And the moral of the story is…

Today, I have reached the one year, three hundred days mark since I stopped smoking.

Pretty cool, right?

Yes, but here's what floors me. Yesterday I had an urge to smoke that was remarkably strong. Took me probably an hour before I forgot about it.

But it was real. I really, really wanted to smoke a cigarette. I handled it the way I always do these days - I focused on something else, and I laughed at it, and I embraced and accepted that it was a real urge.

I would love to come here and tell all the newbies that once you reach a certain point in your quit, it's all over and you will never, never want another cigarette. I would love to do that, but I would be lying.

I think the moral of the story is that you can become an ex-smoker, but you can't become a non-smoker. What does that mean? It means that from time to time, long after you've quit, you're going to have a craving and you're going to want to light up.

The good news is these craves are FEW and FAR between, and they are easily managed. But they do happen and we must forever stay vigilant.

I had to laugh at how quickly I fell into some old stinkin' thinkin'. "What's one after all this time? How much harm could one cigarette do? After all, I'm all over it!"

Duh. Not so fast, Grasshopper.

If you're a newbie, please don't be discouraged - but do be honest with yourself. You smoked for a long time, and one of the rarely mentioned consequences is that you will have the (very) occasional urge once in a while for the rest of your life. But again, you can deal with it. That's something non-smokers never have. Just we ex-smokers do.

Just don't expect to never have to use the tools and techniques and skills you learned when you quit way back when. Keep them handy.

Oh, and Happy New Year by the way!

3 Replies

  • Very wise words DGee, which I shall take on board.

    And many congratulations by the way :)

  • ...Yes, but here's what floors me. Yesterday I had an urge to smoke that was remarkably strong. Took me probably an hour before I forgot about it...

    I think it's like riding a bike. It may be an old cliché but it's actually true; you never forget how to ride a bike. After years not riding we may wobble a bit but it only takes a few yards and we're off and riding again.

    Our subconscious remembers how to ride, how to swim and how to drive a car despite lengthy periods of abstinence.

    I reckon it's exactly the same with smoking.

    Deep down we will always remember it and at points in our future non-smoking life it will rise to the surface in response to a subconscious trigger.

    On the flip side these urges are sporadic and easily vanquished! :)

  • You can stop being a smoker, but you can never stop being an addict - you can only choose to feed the addiction or not.

    That's why if I were forced to choose a label I'd go with the term ex-smoker rather than non-smoker, not that I find thinking in those terms particularly helpful - I'm just someone who doesn't smoke.

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