Help! Iíve Always Smoked in the CarTuesday, January 5, 2010 10:34
If the car is a trigger for you to smoke, and if you find that you have to drive for long distances, your smoking habit may become overwhelming. Here are some tips to help alter that trigger!
Initially, you have to IDENTIFY ALL OTHER TRIGGERS that are associated with driving. For example, do you smoke more when someone else is in the car with you? Would you smoke more, or less, or the same if you were alone?
Then make an inventory of WHEN you light up more on the road. Is it a time-related urge? Or could it be associated with a place/event, such as when you’ve merged onto the highway or onto a certain road, stopped at a light or were caught in rush hour? Do you stop by the side of the road to make business notes and light up then too?
Driving usually increases tension in people; it demands that we concentrate, sit erect, that we remain flexible and quite alert. If you’re driving for long periods of time, then you know how tired you can feel after a six-hour drive. Tension makes us want to seek the comfort of a ‘relaxing’ smoke. Rush hour traffic calls on our reserves of patience and tests the best of us.
If you want to change the car triggers, first make the decision to not smoke in the car. Then have the car cleaned, outside, and more importantly, INSIDE. Remove the smoke film from inside the windows. Remove the smell of existing smoke that’s in there, as much as you can. Buy some vinyl cleaner that has a ‘new car smell’. Some even have that written on the label right under the product name. Vacuum the seats and carpeting.
If you have passengers, enlist their help by requesting that they not smoke in the car. Tell them you really want to quit this time and that driving is a tough moment in your smoking day.
Remove the lighter and ashtray. If you think you’ll want to sell your automobile eventually, then store those items where you can’t easily get to them.
Now you have an empty space where the ashtray used to be. You can insert a small container or plastic bag of mints, pretzels or hard candy, so that every time you automatically open the ashtray to reach for the lighter, you find something else instead, a reward. Another positive suggestion is to put coins in that space. Every time you reach for the lighter, take a coin. When you stop somewhere, use the coins to buy yourself a reward for not having smoked. This is an important re-enforcement of your progress.
Study your driving habits again. If you’re not a singer, then become one every single time the urge to smoke strikes you. Either bring a tape or listen to a radio station and try to sing along. This means singing out loud. Switch stations or turn off the radio when the urge passes, as an urge usually lasts about three minutes. If you have passengers and you’ve enlisted their help, they will encourage you and may even sing with you, making light and even finding humor in a tough moment. Humor reduces tension. Ever thought of bringing along a cassette or comedy CD to listen to in the car?
Did you once have a routine schedule, such as traveling for a few hours before stopping? How about deciding on a game plan before leaving home? You could take it one hour at a time or even less, for instance. By that, I mean, plan to change your driving habit behavior, by exiting the highway and stopping every hour at a restaurant or highway truck stop (where you can write up your business notes for example). At the first stop you must reward yourself (you must!) for having driven an hour smoke-free. Buy a souvenir or treat yourself to something, a tape for instance. If you don’t want to eat, you can walk around a block, or a building, and burn some calories by doing that. The point is to cut out your past routine and create a new one by planning reasonable, manageable segments, no matter how short they are. Mark the end of the segment in some satisfying way. After all, you just made it though a usually strong trigger!