It seems that cigarettes and substance abuse go hand in hand, as most addicts and alcoholics are also smokers. While you have successfully transitioned from active substance abuse to sobriety, your cigarette habit has likely carried over into your life in recovery. This is not the end of the world, as cigarettes are legal and less debilitating in the short term than drugs or alcohol. However, they are still detrimental to your health and well-being and may actually have a negative impact on your recovery. Should you make an attempt to quit smoking in sobriety, and if so when?
Cigarettes are formulated to be highly addictive and habit forming, so much so that many recovered addicts have a harder time quitting smoking than they did quitting drugs or alcohol! Nicotine withdrawal can be incredibly anxiety inducing, which is not a mindset you want to find yourself in during early recovery. In light of this fact, it may behoove you to put off any attempts at quitting cigarettes within the first year of your sobriety, lest you place too much pressure on your psyche and open yourself up to relapse.
On the other hand, after a year of continuous sobriety it is absolutely adviseable you make a concerted effort to end your cigarette habit. Studies have shown that those in recovery who also give up smoking have a higher rate of success in sobriety than those who continue smoking. This alone should be reason enough for those in recovery to seek to end their cigarette habit, setting aside the obvious and substantial benefits to your physical health that result from a cessation of smoking. After a year of sobriety, your mental and spiritual fitness should be sufficient for you to take on the potential stress caused by nicotine withdrawal without placing you at risk for relapse.
Cigarettes are often one of the last vices to be given up by addicts and alcoholics. This fact is apparent to anyone who has ever attended a 12-step recovery meeting, as a surprising number of those in attendance will be found lingering outside the meeting place enjoying a cigarette or two before departing. Your body and your recovery will thank you for leaving behind your cigarette habit as you enter this new year, as they contain a plethora of harmful and carcinogenic substances which are proven to shorten your lifespan as well as inhibit your quality of life. We do not achieve sobriety to be limited in life, so break free of your cigarette addiction so that you can achieve a happy, joyous and free life!