Recovering From a Failed Quit Smoking Attempt and Relapse.

Smoker trapped behind barsI doubt there has ever been a smoker genuinely happy to have failed at quitting smoking. Most successful quitters have suffered a relapse in the past, and know very intimately, the feelings of hopelessness and defeat that come with relapse.

The depression that comes with a failed quit smoking attempt can easily overwhelm the smoker, and leave them feeling as though genuine recovery is simply not possible. The fact is; relapse sucks and it sucks bad!

For those who do have such feelings, and who believe quitting smoking is based on impossible odds, I have this message:

There is a reason you will hear so many ex smokers exclaim the words “If I can, you can!” It is because your situation is no different to any ex smoker who has broken free of nicotine addiction. The disease is completely curable, even for you.

It doesn’t matter how long you have smoked, how many you smoke a day, where you live, where you work, what your financial situation is or what your home and family scenario is like. Nothing changes the fact that nicotine addiction is completely curable for every single human being on this planet.

So, why does it feel so impossible?

Because quitting smoking is hard. Very hard. It takes experience, knowledge, planning, self control, belief, support, desire, and above all else, a long term commitment to the healing process.

If you have relapsed, the first thing to accept is that you haven’t failed until you give up on giving up. Rather, you have gained powerful insights and a greater awareness of the healing process.

You have gained experience and more information. Information you can use to better prepare, better plan and better manage your next quit.

“You haven’t failed until you give up on giving up.”

If you have relapsed, consider answering the following questions before launching your next quit smoking attempt:

  • What was my breaking point and what can I do next time to help me overcome it?
  • What have I learnt about the quit process and is there anything I can do differently to make the overall process easier?
  • Do I truly believe I can heal and eventually stop thinking about smoking?
  • Do I recognise the junkie brain and have I maximised the support I have available to help combat it?
  • Could I come up with a more detailed plan?
  • Do I need to re evaluate my reasons for quitting?
  • Would a different method be more suitable to my scenario and needs?
  • When should I set my next quit date?

If you need help, get it! Talk to other quitters and ex smokers as there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to get through the process. You don’t need to go it alone.

If you want freedom from a life of permanent need, a life of poor health and limited capability, you need to step up, make a new commitment and meet your demon head on!




  1. annette smith says:

    all of this is a MUST read for people who are about to embark on there quitting journey. on my last and successful quit i daily read posts that Cam wrote and the help was second to none…….

  2. Hi there

    I have stopped for almost three months and had 1 cigarette last night!!! I feel so bad about it! Problem is I am so angry and constantly pick on my husband!! I am afraid that I might ruin my marriage because of the way I feel because of the cravings

    • Stick to your guns Marilia! 3 months is still a young quit. Whilst you should start feeling more comfortable after 12 or so weeks, it will take several months to break down all of the triggers. Every crave is a heal. Neural connections in your brain that are related to smoking, are forced to weaken and eventually break down whenever as craves runs their course.

      Maybe come up with more effective strategies with the family? You need a time out space. An area to be alone when you need it.

      It does get easier. I was a horrid quitter. Today, over two years later, I am far a far more calmer person than I ever was as a smoker.

  3. Hi Cam, i stopped for 5 mths this yr, but stupidly went back on the filthy weed, need to go again in the new yr please god, wish me luck,

  4. Good luck Betty!

    That 6 month mark can be a real hurdle! It is easy get tired of the quit. Get through that phase and you will be nearly home and hosed. The second 6 months is way easier than the first!

    Stay Strong!

  5. I feel so bad I gave up last year managed 6 months now I have fallen off the wagon since Christmas I only have 2 a day but its killing me. I feel I failed …Veronica

  6. My wife and i quit for 5 months in 2014 it was hard we both failed . trouble is im a full time carer for my mother and i have to not only buy the smokes for her but also give her only 6 smokes a day ( she will never quit ) So we always smokes there which makes the very hard Extremely hard to stop smoking . Now in 2015 both my wife are trying again i still have to buy smokes for my mother but we give the hole pack to her and thats it till the next friday . I should of mentioned in 2014 we used champix and we are using it again it seems harder than last time i get no side effects what so ever . With the frist time we tried even after 4and a half months i felt no better than the day i gave up . The erg to smoke got harder day buy day untill we both gave in and started smoking again .
    So how do we go about it this time we are at the moment 7 days quit
    Thanks for reading

