Overcoming Your Quitter’s Remorse.

Lady remorseful about quitting smoking.If you have ever attempted to quit smoking, there is a good chance you’re familiar with the notion of quitter’s remorse. You may recognize it as the occasional feeling of regret we have over making the decision to quit smoking and cause ourselves to suffer the healing process.


It is a feeling that leads us to envy those care free smokers, happily feeding their addiction without a worry in the world.

The remorse will often come after recalling what it was like to NOT bear the struggle that comes with quitting smoking. It is a feeling that leads us to envy those care free smokers, happily feeding their addiction without a worry in the world and no commitment to live up to.

Quitter’s remorse, I would say, is one of the biggest influences for relapse outside of the chemical dependency to nicotine.


Because the junkie brain feeds off it. It uses our fear and our doubt against us. If unrecognized, quitter’s remorse can lead a quitter to forget just how utterly crap being an addict actually was.

So, how do we overcome it?

The first step is having a greater awareness. Being able to recognise your junkie brain and its remorse over quitting, enables you to actively fight against it, and in turn, overpower it. If you are mentally prepared when the junkie brain strikes, you can quickly rationalise your way to a different perspective.

Consider using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help achieve this.

Another angle of attack is to build your quit smoking campaign around a genuine desire to live a life free from nicotine addiction; rather than the avoidance of long term health consequences.

Learn as much as you can about your addiction! Once you understand it you can believe with confidence, all those feelings of remorse will quickly pass and eventually disappear. You will come to understand those feelings of loss or nagging regrets are completely influenced by the addiction and not your rational self.

In time you will become sympathetic toward smokers, rather than envious. You will see the addict before you see the smoker.

It also pays to remind yourself that smokers are almost always envious of ex smokers. Smokers often feel helplessly trapped by their addiction and hold little hope of quitting. I remember thinking that way as an addict.

At the end of the day, if you are in the middle of a quit campaign and find yourself feeling remorseful, ask yourself, which do you want to be;

hopeful or hopeless.



  1. annette smith says:

    i remember after aweek -ten days thinking “are you really sure you want to quit ?…if you quit for much longer that first cigarette will make you feel ill… do you really want to put yourself thro that ?”. i tussled with these thoughts for a few days, it was an on going argument my brain was having….. very strange feeling as felt “some-one else” was in my head, and wondered if i had become …..”unhinged” and needed putting into a funny farm…but like ALL the side effects i suffered, eventually passed, and when they do its another big achievement felt.

  2. I look back now and wonder who that other person was as well 🙂

    I think a lot of ex smokers feel the same way!

  3. Amy Brinkley says:

    I’m 10-11 days cold turkey now and for the past couple of days I have been thinking “I’m not sure i really wanted to do this, why did I choose now?” We’ll I’m 35, started smoking at 13 and with the exceptions of my pregnancys and a few months after their births I have been a smoker. I’m sick of buying them, sick of my kids riding my a** about quitting, just tired of it all….tired of a cigarette controlling my life. I know if I don’t make this work there is a good chance I will not see all my kids graduate, get married, or enjoy my grandkids. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who has had this quitters remorse, I have been feeling almost guilty for feeling this way. I also envy my friends who are social smokers, I realize now that they are addicted too, they are just in denial with their addiction. I’m so happy I found your website, it has given me strength when I needed it the most.

  4. Ubaida almoufti says:

    What is the cold turkey?

  5. HarriettUK says:

    I’m 7 days into my second (and hopefully last) attempt at quitting after 16 years of smoking. I’m really starting to feel the quitters remorse – “life was so much better when I smoked, I was so much happier etc etc” but I know that this is just deceptive nostalgia creeping in. It’s kind of like when you break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, at first you feel free and then later you remember only the good things when you realise that being on your own comes with its own challenges. Quitting smoking is a break up and I was in a relationship with nicotine for 16 years (my longest relationship ever!). I am however determined not to go back to smoking, if only not to have to put myself through this all over again!!!

  6. I’ve been on the nicotine patch for 9 days. I’ve been feeling remorse too. My biggest fear now is dropping to a lower dose because I haven’t had many withdrawl symptoms. I’m convinced it’s because I’m still getting nicotine. I have felt like crap the last couple days, sore throat, headache, body aches…but I’m not giving in!! Just needed to vent…
    Good luck everyone!!

