel the need to have a cigarette. Before leaving the house or in the car, be mentally prepared by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The main point is to remind yourself that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to light up anymore.
Non-smoking social gatherings
If you’re used to smoking in other people’s homes, why not invite people to your smoke-free house? You can celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.
Spend time with people in a similar boat
If you have non-smoking friends, they will be happy with your decision. Who you choose to hang out with can help support your ex-smoking status. Slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not be aware of how to support their quit attempt.
Team up and quit together
Whether it’s your friend or family member, a quit-buddy will be supportive along the joint journey. A quit buddy is someone who supports your quit. Should you encounter old smoking friends who ask you to join them, make sure they are aware of your situation so they can be respectful. Not only that, you’ll also have your quit buddy to hang out with.