For socialites looking to quit smoking, you might be worried about your social life taking a beating too. After all, you’re used to going out, having a drink, and having a smoke with friends, right?
Well you don’t need to give up your social life along with smoking! Take a look at this guide below to stay social as you become healthier!
The similarities of alcohol and nicotine
It is important to know the link between alcohol consumption and smoking. At the extreme, government data has found that up to 90 per cent of people who are addicted to alcohol will also smoke. Furthermore, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink and have a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol than non-smokers do.
It’s understood that both nicotine and alcohol impact a common aspect of the brain.
When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine enters the bloodstream and rapidly reaches the brain. Once there, the nicotine will stimulate the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure. These receptors will increase in number as smoking becomes prolonged and your brain will become reliant on nicotine in order to release these feel-good chemicals.
Cravings are caused as the receptors remain even as the nicotine level plummets in the first 72 hours of quitting. This is why some people find a small nicotine dose, such as that from stop smoking chewing gum, can help in the early days of quitting. Persistence is key, as nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of a quit.
Alcohol is also believed to stimulate a feeling of pleasure in the brain. If true, this reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. There are suggestions that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.
Tip for those who are quitting
Have you chosen to stop smoking? Good! But you now face the dilemma of socialising in a scenario where you would have previously had a cigarette. Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:
Don’t put off going out
You shouldn’t let doubts mess up your social plans. Everything you did as a smoker, you can do as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can create a sense of intimidation. Plus, socialising with friends is an important part of your life. The sooner you teach yourself how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.
If you usually smoke when you’re out having a drink, the place you go might trigger smoking cravings. Before leaving the house or in the car, be mentally prepared by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The main point is to remind yourself that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to light up anymore.
A smoke-free social gathering
If you find your local is triggering cravings, it might be beneficial to have your friends come to your house instead. You can celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.
The company of non-smokers
Find support in fellow non-smokers! Who you choose to hang out with can help support your ex-smoking status. Slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not be aware of how to support their quit attempt.
Bring along a quit buddy
Enlist a friend or family member as a quit buddy! A quit buddy is someone who supports your quit. Should you encounter old smoking friends who ask you to join them, make sure they are aware of your situation so they can be respectful. Not only that, you’ll also have your quit buddy to hang out with.