Helping A Relapsed Smoker
The decision to lay the cigarettes down for good is a big one for any smoker to make. Once the decision is made, most people work very hard at overcoming the habit and if there are friends and family around to help encourage and support the quitter, so much the better. Success can be secured, but it may take some time.
A Slip Is Really Quite Normal
It is not uncommon for a quitter to experience a "slip" or a relapse back into smoking. A situation may come up which opens the door for a cigarette and the quitter make either take a few puffs or actually start smoking again. As a support person, there are some things you can do to help the quitter get back on the wagon again and gain control over smoking. The important thing to remember is that the decision to quit was not yours and the quitter is in charge of his or her own lifestyle and experience.
It isn't uncommon for a quitter to "slip" and smoke a cigarette or two. Don't assume that because he or she has done so means that the person will begin smoking again. This would be a good time to remind the quitter of the success he or she has had to that point-how long the person has gone without a cigarette. Help the quitter remember all of the reasons quitting was important and minimize the slip: forget about it quickly. Reinforce your support and confidence in the quitter rather than berating or scolding the person. The last thing the quitter needs is someone confirming his or her failure.
This Is Going To Take Some Time-Be Patient
According to research, most people who quit try to do so between five and seven times before being successful. A relapse is when a person goes back to smoking after having quit. There are different ways of looking at a relapse and the one that will help the most is the view that a relapse is "practice" for the time when the smoker will succeed in beating the habit. It is important to continue to support and encourage the quitter, especially during the time of a relapse.
Reinforce Good Behaviors And Keep The Criticism To Yourself
Be sure to praise the quitter for the amount of time they did manage to quit-regardless how long it was and encourage the person to try again. Rather than beginning a sentence with "If you decide to try again....", affirm positive action by saying, "When you try again...." Research has shown that people who decide to quit and relapse are often ready to try again soon afterward.
Quitting Can Be Quite The Learning Experience
Allow the relapse to be a learning experience for the quitter. The smoker may have discovered something in the process which will help to carry him or her through to success. It takes time and patience to learn not to smoke. Using words of encouragement which reinforce the fact that it is normal for people to relapse the first time they try to quit and they know they have to try again, will help the quitter understand how normal he or she is.
Be the friend you really want to be by encouraging and supporting the person who is trying to quit. You can help them succeed.