What kind of smoker are you? You can find out here if you’re not sure. If you’re a social smoker, then giving up smoking can be challenging. You’re quitting a habit and changing up your social routine. But there’s no reason why you can’t maintain a good social life smoke-free! In this guide, we’ll show you how.
The connection between smoking and drinking
It helps to be aware of the link between smoking and drinking alcohol.
According to government data, around 90% of people suffering from an alcohol addiction 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.
As both nicotine and alcohol act on the same common mechanisms in the brain, this isn’t surprising. 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.
Cravings occur as nicotine levels tend to drop in your bloodstream within 72 hours of quitting, but the receptors remain. 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.
Similarly, alcohol is seen to create a feeling of pleasure. 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.
Socialising without smoking
Are you looking for ways to balance the challenge of quitting smoking and still being social? Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:
Don’t avoid it
Don’t let doubts hold you back. 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; there’s no reason for you to be stuck at home with only a stop smoking lozenge and a box set for company while your friends are out! 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.
It’s true that the place you drink at might trigger a craving to smoke. 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.
A no-smoking social
Instead of going to a public place to drink where you will see others smoking, why not invite your friends to your home? You can 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.
Enjoy time with non-smokers
When quitting, your friends and other non-smokers should be supportive of 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.
Have a quit buddy help
It might be easier to go to social events with a quit buddy. 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.