What’s Wrong With Smoking While in Recovery?
Smoking and recovery go hand in hand. Alcoholics and addicts are portrayed in pop culture as cigarette smoking maniacs, even if they’re sober! This depiction is actually pretty accurate.
The American Family Physician Organization states that around 85% of recovering alcoholics smoke, compared to only 25% of the general public. Not only are there more sober smokers, but we seem to smoke more frequently than the non-alcoholic smoker. Well, that makes sense…after all, we’re alcoholics!
Cigarettes serve many purposes beyond appeasing a nicotine addiction. They’re a ritual and part of fellowshipping. They’re the last vice, the one we won’t let go of. Anywhere you find a rehab, you find smokers.
And what’s so wrong with that? If we’ve finally given up drugs and alcohol, do we really have to give up cigarettes? The short answer is no, we don’t. However, if someone does want to quit, how do they know when’s the right time?
How Do You Know When to Quit Smoking?
To put it bluntly, there’s no such thing as a wrong time to quit smoking.
There’s no evidence that suggests quitting smoking in early-recovery will lead to a drug or alcohol relapse. In fact, addiction professionals agree that smoking should be treated like the addiction it is – admit there’s a problem and seek help!
Ultimately, the only people who can determine the right time to quit smoking are the individuals themselves. Anyone in rehab will readily acknowledge that getting sober is a tumultuous, intense, and difficult experience. No one can say what’s right for another person’s recovery, but the attitude regarding smoking in recovery IS often skewed.
Again, there’s NO evidence to suggest quitting cigarettes will lead to a drug or alcohol relapse. There’s NO evidence to suggest that quitting cigarettes is so overwhelming that it can’t be done at the same time as quitting drugs or alcohol.
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How to Quit Smoking
Empowering those in early sobriety to look at smoking cessation is an often ignored aspect of drug treatment.
A holistic approach to health and addiction recovery absolutely includes an honest appraisal of the dangers of smoking. As a final note, it’s important to remember that just like with drugs and alcohol, it’s the individual themself who has to be ready to quit smoking. That time can be immediately or it may be years into sobriety. Whatever the time frame, quitting smoking should be encouraged as an achievable and worthy goal.
It no longer serves us to say that just because we’re in recovery we should continue to smoke. There are a ton of resources and alternatives to cigarettes out there. Like any addiction, the foundation of recovery is built through a commitment to stop and stay stopped, no matter what the circumstances.
Want to get serious about quitting? Visit Tobacco Free Florida