Chapter 7: Symptoms of Recovery: What to Expect
Symptoms of recovery are not the same thing as withdrawal symptoms. Where withdrawal symptoms are associated with pain and suffering, symptoms of recovery are positive things that happen to you and your body during the withdrawal period. As you may recall from chapter 5 (Types of Addiction), your body has come to know nicotine in your system as normal. When you suddenly stop smoking, your brain believes that it is not normal (when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth). When your brain senses an imbalance, it reacts in many different ways. Some of these reactions are expected, others are not.
Keep in mind that by following this guide precisely and utilizing the tools that we suggest, your withdrawal symptoms will be exceptionally mild, if you have any at all. Of course, you will feel urges when/if you find yourself in a dangerous situation such as drinking alcohol at a pub or after an argument, but this is normal. That is why we suggest changing your environment and staying away from anything related to smoking during the first few weeks.
The human body is amazing. When you first stop smoking, although your brain believes that something is wrong; your body will begin healing itself almost immediately!
Within the first day after quitting, you will find yourself coughing more than usual. It will be a productive cough. As the cilia in your airway begin to come back to life, they will bring up deeply held secretions that have hindered your lung function for years. Think about this productive cough as if you are expelling the addiction from your body.
Before long, you will begin to find yourself breathing a little bit easier. As the days go by, your lung function will increase by as much as 30%. During the next couple of months, as your lungs are naturally cleaned out, you will start to feel more energetic and active. Another nice benefit to stopping smoking is the fact that your senses of smell and taste will return. Depending on how long you had smoked, you will smell and taste things that you haven't experienced in years.
Then there are the health issues. Immediately after you put down your last cigarette, your chances for getting bronchitis and pneumonia begin dropping significantly. If you have suffered from chronic bronchitis, chances are that it will go away forever, with the exception of the passing illness that will affect everyone around you as well. And, when you do get the inevitable respiratory infection, you will find that your recuperation time will be much shorter.
Imagine being able to wake up every morning and take a long, deep breath without coughing for an hour and a half? That's right, after a couple of weeks that "smoker's cough" that you have grown used to will completely disappear.
As time goes by, your chances of heart disease, stroke and cancer decrease and your life expectancy increases. This alone, should be reason enough to stop smoking.
Another benefit which is inevitable is the immediate availability of extra money. If you smoke a pack a day, you will be saving well over $1000 - $1250USD per year. Just think about what you could do with an extra $1250 a year.
There are many other benefits to quitting. Your bones will be stronger, you will sleep better, you will heal faster, your teeth will be cleaner, you won't smell like cigarettes and dozens of other reasons. As an ex-smoker, I feel that the two most significant benefits to quitting smoking are:
Sit down for a while and write down any other symptoms of recovery that you can think of.
Think About This When You Smoke:
Think about all the benefits discussed in this chapter and how incredible you would feel if you stopped smoking!