by Beth Livingston
Certified Recovery Specialist
These steps are adapted from the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous that have proven helpful to people trying to quit just about anything. Maybe you've never thought of using them to help quit smoking, but they can be extremely helpful when combined with seeking wholeness through a relationship with Jesus Christ. What have you got to lose? Whether it's you or someone you know who wants to quit smoking for good, give these steps a chance to change your life forever.
Step 1 – If you’ve tried more than once to quit smoking, you may have tried the gum, lozenges, pills, and maybe even hypnotism. But you’re still smoking. It’s got you; you don’t have it. Just get real and say, “I admit I am powerless over smoking cigarettes.”
Step 2 – Do you believe that God Almighty is able to give you a life without cigarettes? Or are you stuck believing that there is no power great enough to get smoking out of your life? If you believe God has the power, then meditate on His ability to do marvelous works. Stop listening to doubt and the enemy’s constant reminders of your failed attempts. Simply believe in God’s ability, not your own.
Step 3 – Through the working of the Holy Spirit, CHOOSE to hand this battle over to God. He is your only chance, your mighty warrior! Any time you feel the urge to smoke, pray instead! This is choosing to turn your life and your will over to God. Tell Him when you want a cigarette. Tell Him that you trust He can do a better job of keeping you from smoking than you can. Ask the Lord to take it from you and thank Him as you trust that He will be willing and able to set you free. Believe in the power that you feel when you pray to God. The enemy has kept a powerful grip on you through your inability to quit before and he will remind you of that during this time. Don't believe the lie. Call out to the Lord and claim through the name of Jesus Christ that you will not be held in bondage by cigarettes. Choose to pray until the urge is over. Pray each and every time the desire comes again.
Steps 4 & 5 – Take a look at the patterns in your life that send you into, “I’ve got to have a cigarette” mode. This is a moral inventory. Are these moments that really belong to God instead of your cigarette? The kids are driving you nuts, another costly car repair is needed, you found out about someone doing you wrong, you are caught up in a sin that you know is wrong – are these times for a smoke? Have you made smoking your God? He deserves to hear your problems, your confessions, and be your comfort! Can you confess to God and to another human being that you’ve been treating God like He’s not as much comfort as your cigarettes? If you can, you’re taking steps in the right direction!
Steps 6 & 7 – Can you allow yourself to be entirely ready to have God remove all your desire for smoking? Can you picture your life without cigarettes? Will you get on your knees before Him and ask Him to remove this life pattern of smoking to deal with your issues in life? You might want to ask the Lord Jesus to go to the deeper places of your soul and remove your pattern of seeking this kind of relief; expose to you the truths of why you have done this for so long. Maybe you are having a hard time believing you can live without cigarettes. Take your unbelief to Christ. Ask Him to take your destructive behavior away and let you live with God as your sole source of refuge.
Steps 8 & 9 – Make a list of all the people you can remember who asked you to please quit smoking. Believe it or not, it hurt some of them that you kept on smoking. If your children begged you to quit, they may have felt they were the reason you smoked or that you didn’t love them enough to quit or some other reasoning they took to heart. They may have wanted you to love yourself enough to quit increasing your chance of getting cancer and it hurt them to see you not love yourself. Your spouse, parents, siblings, employers, employees, old friends – do a thorough list of who you may have hurt. Some may have been irritated by the smoke and felt disrespected that you chose to keep smoke in their environment even though they complained. Go to them (if you can) and tell them you’re sorry.
Step 10 – Now that you’re allowing God to remove this from your life, you will be convicted of new ways that you’re substituting your old pattern. Maybe now you eat too much when you’re sad or anxious. In step 10, you continue to take personal inventory and when you see yourself choosing a destructive pattern, you admit it right away.
Steps 11 & 12 - Stay close to God. Stay closer to Him than you did to cigarettes. Continually seek to know Him and His will for your life. Think of the number of times you picked up a cigarette each day. In your changed life, you will find the blessing of praying that number of times each day instead. What a glorious new life without smoking! You smell better, breathe easier, and cough less. Plus, you’ve gotten closer to God. Now tell others how you did this with God’s help. Your personal testimony is your 12th step. How did He get you clean from cigarettes? He can use this truth to touch lives through the working of His Holy Spirit that you’ll never know about.
Can you see working these steps to quit smoking? Have you ever tried to quit this way before? Please feel free to post your feelings on this topic!