I'm in my 30's and I deal with it all the time, almost everyday.
It doesn't even have to be tobacco-related, it can be about anything. The pressure to dress well, to be thin, to be funny and make people laugh, to be cool, etc. The list goes on and on. It's everywhere, and it happens to every single human being on the planet. It's unavoidable.
I've relapsed a few times when I was just in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I would walk past a few of my co-workers puffing away outside and they would start talking to me. I'd walk over to them and the triggers in my mind went crazy. The smoke smelled good, I wanted to be cool (or look cool), so I bummed a cigarette, and back to square one I went. All downhill from there.
Try going out to a bar on the weekends and not wanting to light up when everyone else is. No, not everyone else is, but if you're a smoker trying to quit, it will seem like it's everyone. You'll be looking at everyone's fingers to see if they are holding a cigarette. Have you ever done that? Looked at people's hands to see if they are smoking?
So What Do You Do?
Well, you have to know it exists. You have to know it's going to happen to you everyday. You cannot escape it. Just because YOU quit does not instantly make everyone else quit, too. You're still going to be working with smokers, at school with them, friends with them, and maybe even dating or married to one. Just because you quit doesn't mean you won't be around it, because you won't. It's impossible to avoid.
That's why it's SUPER important to go into quitting with the correct state of mind. It's half the battle right there. You HAVE to get it through your skull that everyday is going to be a challenge, and that you must focus every minute, especially during those first 3 weeks of withdrawal. It's imperative you do so.
When you walk past the group of smokers outside, who suddenly yell out your name to come join them, simply say NO. Ignore them and keep walking, make up an excuse, and feel sorry for them. THEY are still trapped in the cycle of addiction, and YOU are on your way out of all that nonsense. View them as weak, and be strong every minute of the day. You have to be able to walk past that moment, because if you walk over to the group, the triggers will drive you crazy, and your mind will play tricks on you, convincing you to join in. You will lose the battle.
Once you're over the physical, triggers like that will become easier to handle. The pressure to smoke will always be there, but you'll begin to think about it less and less as times goes on.
Here are some more things you can do to avoid peer pressure.
Months or even years later, you won't even think about it. It will be something of your past, and part of your old self. Keep it that way forever.
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