1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

The Balance Between Nicotine Withdrawal and Healing


Updated February 25, 2007

The Balance Between Nicotine Withdrawal and Healing


The interesting thing about quitting smoking is the dichotomy between withdrawal and healing. Both aspects can demand as much attention as, say, wrestling alligators. Often at the same time. But in entirely different ways.

Withdrawal has a wide range of characteristics. It can be subtle and work on you at the subconscious level. Or it can be as obvious as a big, slobbering dog and just hammer you physically. Either way, it makes itself evident in many unpleasant ways.

Healing is not necessarily subtle, but it is gradual, and takes time to accumulate. It works as a function of time and metabolism. Your body will not repair all the damage you have done to it, but it will do its work as best it can. You have to pay more attention to the healing because it is not as vigorous as the withdrawal.

It does not take long, once you quit smoking, for both aspects to manifest themselves. Withdrawal starts first, and can get real nasty. But if you wait long enough, you will soon see healing taking place. And this is where things get more interesting.

At first, the balance was tilted much more towards wanting to smoke. But my appreciation of feeling better has been increasing to the point that now, the balance has shifted. The key to this situation is lasting long enough for that change. I have never done that in a quit before.

I have found myself simultaneously wanting to smoke and appreciating feeling so much better. Sometimes I think about that, and it strikes me as funny. How could I want to do something that made me feel so bad? Now, I accept the fact that that is the way of the world to want to do something that is bad for me. I accept that idea without needing to understand why it is that way. But I do laugh at it too. Foible, indeed.

The encouraging thing is that the withdrawal is decreasing, and the healing is surging. All I have to do to keep that trend going is not smoke.

More from Zzyzx:
Real Power
Critical Thinking
It's All About Attitude

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.