  7. oh my god, i smoke too much, 25 a day. I have 2 kids. Tried to quit many times but the result is always relapse. I have precious family, I have everything most women want in their lives. The only bad habit of me is That bad smoking. Please help me how can I leave that forever, how to cope with that stress and anxiety. I really hate cigarettes but why it is still with me. It’s already 17 years I m using this shit intensively

    • Catharina says:

      I can truly sympathise with you. I quitted for four years in 2012, had a bad health experience, and have been smoking on and off since then. More on than off. My children don’t even want to talk to me about smoking “You say you’ve quit, and then a week (or 3 weeks, or 6 weeks) you’re smoking again,” they say. I realise it’s important to not beat oneself up about smoking; I got hooked at a time when smoking was still thought of OK, and that’s that. I’m aiming to stop again, and am checking myself out each time I light a cigarette. That is very off-putting for smoking enjoyment. Also, this might help the two of us: I realise that I started to spite my mother, and the poor woman has been dead for 30 years. Good luck for us!

  8. 27 year smoker. I quit for five days and then my biggest trigger, my husband seemed (could’ve just been craving so I am sure I was more irritated) to pick on me more than his usual. The lesson I learned with this failed attempt is that I need to prepare myself by accepting the fact that just because I am choosing to change doesn’t mean other people will. The world is not going to stop because I choose to quit.

    No one or nothing around me is going to change just because I choose to quit; nothing, except maybe the air quality in my immediate space.
    I am learning that it’s going to be OK. I don’t need a cigarette to get through life. Life is not that bad so if it is on my mind and heart to quit, it’s time to answer.
    Even though I was craving, it felt really good to not smoke.
    I know I can do it, I just have to keep trying.
    Thank you for this article and the comments.

  9. omg! I relapsed after 10 months for a month! Over the past 2 weeks quit 2 days, relapsed 2 days, quit 3 days, relapsed one day, quit 4 days, relapsed today, day 5. My problem has been insomnia. I quit caffeine , but after 3 days up all night freaking out and worrying and trying to relax I thought I was going crazy! At 5 am I went out for cigs and after cigs and caffeine I was all shakes and felt like crap! I’m really sick of being beat down!

  10. Hi Cameron,

    You’re a total legend, making this site, it’s great for inspiration and information and it’s cool how all the smokies and ex smokies have built it up.

    I’m 32 recently got through a month then cranked half a dozen at the pub, read this relapse article and forgave myself. Looking forward to going for six months, I wonder if I ever could? If I do, I think I’d feel like pretty good, like a squire stepping onto his own land for the first time.

    • Thanks Joram.

      It’s great to see so many quitter out there encouraging others to do the same.

      I think forgiving yourself is an important step! Learn from the experience. Personally, I recommend avoiding social triggers until you break free of the chemical withdrawals. (Allow around 6 – 12 weeks). I think do everything you can to make it easier for yourself. I covered my experience in this post if you want my take on it…


  11. Annette EdwardS says:

    I quit a week today but i had 3 fags feeling totally angry wiv my self

  12. I quit 9 days ago so I’m in the early stage. I have passed a few critical tests and expect to be confronted by more. I took a few puffs early on but tossed the cigarettes away as I can’t be around them. Thanks to this site I am monitoring myself so I’m semi-prepared for the long road ahead. I also keep a calendar journal my family can see and I refuse to lie on it. That has helped me a lot. It is early but I feel 100% committed. Each day without a cigarette is better than any day with one. I am just tired of how it imposed on my life and made me feel. Just thought I’d mention where I am this early on but I know there is much to come. Thanks to all of you for the info. It does help.

  13. At almost exactly the 1 month mark I managed to act on stress and buy a pack. I smoked 2 a day and scolded myself pretty much by thinking of the clogged cilia I learned about on this website, and really feeling my sinus getting bad again. Thankfully I read this site as I realized I can’t buy cigarettes and have them here. I think I knew it but my brain failed me. Long story short I am back to non-smoker and trying to get back to how I felt after a month of smoke free living. Strange but because I’ve read this site like crazy, I did get what I was doing so it was easier to get back on track than I thought it would be so I’m back to not smoking. I guess I’m just going to call myself a non-smoker and protect that instead of mourning giving up my old friend who brings me down, the cigarette. No one’s perfect. LOL

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