Going out to a bar with friends (or any other social situation that involves alcohol)
For some women, going out drinking with friends is a particularly challenging situation. We recommend that you avoid this situation when you are early in your quitting process. However, after the first few weeks, you can start planning for how you will deal with this challenge. Writing and recording your own imagery file will help you to imagine and rehearse your strategies for remaining smoke-free when socializing with friends.
Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your imagery file:
- Start with breathing and relaxation, like the imagery files you listened to in the See Me Smoke-Free program. You can use the following relaxation text or edit it to meet your needs: Take a deep breath and hold it for 3 to 4 seconds. Exhale slowly while thinking, “I am smoke-free.” Release any tension in your body and mind. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and fully, down to your belly. Feel the rise of your belly as you breathe in and then the fall of your belly as you breathe out.
- Since alcohol affects your judgment and reduces your ability to think clearly, imagine yourself drinking club soda with lime, a “virgin” cocktail (like a margarita or Bloody Mary), or non-alcoholic beer the first time you go out. This will break the connection between drinking and smoking, and help you make good decisions if someone offers you a cigarette. See the sparkling or colorful liquid. Feel the cool glass in your hand. Taste the refreshing drink as you swallow.
- Before you go out, figure out several different strategies for refusing cigarettes if someone offers them to you. Imagine yourself with your friends, talking and laughing. You are enjoying being with them. One of your friends asks you to go outside for a smoke. Feel your muscles tense as she waits for an answer. Hear yourself say, “Thanks for the offer, but I quit!” Visualize the pride and sense of relaxation you feel. Imagine your friends congratulating you on your great accomplishment and the confidence you feel that you can resist smoking urges.
- Being around people who are smoking might be tempting. Imagine yourself seeing others smoking. See them take a cigarette out of the pack and light it. Smell the smoke. If a craving to smoke hits, let it wash over you and float away until the craving has gone. Recognize that you are in control and able to resist temptation. You feel strong and powerful.
- End with a positive statement about yourself, like in the imagery files in the See Me Smoke-Free program. See yourself as strong, beautiful, and smoke-free.