Do you know someone who is trying to quit smoking, or is thinking about it? Whether it’s your friend or a family member, you may not be sure what to do to help them, or you may be unsure if you can help at all. There are some things that you can do to help the smoker in your life overcome nicotine addiction, and it starts by knowing what to expect.
What to Expect
When a person undertakes the cessation of smoking, he or she may experience a horrible set of withdrawal symptoms. The smoker may say mean or hurtful things, be impatient, angry, or generally be unpleasant to be around. It’s important that you do not take these things personally. Remember, it’s the addiction to nicotine that is talking, and when the smoker gets through the early stages, he or she will very likely apologize.
In the beginning, expect very little from the person who is quitting. That person will need all of his or her energy to deal with the stress of quitting, and you are unlikely to get the same level of performance from your loved one during this time.
The withdrawal process may involve insomnia, headaches, nausea, and other unpleasant physical symptoms. It’s hard for anyone to function when their bodies are undergoing this kind of detoxification, so be understanding when your loved one is not him or herself. Remember, it’s temporary.
What You Can Do
You can help your loved one in the quitting process by taking up some of the slack. Offer to run errands while your loved one rests, fix healthy meals to support his or her health, and be patient with the moodiness and depression that sometimes accompany quitting.
You can offer encouragement as well. You may get snapped at, but don’t let that stop you. Remind your friend or family member why he or she wants to quit. Remind him or her of all the money he or she will be saving, and even talk about what you can buy with that money.
Another thing you can do – depending on the nature of the smoker – is to leave him or her alone. Don’t follow them around and nag about quitting, or even follow them around and attempt encouragement. There is a time when you need to back off and let the smoker deal with quitting on his or her own for a while. Sometimes the best thing you can say or do is nothing.
Be patient. Don’t get angry back at the smoker, and don’t get into a big argument. Try to let the unpleasant things your friend or family member says or does just roll off your back. Let it go. Remember that the symptoms of withdrawal are not your fault, and they are not the smoker’s fault, either.