Cigarettes have been blamed for the downfall of addiction recovery and sobriety, and some have even suggested that smoking may be one of the most regressive steps to take in rehabilitation. But are these claims true? In general, quitting cigarettes is seen as an easy fix to a tough life — something that can be achieved relatively quickly with minimal effort. And in most cases, quitting smoking does boost your chances of a successful recovery. But can you smoke cigarettes in recovery? And if so, what are the risks?
Are Cigarettes Harmful to Recovery?
Many people in 12-Step groups will argue that cigarettes are harmful to long-term sobriety. Others, however, insist that a single cigarette is not enough to derail most people’s chances at rebuilding their lives. The truth is that it actually depends on your personal situation and the degree of addiction you are trying to overcome.
If you are recovering from alcoholism during a stay at a recovery center, for example, smoking may be closely monitored. This is because smoking is dangerous for people with longstanding alcoholism problems. Smoking raises blood pressure and heart rate, which can make it difficult to stay focused on a recovery program. Plus, smokers may have trouble keeping their cravings in check. They may find themselves craving another hit of nicotine orally or through skin contact. This can easily lead to relapse if they don’t significantly curb the smoking habit while they’re at the treatment center.
In general, smoking is not recommended for people going through recovery. However, a few exceptions may be made. If you are still a novice and have only recently made the decision to quit, you may be allowed to take it a little easier than usual. You also may be given an exception to continue smoking if your personal situation is such that it’s difficult not to smoke — for example, if you’re around others who smoke regularly or if you have trouble quitting on your own because of some health problem or discomfort with nicotine withdrawal. In these cases, your doctors or therapists may make some adjustments to help you quit. For example, they may recommend nicotine replacement therapy or other drugs to help curb the cravings associated with smoking cessation.
If you are already in recovery and are struggling with a relapse, you may be allowed to resume your smoking habit if it helps you avoid a full-scale relapse. However, be aware that relapse can be an overwhelming experience. Like the first time you tried to quit, it often involves dealing with withdrawal symptoms that eventually fade over time. You may find that smoking one cigarette is enough to kick start the cravings again. This can be dangerous because it can lead to a full relapse, which is usually harder to recover from than a single slip-up.
What Are the Risks of Quitting Cigarettes?
If you are not in a recovery program, smoking does not pose significant health risks. In fact, many people who have been through recovery programs will smoke on occasion for this very reason. However, smoking does present some health risks for people who do not have their health in check. Smoking can make it difficult to get pregnant or prevent pregnancy if you are trying to conceive. It also can increase your risk of heart disease and lung disease — both of which are conditions that people recovering from addiction often have trouble recovering from. Plus, smoking can create a social stigma that makes it more difficult to stay clean and sober socially.
If you’re planning on quitting smoking, be sure you’re doing so for the right reasons. As a general rule, it’s best to take up a new habit while you’re in recovery. This is because the chances of relapse are lower. Plus, it frees up more time for your new habit and helps to improve your chances of success.
And if you decide that you don’t want to quit, after all, be sure to keep your decision confidential. This will prevent others from pressuring you into quitting, which could lead to another relapse. Also, remember that successful recovery is not something that’s achieved in a single moment or overnight. It’s a process, and you must remain committed to your recovery until the end of your time in the program.
In conclusion, cigarettes are harmful to recovery and should not be used during recovery or as a replacement for cigarettes during nicotine withdrawal. If you are trying to quit smoking, be sure to check out the available support groups, such as Nicotine Anonymous. These groups can help you utilize coping methods and coping strategies that will help alleviate any stress and cravings associated with attempting to stop smoking.
For more information about what it means to have a ‘successful’ recovery, feel free to contact us on 833-610-1174.