Today I thought about how I gave up smoking. Since it is not an easy task and most people struggle with it, I thought I would share my story.

I only started smoking when I was about 18, which is late for German standards. Most people from my age group started with 16 (legal) or even earlier than that. I never smoked very heavily, except for one point where I was on about 20 cigarettes a day. That was a lot for me and is for anyone who does not smoke or not much. Anyway, I was always sort of on and off smoking, could never quite give up but was not extreme either. Yes, some people smoke 40 or even 80 cigarettes a day, just to give non-smokers an idea.
Anyway, back to how I stopped:
For a few years I tried going off it slowly, it seemed like the best approach. Get the body used to having less and less seemed like a great idea. That however didn't really work for me. The famous last cigarette was always so good that I had to have one again.
A bit later I tried nicotine patches which was probably the worst idea, at least in my case. They put so much nicotine in there that you get even more addicted to it and when you want to go off the patches you crave for cigarettes anyway. Also, it was not only the nicotine what made cigarettes nice. It was the habit and the head rush when inhaling the smoke and having something to do when one was stressed.
However, later I discovered that the best method to quit was to do a cold turkey, meaning going from absolutely smoking to absolutely not. Also, you have to really want it for yourself and not do it for anyone else. It has to be your idea and you need a lot of will-power. Also, for me it didn't help to tell myself that I would never smoke again. I just wanted to stop because it is healthier and less expensive and doesn't really have much benefit over the head rush thing or the also fading coolness factor. You have to want to stop because you want to. I have been off cigarettes now for more than a year and think I can keep on doing that at least until I am 70. By then I probably wont want to start again unless I'm a lonely old sole. A small book that I read also helped a little bit, but most of all my own will and the fact that I was ready for quitting.
I hope this helps someone out there with the same or a similar addiction.