4 Ways to Make Quitting Easier if You Drink or Use Drugs

1. Stop drinking alcohol and using drugs while you quit smoking

Drinking and drug use can make it harder to quit smoking cigarettes. Some people choose to stop drinking and using drugs for as little as a week. Others stop for much longer or entirely.

2. Use quit smoking medication(s)

Medication can help make quitting smoking easier. And it can double your chances of staying quit.

Varenicline (Chantix®) or bupropion (Zyban®) are medications that stop nicotine from feeling rewarding. They can train your brain to stop craving nicotine. Another option is nicotine replacement therapy, like nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges. Nicotine replacement therapy makes nicotine cravings and withdrawal less intense. You can use one or more medications at a time. Talk to your doctor about which medications are right for you.

3. Track your triggers and replace old habits

Over time, smoking cigarettes while drinking and using drugs becomes a habit. But habits can be broken, even if you've had them for years.

  • First, take note of when, where, and who you are with when you smoke cigarettes and drink or use drugs. Pay attention to your triggers and what causes your cravings.

    Common triggers include spending time with friends who smoke, drink or use drugs, going to a bar where you used to smoke, feeling stressed, and smelling someone else's smoke.

  • Next, plan how you want to deal with these situations in the future.

4. Get support from people who care about you

Having good support on your quitting journey can make things easier. Research shows that people who have support are more successful in staying quit. Support is especially important if you’re quitting drinking or drugs at the same time.

It can help you feel less lonely and provide reassurance during difficult times. It can motivate you to stay quit. And it can help you see the bigger picture of why you want to stay quit from smoking cigarettes, drinking, and using drugs.

Support can come in many forms from many people. They might be:

Whatever the mix, it's been shown to work, and it makes quitting easier.

Quitting smoking along with drinking or drugs is hard. But this challenge can be overcome with the right strategies. No matter what your situation, you can quit for good.

What are EX Community members saying?

Quitting alcohol with cigarettes?

I was about to cave because I was drinking. I generally have a couple of cocktails every night, but it's a big trigger and I know I'd be better off giving up alcohol for now, but seems like a really radical change too.

Have any experience with quitting both together when you're addicted to both?

My first time quitting

I am also quitting daily marijuana because I don't think I can smoke without needing a cigarette as well. The same goes for alcohol. I know I'm only 4-6 days in, but I'm not having that difficult of a time when it comes to physical withdrawal. It's the emotional and psychological part for me. I don't know what to do with my time.

Resources available in the United States

findtreatment.gov logo

Get instant support and find treatment near you for mental health and substance use.

Go to https://findtreatment.gov/

Mayo Clinic Addiction & Recovery Support Group logo

The Addiction & Recovery group on Mayo Clinic Connect is a free, online support group.

Go to https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/addiction-recovery/