A broken in half cigarette with nicotine spilled out of the rip on a dark teal background

Kicking the Nicotine Habit with IBS

Last updated: January 2022

So, I did it. I finally completely kicked the nicotine habit. I quit smoking over 7 years ago, but I just quit vaping several months ago. Ditching a habit I had for well over three decades is a big deal, and I am very proud of it. However, I am finding it hard to cope with a few IBS symptoms without this crutch.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not going to pick up the habit again. I see it as a matter of finding a new way to handle certain symptoms.

Smoking and vaping made fasting easier

In the past, fasting was less difficult. Unfortunately, it has gotten quite a bit harder as I have gotten older. I seem to be starving all the time and going a full day without food is torture. At times, it is impossible to resist temptation. That is a big problem when I have things I need to do.

For many years I smoked or vaped when I needed to keep myself from eating or I ate to keep from smoking or vaping. When I smoked or vaped, I relied on my nicotine fix to ease my hunger pangs. I do not know why it worked, but it did work. Perhaps it was only a distraction, but it did indeed work for me. Now that I no longer smoke or vape, I do not have that distraction to fall back on in times of weakness.

Distracting myself from IBS pain

I know nicotine is not a pain reliever. I know it is actually a stimulant and should have the opposite effect, but I found it soothing and relaxing. For whatever reason, it seemed to ease my pain. Again, it may have been that it was a distraction. The reason does not really matter because an effective placebo works regardless of whether or not it should.

I often found myself smoking or vaping more often when I was in pain. Of course, this fed my addiction, but I felt my addiction was beneficial. It helped me cope with pain and fast when needed. This made it much harder for me to kick the habit.

Kicking the nicotine habit

On my 40th birthday, my present to myself was to quit smoking. I began vaping instead. This might be confusing to some, as some of my friends and family felt like I was not really quitting anything. I am not going to say that vaping is better than smoking or vice versa. What I will say is it made a very noticeable difference with a certain one of my health issues. That was my primary objective, and it worked for me.

My goal was always to eventually kick the nicotine habit completely. I intended to taper down the level of nicotine used until I was able to quit without major withdrawals. It took almost 7 years to talk myself into getting rid of my addiction, and tapering down did help. About 2 weeks before the 7th anniversary of quitting smoking, I quit vaping.

Finding new ways to cope with IBS pain

After decades of addiction, I am finally free. I am still trying to find ways to cope with pain and fasting, but I am certainly not going back to my old habits. For now, my method for coping with pain involves swearing a lot. Dealing with fasting has also involved lots of swearing until I give up and eat something. It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t always effective, but I am managing.

Have you kicked a habit? I would love to hear about your experience.

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