It has been one month, nineteen days, five hours and twenty-nine minutes since my last cigarette. I cannot tell you how difficult it has been for me to kick this nasty habit. It really has been a roller coaster of ups and downs and I thought I’d share some of my experiences and struggles with you guys since I made this important decision in my life and also pass on some useful tips that helped me during the first few weeks.
I have been smoking cigarettes since I was around 14 and if there is one thing that I regret from my teenage years, that would most definitely be it. Back then I was a foolish kid who would pretty much try anything just to feel accepted into a group. Nobody tries smoking for the first time for a buzz because cigarettes are not about the buzz. We try it to show off to our buddies or to look cool in front of our high school crush. Sadly for some reason, its almost as if smoking is a metaphorical gateway from childhood to adulthood for some young people. Kids see their parents smoking, the very figures whom they idolise and so follow suit. And then the parents have the audacity to get angry when they find out. It is indeed a vicious cycle that somehow we need to break. But how?
I was a suburban kid living in South East London who just wasn’t aware of the hold this habit would take over my life. Before starting, all of us are well aware that cigarettes are addictive. It was hammered into the brains of my generation since we learned how ride a bike. But there was still a voice in the back of my mind was assuring me that I was the exception. Because I was so young and naive, it never occurred to me that addiction doesn’t just happen overnight. After trying a couple and not feeling addicted I would feel safe to have another… and another. Before I knew it, I had finished a whole pack and asking anyone over 18 to buy them for me.
For many years thereafter, I had no intentions of quitting. At the time, it wasn’t affecting me in ways that I personally considered detrimental to my health. It was taking up my money and my time but at that age those were not good enough reasons for me to quit. I was a rampant young teenager who just wanted to party and do what I wanted. As I started to get older, the desire to give up became stronger and stronger but unfortunately so did the addiction. It wasn’t until the age of 22 that I first attempted to take the plunge and I actually did pretty well. I gave up for four months before giving into temptation one drunken night at a gay bar. I have always envied those friends who claim to be social smokers. Come on, we all know one. I’m sorry but I just don’t get how anyone could be anything but a smoker or a non-smoker. Anyway, after relapsing, I actually tried to class myself as a social smoker. I was blissfully unaware however that the number of cigarettes I was consuming each day were gradually increasing. Before I knew it I was back to square one. One thing I have learned is that for me, it really is all or nothing and no in-between.
This time around I have gone completely cold turkey. I decided on New Year’s Day that enough was enough and so discarded my remaining cigarettes. I’m fully aware it may sound like the most cliché New Year’s Resolution after weight loss but I really felt optimistic about it. I like to think of myself as a determined guy and when I put my mind to something I really do put in my all. Quitting smoking without any cessation aids wasn’t exactly a walk in the park but in all honesty, I do think it is the very best chance you have if you want to kick your habit. Please don’t get me wrong, some days I wanted to pull out my own hair. The thought alone of a cigarette would trigger a craving. I can’t sit here and lie to you saying it’s easy because if it were so, honey everyone would do it.
Let me give you a few tips if your planning on quitting. One thing that helps me during an intense craving is water. Oh yes, water is your new best friend. Every time you feel the need to smoke, drink a full glass of water-even if you’re not thirsty. Trust me, it works. Try fiddling with something long (no pun intended) like a pen or pencil to mimic the actions of smoking too. Remember that a real craving (you’ll know when you’re having one) should only last around two minutes despite it feeling like hours.
One huge boost that aids many to stay quit are those little reminders of the positive change to one’s life after quitting. These can be things like improved health, saving money and nicer breath for example. What helps me on the other hand, is recalling all those little annoyances only a smoker understands. Let me elaborate. Just today I was waiting at the bus stop and a young lad standing next to me was attempting to make a roll-up in what can only be described as a rain storm. Oh the struggle was real… one drop of rain and your paper is ruined. Or when you’re so broke that you literally have to choose between lunch and a pack of cigarettes and the latter would always win. And how can I forget the endless coughing?
SO my friends, if you have the urge to give up your nasty habit then I applaud you for taking the first step. I hope some of my points have given you an alternative insight into smoking cessation! Just take it one day at a time and keep remembering all the reasons you have to quit. I believe in you!
Please feel free to comment your opinions…