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How to Stay Social and Active as a Non-Smoker

When you’re in the process of leaving smoking behind, your social life could take a hit. Bars, music venues, and even some restaurants are all potential danger zones that could trigger a relapse or slip-up if they allow smoking. Some of your favorite places and routines may become reminders of the addiction you are trying to break. It is a time to tread with caution.

The temptation of smoking is also especially high around friends, family, and co-workers who you used to smoke with. However, as much as they may support your quit, if they still smoke, you might need to give yourself a little space from them for a while. They have to understand that you are serious about your quit, and that you’re going to do what it takes to go the distance.

Of course, you can’t—and shouldn’t—cut ties with everyone in your life. Hopefully you can talk openly with those closest to you, and they can act as your supporters along the way. Or, try to convince someone to quit along with you! Just how people challenge others to fitness milestones or weight loss, you can challenge others to make the quit right along with you. That way, you have a built-in social group going through the same experience as you, not to mention additional accountability.

While quitting, plan events on neutral territory that are less likely to trigger a strong craving. You can also use the time to go to new (non-smoking, of course) restaurants you’ve been meaning to try.

If you’re feeling anxious about going somewhere because you fear it might trigger a smoking slip-up, you can always take a rain check or suggest alternate plans. Inviting someone over to your home is always a safe bet, as you can control the environment and remove most reminders of smoking.

Smaller, lower key hangouts with your supporters are likely to leave you more energized about quitting than spending time with large groups at clubs, music festivals, and the like. If this feels like a huge sacrifice, just know that once you are more secure in your quit, you will be able to come back to these things. But in the initial stages, it’s important to avoid them for a while.

When it comes to dating new people, make it easy for yourself and be honest that you’re trying to quit smoking. There are many people who will find that very honorable and even attractive. It may give you a lot to talk about, too. If you decide to quit mid-relationship, hopefully your partner can be a dedicated supporter of your experience.

Finally, reach out to friends who may have given up smoking who can provide tips and hang out.

Quitting smoking is a huge change in your life, but it won’t make you a different person. Focus on what you’re gaining rather than what you’re giving up. Engage your family and friends during your quit and communicate what kind of support you need. Remember, your friends and family are on your team!