  7. Lorie Ann says:

    DAY 40
    I’ve been feeling remorseful for about 2 weeks I’d say. My reasons are just daily stressors or life’s stressors. Seems as if I’m getting more than my share lately-especially since quitting smoking 🙁
    Part of me is envious of smokers . The addicted mind plays tricks on you. I think about the last cigarette I had and if I truly made the most of it?
    I want to smoke during stress but I don’t need to-if that makes sense?
    Ok here’s a list for ya-
    What I hated about smoking;
    The smell
    Time consuming
    Planned around it
    Ruled my days/life
    Guilty smoker(bought pack a day)
    Reward myself in between chores with cig.
    Embarrassed about it
    Constantly washing my hands, face, loaded perfume
    #1 Reason why I do not want to actually smoke a cigarette
    Nicotine is a drug! I definitely believe that now! I wouldn’t say I didn’t believe it before I just never realized what a crazy addition this is and I’ve been doing it a long time.
    My Withdrawal sucked!
    I had and am having like the withdrawal systems textbook style- all I have to do is read what’s going to happen next!
    I also run- simple 5ks more for pleasure and just enjoy it-
    I was pretty excited and scared to run the first time since quitting and boy was I in for an unpleasant surprise ?
    After just a few min. My throat felt like it was on FIRE! By the time I was back home which was maybe 15 min. Later I’d swear I was having an asthma attack and my throat was acting 50 shades of crazy!
    What the heck is up with this now-?
    More reading in my near future lol
    YES it hurt really REALLY bad! When I smoked that wasn’t even there. Even now it’s not there. There’s never been any weasing in my voice or hack or smokers cough.
    My truth about quitting smoking 🙂
    Hope you all are doing GREAT!
    Occupy that mind!

  8. Hi , I’m day 5 on patches and really struggling atm! I feel like breaking down into tears . I too rewarded myself with a cigarette every time I did a chore. I keep thinking now that I know it can be done maybe I can just give up next year instead etc ?. One thing has to be said though , I feel so much healthier and have lost weight as I’m going for long walks to keep my mind busy . I’m 40 years old and have a 16yr old and a 10mth old and really want to be a better example . I’m quite nervous of ever having a drink (alcohol) again as I associate the 2 together ?! Trying to stay strong, good luck everyone ?

  9. I offer another, very good reason to quit. I have liver cancer and am required to quit before I can be activated for a liver transplant. I also have a neighbor that is required to stop smoking before she can have back surgery. She hasn’t made that commitment yet and I have. After studying the addiction and cessation process, I am very certain I am very near the last cigarette puff. I believe I have conquered the part about the brain decreasing the need for nicotine. Almost there. This morning was the worst for me. I had very bad headaches(migraines)yesterday and last night. Was sick to my stomach this morning. I think it was a last ditch effort for my addiction to force me back to smoking. After studying the process, I think I have won or am very close to winning. Good luck to everyone.

    • One of the reasons I quit was I was suffering from concussion side effects and felt so bad I quit to feel better at least a little and thought if your brain is trying to heal I stand a better chance without the multitude of chemicals in cigarettes. Only thing I never heard of smokers flu and have it bad but no regrets. There is something I want to tell you when you hear cancer it strikes the most horrible fear I can think of but I think this is especially true because bad news always travels fast and good news doesn’t I don’t know why like I know five people that have had cancer and are fine some had it twenty five yrs ago and are like seventy eight some of the people I work with and didn’t know it till it came up and they told me oh yea I had stomach cancer ten yrs ago . I guess what I’m trying to tell you is if I know five people how many other people know five people that are fine but because it’s good news it doesn’t get spread or travel like the bad news does . Do you know in physio how many are in there for types of bone cancer and now they are recovering and strengthening there backs three that I know of where I go and they are not part of the long term ones I know of. So hang in there kick the habit and get fixed and get better.

  10. I am almost at my 7 week nonsmoking mark (cold turkey quitter) and I have fleeting moments of smoker’s remorse. I am finding that now that I have quit, I like the smell of cigarette smoke and it makes me want to smoke, but the craving does pass after a couple of minutes. I miss smoking, I think, bcas it is like the death of a best friend. I mean, when I was stressed, I’d smoke; sad, smoke; happy, smoke; phone rings, smoke; time to drive, smoke; – coping with life experiences literally began each time with me AND my BFF, Cig. So now, it is a huge adjustment on a daily basis to do these things alone without my buddy Cig. It makes me want to ‘smoke for old times sake’ or smoke just to get some feeling that I am not even sure I would feel if I smoked…. I feel like I am a different person now that I quit, and I guess part of me has remorse and wants to smoke to get back a little piece of the past me. I also liked smoking. I hated being a smoker, but I enjoyed smoking, so there is that draw…. but I am staying strong! When I feel especially weak, I come here, read some stories and sometimes share my own. It helps. Stay stronger my fellow quitters!! We are stronger than the addiction.

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