Smokers Anonymous is a self-help group for people who want to live nicotine-free lives. This group is open to people who have a desire to be free from nicotine. Members learn new ways of dealing with their cravings. They get the help they need from the support group, their Higher Power, and from themselves. By offering support to others who are addicted to this addictive chemical, member can accept their cravings but choose not to act on them.
The basis for treating the nicotine addiction is to accept the fact that the addict will experience a craving for the substance. Rather than fighting the craving, which may lead to nicotine use, group members learn how to let it be. Accepting the craving and living with it means that group members isn’t using nicotine to deal with the pain of not using the substance.
Stopping smoking is associated with the following health benefits
- Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
- Reduced risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
- Reduced coronary heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
- Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among people who quit smoking than among those who continue to smoke.
- Reduced risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
- Reduced risk for infertility in women of reproductive age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
By adopting and practicing the 12 steps on a daily basis, a person who is addicted to nicotine can change their life. The first step is to admit that they are powerless over nicotine and that enlisting the help of a Higher Power can help return them to sanity. The goal of using the 12 steps is to achieve a spiritual awakening and a new life.
The group offers a list of suggestions for getting free of nicotine on its web site. They range from tips to use before the official “quit day,” as well as how to cope with the first few days after quitting smoking. The list also includes suggestions on how to stay smoke-free over a long term.
Smokers Anonymous treats quitting as a process. With time and if the person follows the steps, they can successfully break free from a nicotine addiction. This group acknowledges that breaking free from nicotine is very difficult, but it is possible to give up smoking forever.