This guest post is courtesy of Quora contributor, Chia Leong, ex-smoker, with his answer to the question:
What does it feel like to quit smoking?
My experiences after quitting were pretty standard. Initially, there were physical withdrawal symptoms like shaking and being out of breath, but those were gone within days. Everything else was internal, like having really strong urges and incessantly questioning why exactly I should be quitting, but that gets easier as the days go by.
The biggest thing that still affects me today (almost 5 years since my last cigarette) is my dreams about smoking. My experience during those dreams are exactly the same.
I smoke, and then:
1. I think about how I have to reset my counter to day 0 (I keep track of how many days it’s been since my last cigarette). I feel a great sense of loss like I’ve completely wasted all the effort I put into quitting.
2. I panic because I have no idea how to explain this to myself or to the people who have supported me all this while.
3. I feel guilty. I feel like I’ve betrayed myself and the people around me.
4. I wake up, the feelings linger for up to a few hours. I have to constantly remind myself that I didn’t actually smoke, and that I have nothing to worry about, then I eventually snap out of it.
The frequency of these dreams have gone from 5 times a week (in the first month or so) to once every couple of months (now) but the emotions I experience are still as strong.
All in all, though, I’m just really glad I quit smoking. Having to deal with this once in a while now is so much better than what I put my body and mind through when I was smoking.
The original post, shared on April 29, 2013, can be found on Quora as Chia Leong’s answer to the question “How did you quit smoking?”