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Freedom teaches that we don't need to give up any part of our life when quitting except for our nicotine. The weekend has arrived again and with it the opportunity to have a few drinks and be with friends. How do you approach this most important encounter with alcohol, smokers and good times? What planning, if any, can you do? When is it safe to do so?The odds of a brand new quit surviving the pub or bar scene while consuming large quantities of alcohol are not promising! Walking into an environment loaded with ashtrays, lighters and packs everywhere in a smoke and smoker filled room, while consuming a mind and sense altering substance during a temporary period of time that you were giving it your all not to smoke nicotine can be a tragic mistake, even fatal. Although alcohol has been found to play a role in half of all fatal vehicle collisions, its death toll in relation to the destruction of quits is even greater.
Many of you have already successfully navigated this situation while others have not. If you have, please share the important lessons you learned. Your words of wisdom might save both a quit and a life.
My advice is simple! Think it though, plan ahead, keep your guard up, and always remember that you can walk away. An early encounter with alcohol can involve multiple triggers. Keep in mind that it's possible to address them one at a time. Alcohol itself could be a habit trigger, being around other smokers another, having a good or bad time while drinking a third or possibly even a fourth, and having too much to drink a possible fifth. Then again, your anxiety attack triggering cue could be something as simple as ice cubes hitting a glass in a dark smoke filled environment. We've each developed some pretty unique feeding habits.
You can drink at home first without the other stuff, or going out for a good time in a smoke and smoker filled location without drinking. The planning possibilities are numerous. It may be possible to handle it all at once and put it behind you but baby steps may be a better approach for you. You know you better than anyone else! Listen to yourself and above all keep in mind that loving "delay" - just three minutes - is one of your best friends right now. This too is doable!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! YQB John : )