Quitting Is Only The First Phase
Stopping smoking is only the first phase of the process of quitting. Once you've successfully defeated the cravings for cigarettes you'll feel a sense of well earned victory. Enjoy this but be aware that now that you've quit you have to stay quit. This is the hardest part for many people. They're satisfied that they no longer want to smoke but are deeply worried about being in situations that may cause them to smoke again. They worry whether or not they'll be up to the challenge.
Smoking is a very social thing and most quitters are concerned about being back in those situations again where they smoked regularly. This might be work related smoking or smoking whilst in a pub or bar.
75% Of Quitters Lapse At Some Point
Here's the reality folks. Many people lapse. In my opinion most people do (75%+ of quitters lapse at some point). Many quitters see a lapse as a sign of failure. This is so far from the truth. You're human. Human beings are flawed. We make mistakes. We learn from those mistakes. That's the only way you should view a lapse - as a learning point for future reference.
Have I lapsed? Of course. Put me in an intensely stressful family situation and my desire to smoke grows 1000%. That urge has conquered me at times. The good news is that any lapse I've had reminds me of how much I hate smoking and how stupid I feel for lapsing in the first place. That gives me new focus and the ability to get over the lapse. I'm human. I recognize this and accept it.
When will you lapse? Probably within the first 180 days of quitting and normally at some type of social function where your friends are going outside for a smoke and they invite you. They know you've quit but somebody will still offer you a smoke. You think "Oh it's just one. I'm sure I can handle it". Maybe you can handle it and maybe you can't. Some people lapse and start smoking again full time. Others realize that it was a mistake and renew their committment to quitting.
Forgive Yourself And Get Back On The Wagon
This is essential. If you lapse and have one or several cigarettes then you need to realize it was a
dumb thing to do and then decide to quit again. DO NOT beat yourself up over this. Admit that you messed up and stop smoking. There's an old saying "To err is human, to forgive divine". This is equally true of smoking.
If you bought a pack of cigarettes throw them in the bin. Tear them up first though. Make sure you can't smoke even one later on. If you bought a lighter or matches then safely dispose of them.
Analyze why you smoked too. Was it a social occassion? Did you smoke because you were stressed? Or bored? In future you'll need to be aware of the cause of your lapse to ensure that it can't happen again. The more aware that you are of what makes you smoke the more control you have over the situation. Be honest with yourself here. You need to know and understand the reasons behind your desire to smoke cigarettes.