Quitting Juul — Part 3 - Finally, nicotine-free!
If you have been following me for the last few months, you may have read my experience with quitting the Juul. If you haven’t, I will give you a brief overview. I had been vaping two or more Juul pods a day since shortly after Juul came to market, meaning I had been inhaling at least 85 mg of nicotine per day, every day. My monthly auto-ship looked like this.
The reason I actually took this picture was that they had shorted me a box of pods, and I had to show them proof. So, you get it. I vaped A LOT!
My first attempt to quit was cold turkey. It did not go well! I experienced some of the worst withdrawal symptoms you can imagine. They included extreme anxiety and restlessness, short temper, and feeling like what I believe a crack head or junkie feels like when they are cut off from their supply. In short, it wasn’t pleasant.
Once those symptoms subsided, I was tormented with severe brain fog, which made me feel completely lost. I was unable to accomplish basic tasks like paying a bill online or writing a check. It was at that point that I got back on nicotine, with patches, gum, lozenges, and lower nicotine vape juice.
Things started well enough with the reduced nicotine plan, but as with most things that rely entirely on willpower, it worked better some days than others. I began questioning my entire desire to give up vaping altogether.
If I was honest with myself, I had to admit that I never found my real reason to quit. Sure, people spoon-fed me their ideas, the “mysterious vape illnesses” in the news, the “why do you vape so much?” comments and even I had my “it’s a waste of money” feelings. But none of those were compelling enough to make me want to quit deep down in my heart. I hadn’t found anything to override what I liked about vaping. I enjoyed a vape with my morning coffee and the subtle sweetness after a meal that served as a calorie-free dessert. I also enjoyed the concentration boost I got from vaping while I wrote or worked on my computer. Not to mention, it satisfied the teenage rebel side of me that still wanted to have a voice, even though I’m 43.
It wasn’t until two weeks ago that a compelling reason to quit finally surfaced. I was doing my morning journal writing when it suddenly dawned on me that I had been using some mind-altering substance on a regular or semi-regular basis since I was 13 years old.
I had regularly partaken in something, whether it was smoking or drinking (and in my younger years harder stuff), for 30 years. Even during periods, I had quit one; I had done the other. At 43 years old, I had the startling realization that I didn’t know who I was, utterly free of all mind-altering substances. Holy Crap!
I decided then and there that I wanted to know who I am, without any traces of addictive chemicals. I had found my WHY! And with that, I had the missing piece of the puzzle.
With my compelling reason entirely in mind, it was time to work on the business of actually quitting. I carefully crafted a hypnosis script for myself, laying out all of the reasons to stop that I would plant in my subconscious. Not willing to experience the terrible side effects that I had experienced last time, I decided to try layering in some language for my subconscious to make quitting manageable. I added that I would feel good, sharp-minded, relaxed, happy, and other pleasant emotions. I also layered in a suggestion that anytime I felt any adverse effects, I could ask my body to dial up the amount of serotonin and dopamine, and I’d feel great again. I had no idea if this would work because I couldn’t find it in anyone else’s scripts, but I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I felt like a mad scientist.
I wrote out my script with the focus and determination of Mozart when he created The Marriage of Figaro then recorded the words in my most soothing hypnotic voice. Finally, I settled into my recliner and drifted into hypnosis with the suggestions working their way into my subconscious mind.
The hypnosis didn’t work instantly. I vaped immediately afterward and on my drive home, but under the surface, things were shifting. I found myself that evening annoyed with my vape. I was resentful at the effort it took to manage my nicotine levels, so I wasn’t anxious from either too much or too little. All of a sudden, what had been such a pleasure for the last five years felt like an albatross. I knew this would be my last evening of vaping. Once I had my 7 hours of sleep and nicotine abstinence behind me in the morning, I wasn’t going to do it again.
As I settled into bed, I visualized what I was going to do once I was free from vaping and nicotine. I pictured myself emptying the contents of the cabinet in my dresser, where I stored my vaping stuff into the trash can and taking the bag out to the big trash outside.
I imagined myself saying, “Freedom, I am free!” This phrase became my mantra, and I repeated it to myself as I drifted off to sleep.
In the morning, I awoke and didn’t touch my vape. I didn’t even think about it until after I had already walked and fed the dogs and sat down with my morning coffee. I put it out of my mind quickly with my mantra, “Freedom, I am free!” I started to get a little antsy after a few sips of coffee, but I remembered that I had programmed my brain to allow me to adjust my serotonin and dopamine levels, so I just told my body to ramp up what needed to be fixed until I felt perfect — and it WORKED! The agitation subsided, and I was calm.
I went the rest of the day without touching my vape, or any other source of nicotine, even though I had the gum, the patch, lozenges, and my vape with me in my purse. I used my hypnosis cues and my mantra instead. I felt good. The only time I missed vaping was after meals. Luckily, I had on hand some tropical-flavored ice cubes gum that quickly satisfied the desire for something sweet.
The night ended, and I had made it: twenty-four hours, no nicotine, and no unsurmountable withdrawals. I decided to listen to my hypnosis recording again at bedtime to keep this going.
The next day was even better, more comfortable, and easier to not even think about vaping or nicotine. I had found my secret sauce. The combination of my compelling reason, with the right hypnosis recording that minimized withdrawal symptoms, a visualization of the end-result, and a mantra was all I needed. I had conquered nicotine addiction and freed myself in the process!!!
A triumph worth celebrating with a strawberry Bubly, as I get to know the person I was before nicotine and alcohol entered my life.
It has now been two weeks, and I haven’t touched anything with nicotine, no patch, no gum, no lozenge, no nicotine at all. I did go out and buy some zero nicotine juice for my vape to enjoy with my morning coffee and after meals. I also enjoy puffing on it while I write, although I use it less and less each day.
Last week, my boyfriend and I took a trip to Mexico. It was so lovely to get on a plane and not worry about having to have some nicotine with me to keep me from losing it on the plane. Being crammed in coach on a flight is bad enough, add nicotine withdrawal, and things can get sketchy pretty quick.
My final thoughts on quitting vaping:
It is a hell of a lot harder to quit vaping than it is to quit smoking!
Without the right hypnosis, withdrawals can be downright brutal. I think it was a gift that I suffered so much when I first tried to quit, as it is a damn good reminder not to start again. Nicotine may not be super harmful, but it is crazy addictive. Don’t start using nicotine if you aren’t a current user. It is not worth it! If you are ready to quit vaping, find your deep-down, compelling reason to stop and find an experienced hypnotherapist to help you. The investment made in hypnosis is a hell of a lot cheaper than months of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products and way more effective at helping you quit successfully.
If you have quit vaping, want to quit or are looking to live a nicotine-free life, I would love to hear from you about your experience.
Leave me a comment below.
originally published on Medium at https://medium.com/@lornamoon/quitting-juul-part-3-7f83202e8975