“You’ll never quit”.
That’s what my friends used to say to me, I was always the one that everyone just accepted was going to be a smoker forever. I’d go through bouts of quitting like everyone else, but no one ever truly believed that it was going to be for good. Least of all me. That right there was my biggest problem. Why would anyone else believe me when I told them I was going to quit if I couldn’t believe myself when I said it? It’s now been twelve weeks since I had my last cigarette and I have never been more sure about anything than I am about the fact that I’ve had my last ever cigarette and that part of my life is now over.
I never really realised how much being a smoker impacted my life. As a smoker I would always think of the seemingly positive things that I associated with the addiction, rather than the things that I was sacrificing by feeding my addiction.
“There’s nothing more enjoyable than finishing work, having a drink and smoking a cigarette.”
That’s what I used to tell myself. I can now tell that myself that there is something more enjoyable – finishing work, having a drink and smoking a cigarette being the furthest thing from your mind.
I am no longer dependent on poison to get through my day.
I no longer wake up every morning feeling as if there has been an iron weight laid on my chest all night.
I no longer wonder whether there are going to be any other smokers at social functions and how I will be perceived if I am the only one there who wants to have a cigarette.
I no longer worry that I am spending copious amounts of money on undoubtedly shortening my life span.
I no longer smell of cigarettes.
That last one was one that I didn’t truly even realise was a problem. I never truly registered how much I must have smelt of cigarettes until I stopped smoking them. As a smoker, you don’t notice the smell on anyone else, least of all yourself. It’s there though, the sweet but sickly aroma of addiction. I smell it now on those around me that smoke. A whiff will pass my nostrils and my first action will be immediately to inhale it in filling my nose with the scent, instantly regretful of my automatic reaction to draw in the smell. Then, stomach turning and repulsion. How could I have not noticed? How were people able to put up with me? Are my olfactory senses more receptive to this particular smell than someone who was never a slave to the addiction?
The biggest mind shift for me was to realise that I wasn’t actually giving anything up and that by stopping smoking I was gaining far more than I was quitting. [Begin Plug] Truth be told I read a book called Easyway by Allen Carr, which led me down the perspective change and helped me to understand that I wasn’t quitting. I wasn’t going to spend every day of my life telling myself that I couldn’t have something that I wanted to have – because it doesn’t matter how much you may have told yourself you enjoy smoking, or it helps your stress there is no person that really wants to be a smoker.
Many smokers will argue that point, I’m not going to elaborate now, but if you want to understand what that means – and in my opinion come to the same conclusion – do yourself a favour and read the book. [End Plug] I have however, turned into one of those preachy converted smoker types. The worst ex-smoker of all ex-smokers, the type that smokers hate, the type that tell you smoking is stupid and you should just stop. Well. You should.
Before I stopped I was smoking 20 cigarettes a day, sleeping 6 hours a night, eating terribly and skipping meals. It wasn’t a conscious mind shift to move away from all these bad habits at once, I believe that they were all linked and being held together by the crux of all my bad habits – smoking.
Now, 20 cigarettes a day less, $100 a week richer, eating 3 meals a day, frequenting the gym and having regular, solid sleep (again I never realised how poorly I slept until I slept well after stopping smoking) I feel the most refreshed and healthy I can ever remember feeling.
I wouldn’t have believed that version of me either, the one who told my friends he was going to quit smoking.
“You’ll never quit.”
Well, I have. I wouldn’t have believed me either when I used to say I was going to quit.
“Yeah sure”, I would have said too, just like my friends.
This time is different. This time I don’t need cigarettes or anything else to get me through stressful periods, or boost my confidence or entertain my boredom.
This time I believe me.