Be Your Biggest Supporter!

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Support for quitting smoking can come from several different sources. You may be lucky enough to have a large circle of friends and family to help see you through the rough times and lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. Perhaps you only have one or two people you can talk to, or perhaps you rely on professional help such as your doctor or a quit smoking clinic. Some people participate in internet forums for support. I have also seen a growing number of phone apps that track your quit and give you congratulatory messages when you have reached a particular milestone. “Well done! You have been quit since one month and saved $180!”

No matter where you look for support, the goal should always be for the supporter(s) to reinforce your own conviction and to help you reach the goal that you have set for yourself. There may be times when you feel down or less convinced of your capability to see things through. Your support system is there to lift your spirits and remind you that you have what it takes to keep going. If that’s a physical shoulder to cry on or a simple “You can do It!” message from a stranger (or an app), it’s better than feeling all alone to deal with your emotions.

Choose your support system carefully. Some people have a need for real-world human interaction, whereas others can get by with talking to strangers on the Internet. Some people are self-driven and can get away with managing their own difficulties. Everyone is different, and each form of support has its own unique qualities, advantages, and disadvantages.

For example, friends and family living close by may be available 24/7, which is great when there’s a crisis, but it can lead to too much dependency if the person quitting leans too heavily on their support system. Seeing a doctor or going to a clinic is a less immediate and more formal form of support, typically with less emotional involvement and, unless they have a 24 hour hotline, you may feel stranded for a while. With Internet forums, there is no physical human contact and you may also have to wait several hours (days?) before someone responds, hopefully with a pleasing answer. Needless to say, with an app you’re looking at a plastic screen with pre-defined messages, which may be just enough to keep you going.

For each support system(s) you choose, there is one common element that doesn’t change, and that’s you! Ultimately, you are responsible for your own actions. If you think of a marathon race, for example, the supporters are there to encourage the runner to participate, to stand on the sidelines and cheer the runner on, and to congratulate the runner at the end of the race. You have to do the actual running, and for that you need to be your biggest supporter!

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