Seven Years

The continuing ramblings of a former smoker.

Well, it’s been another year, that’s seven now but I’m a bit rubbish at remembering my anniversary.

.. so, has anything new happened apart from my increasingly sporadic posts?

Well yes, I was 15 stone in June and I'm 11 stone 12lb now...yayyyy... Nowt to do with smoking I know but still an achievement...

I’m a bit under pressure of work at the mo to write a deep and meaningful tome so I’ve reproduced an earlier one, that someone was very appreciative of, in the hope that it may help another.

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Is quitting hard...?

It’s truthfully only as hard as you intend to make it.

Being scared too is a bit like fear of the unknown. Once you really know what you face then it becomes easier to deal with it.

You can make it far easier once you really understand why you smoked.

Slowly but surely the world will wake up to realise this sad, but never the less true, fact. It’s easier to quit when you know why you smoke and you don’t really smoke for nicotine.

If you believe you’re a nicotine addict and you’re going to suffer when you quit then it won’t come as a surprise then if you quit and suffer.

If you think back to when you were a smoker I’m sure there were some cigarettes that you really smoked from tip to filter and others that burnt away in ash-trays or others you were keen to put out, ones that you forgot you were smoking or ones you lit up within minutes of putting one out. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll very quickly realise that very few fags were smoked to satisfy any craving for nicotine. Most fags just filled little holes in our lives, hid social embarrassment and eased a little boredom. Admittedly some were smoked to replenish your nicotine levels but the number was very few. (and a quitter can top up their nicotine levels easily these days)

Sure, there’s summat in tobacco that physically effects us so that when we stop there are physical side-effects but minimising those effects are not the reason we smoked. Like standing on a drawing pin and then having to remove it or taking off a plaster you have to tolerate a small amount of pain to get better and the fact that we’ve conditioned ourselves to tolerate a level of poison in our system means it’s slightly uncomfortable when we stop.

That physical discomfort however can be pretty much erased over the course of a long weekend.

That is fact. Your bond with nicotine is that feeble. The addiction you think you have is merely a level of poison flowing through your system. Unlike many true addictions you can just cease your intake at any point and suffer nothing more than a minor physical reaction. There’s no need to crawl the walls or suffer. The mental withdrawal is the bit you need to prepare for.

The small print for all the smoking cessation stuff, requires willpower, is the bit that really matters and the more you appreciate the futility of smoking the less willpower you actually need. Willpower isn't gritting your teeth and dragging yourself through it but it's like that bit in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he makes the 'leap of faith' over the chasm. Bowel looseningly scary unless you know there's a bridge under your feet!

Stopping our compulsive habit can take years to achieve and that is pretty much what we battle with from day 3 onwards. That’s what taps us on the shoulder when we’re drunk or calls at us from the shelves in the newsagent when we’re stressed, it’s not nicotine. Lying in the continental sun with a beer in one hand just needs the balancing fag in the other but it’s not nicotine that wants the equation balanced, it’s just your head.

It’s easy to keep smoking when you can blame a fictitious cause and easier to justify a slip too. Once you accept that smoking just fills little holes in our lives, and they’re holes that we create, it’s far easier to find something else to plug the holes or even eradicate them altogether.

Cold Turkey quitting is straightforward and well documented, don’t be scared.

You stop, suffer a weekend of feeling niggled, a week or two of flu like feelings and then a weird but constant feeling like something's missing out of your life for a few months as you get to grips with thinking you should be doing something else and it turns out the ‘something else’ is just the smoking you're missing.

Yes the first weekend can be unpleasant but, and it’s a massively important but, the other quitters, on whatever drugs they choose to help, suffer the same unpleasantness or worse. Once your blood / oxygen levels increase you end up with a regular spaced-out feeling and bizarre dreams for a week or two. Expect them and they cease to be scary or an excuse for relapse.

You will never be free until you accept that you had a nasty compulsive habit and the cure is already inside you. Educate yourself and flick your internal smoking switch to off. Support, advice and experience are the tools you need and there’s a big chunk of that here.

Don’t be afraid, jump in, the water is simply divine.

3 Replies

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  • Good to see you again Austin. Thanks for sharing and many congratuoations- as always- on your mighty quit; Additional congratulations on your weight loss too. Well done you!! :D

  • Congrats Austin, tis a stroll in the park now, is it not.

  • Keep going, you should be over the worst soon.

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