Worried about how your social life will be impacted if you class yourself as a socialite but have made the choice to stop smoking? Nicotinell, who make nicotine patches for around-the-clock relief from cravings, are here to discuss how you can continue to be a socialite after quitting smoking…
Alcohol and smoking—are there links?
There are indeed close links between smoking and drinking alcohol. 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.
Nicotine and alcohol alike will act on common mechanisms which are contained within the human brain. When it comes to nicotine, the chemical compound will enter the bloodstream as soon as you smoke a cigarette and rapidly get transported to your 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.
There will be a drop in the nicotine supply found in your bloodstream within three days of your decision to quit smoking. However, those receptors won’t disappear that quickly, so your brain’s chemistry will react to cause powerful cravings and strong emotional reactions. 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.
The feeling of pleasure is created from alcohol, researchers have also claimed. 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.
Five ways to socialise during your quit-smoking journey
So, you’ve taken that crucial first step and chosen to stop smoking. However, 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:
Head to social events with your quit buddy
When you’re stopping smoking, quit buddies such as a friend or a member of your family can offer so much help to ensuring you reach your goals. Therefore, be sure to invite them along to whatever social event you’re attending. 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.
Prepare yourself mentally
Head to a place that you’ve long enjoyed going to for a drink and there’s a good chance your smoking cravings will be triggered. 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.
Never put off a social event
Just because you have your doubts, you shouldn’t delay going for a drink after you’ve quit smoking. 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.
Remember your non-smoking friends
Non-smokers and friends who support your choice to stop smoking will surely give you so much help and encouragement to stand by your decision. 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.
Hold a social event at your home
Why go to a location where you’re likely to see other people smoking if you can host a social event at your own home instead? At your abode, you will be able to 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.