I have always been good at giving up quite easily, throwing myself into my next dream or goal – getting distracted and moving onto something new before really fully committing. The whole “Don’t Quit” thing has never resonated with me.
Up until now.
It’s been years that smoking has been my bad habit, but as I told everyone, “I enjoy it, I smoke because I love it and I can quit when I want to, whenever I want to, I just don’t want to right now”
There was a time when that was partly true, and I would go days without a cigarette. But sometime in the last 8 years it’s crept up on me. I knew the truth, I didn’t want to quit because I didn’t think I actually could. And with all the regular day to day stresses, who needs the additional hassle of cutting out something that makes you so happy?
“And I don’t smoke THAT much anyway”
You don’t realise the hold this addiction has over you until you try to quit. Even just thinking about quitting…. and putting it off… and putting it off… and putting it off. Wasting your hard-earned cash on just one more box of de-stressing, anti-anxiety-filled, everything-is-clearer, now-I-can focus happiness. It’s instant gratification & simply magic!
Well… Those little skinny-ass-white-buggers are powerful. This I know for sure. I underestimated my addiction and overestimated myself.
The panic kicked in at 9am on DAY 1:
I had had my last cigarette the previous afternoon at 4pm and it was the shortest cigarette in history. It just got inhaled. Evaporated. In seconds it felt like. By my first break at work at 10.40am I locked myself in my classroom, stuffing my face with MSG packed corn snacks, crying, confiding in a friend who had luckily (for me) popped in for a visit, not so lucky for her as she had no idea what she was walking into. Because what came out of my mouth was truly alarming…even for me who’s not very easily alarmed.
I recall tears streaming down my face, “I feel like I’ve lost my best friend” I sobbed.
The combination of shock, sympathy and amusement in her eyes is an expression I won’t easily forget.
She couldn’t believe how desperate I was.
I was also scaring myself.
“I feel like a real drug addict!!!
….I am a real drug addict!!!
I thought this would be tough
but I had no idea it would be THIS hard
IT’S ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT!!!!
I don’t know how I am going to do this. . .
I just need to get through TODAY”
I got through a few days, had a little weekend drunken slip up, but got back on the horse for another few days before I scrambled around to find the box I had hidden from myself. “I think I need to go to rehab to kick this. Do people do rehab for nicotine?”
Anxiety related to never having one again or disappointing others and myself led to me wanting another one to refocus my mind on quitting. Great plan right?
The first time in my life my subconscious said to me “DON’T QUIT! Don’t give up something you love”
Oh nicotine, I hate loving you!
My nicotine craving has developed a face AND a full blown smart-ass-obnoxious personality. This little monster convinces you that just one more IS okay, that you DESERVE just one more, you DEFINITELY DON’T deserve the pain and agony associated with denying yourself such a simple pleasure.
“Stop punishing yourself now, this is silly. There is no need to quit. At least, not today.”
Oh nicotine, you little piece of shit!
There is nothing anyone can tell you to make you make these kinds of decisions. Yes, someone can motivate and inspire you to take action, but when that little monster is messing with your mind – it is YOU, and ONLY you, your will, your need, your strength, commitment and determination that will hold on for just 5 more minutes, a few more hours, and eventually another day…. Or week. Like me.
No one can tell you how to handle the process, whether you should eat anything that stands still long enough, drink loads of water, take copious amounts of long baths, nap, exercise, pretend to smoke pens or straws, do breathing techniques, sing, scream, screw, talk to someone who has been through the same thing … or not.
It’s your choice, your struggle and eventually your success story and advice to the next poor human making up new excuses not to free themselves from the hold.
Because the beauty is that it DOES get better, it DOES get easier, you start laughing at the voice in your head that tells you “DON’T quit” – you remove yourself from being at nicotines mercy and begin to resent it and it’s gradually diminishing power.
I never planned on letting this habit control me, I claim to not have an addictive personality.
Addiction sneaks up on the best of us. I am also committed to not being a smoker past the age of 30. So I have a year to smoke my heart out. But why put it off?