Lifestyle

How I Quit Smoking

June 7, 2014
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I smoked my first ever cigarette when I was sixteen, since then the habit has grown from something I did socially and fearfully hid from my mum, to a fully blown habit and a trait people use to describe me to other people. What have I learned in my six years of smoking? It’s fucking gross. Really, really gross. There’s coughing, there’s carpet tongue, there’s the hyper-awareness of what you smell like and worst of all there’s the undeniable label of being “that” person in a group of non-smokers.

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The depths to which smoking sinks into your life probably seem utterly ridiculous to non-smokers. As times gone on, smoking has become entwined with the very roots of how I function: if I want out of a social situation I’ll go smoke, if I’m restless and bored I’ll go smoke, if I want to look busy whilst in public I’ll smoke. It’s very much become a coping mechanism I use for dealing with my anxiety issues, and I am genuinely worried about having to find more challenging alternatives. By challenging I mean actually having to make an effort in conversations and to be comfortable just waiting for someone outside.

I’m not saying there isn’t anything I enjoy about the habit. It’s nice to have a cigarette after a meal, it’s nice to sit in the sun with a pint of cider and have a cig, but that’s literally it as far as positives go. Other than that it’s mostly just not being able to breathe properly, being a nuisance when out with my friends or family and spending ridiculous amounts of money on voluntarily breathing in carbon monoxide.

So, as I’m sure you’ve gathered, I’m planning to quit smoking. Since I have the willpower of a dead sloth I’ve decided to share the first couple of days on here to see if sharing my quitting experience with you guys will push me to stick to my guns.

I haven’t even properly quit yet – I still have about twelve left in my bag – and already I feel anxious and constantly want to go for a smoke. I’ve made a list of all the benefits of not smoking that I think will best motivate me:

Better Health:
After searching the internet for all of about five seconds it becomes pretty clear that quitting smoking will be immediately beneficial for my health. I’ll have better skin, whiter teeth, and a longer life.

Most importantly, I found this advertisement and it genuinely scared the shit out of me:

Extra Money:
I have always been surprisingly good with money, I’m good at saving and organising my finances and I know that if I had never started smoking I would be far better off financially than I am now. I spend about £25 a week on cigarettes, that’s £100 a month and £1200 a year. My decision to keep smoking has meant that I’ve been short on rent, it’s meant if friends want to go for a meal they almost always end up paying something towards my being able to attend, it’s meant at the moment I can’t give my mum money towards rent when she needs my support more than ever. I don’t want to be that person anymore, because I do earn enough money to get by easily at the moment as I’ve put my plans to move out on hold. The problem is all the income I do earn ends up going on cigarettes rather than on actually enjoying my life.

If I don’t spend that £25 a week on smoking I can go out for meals with my friends, I can go on dates with my boyfriend, and I can help my mum out. I can also buy all the crap that I want to buy: nice make-up, fancy nail varnish, new clothes, what I’m most looking forward to is bath bombs and body lotion for some reason. Probably because I don’t want to smell like an ashtray ever again.

I also want to save up so I can go visit April in Leeds, Jonny in Durham, Ben in London and hopefully even Rosy in Madrid. Eventually I do want to get my own place again as well, and that will be far easier if I’m not just setting fire to my money anymore.

Less Risk To And Less Of A Burden To Friends And Family:
I’ve been that dickhead who always drags people into the rain so I can smoke and makes people’s houses smell funny for the last six years. I don’t want to be that person anymore.

Most of all, I want to prove to myself that I can do it. When I went to America with my grandparents I didn’t smoke for three weeks as I hadn’t told them yet, and I was fine. I took nicotine gum with me and I didn’t even chew the entire packet. So, I don’t think it’s the chemical addiction that’s going to be my problem, it’s everything else around it.

But I can do this. It’s not that big of a deal, it’s fine. But just in case I’ve come up with plans for combatting any withdrawal issues I think I’ll face:

Cravings

  • Read ‘A Song Of Fire And Ice’ series because I’ve still got three books to go.
  • Watch stuff. Need to get Prison Break, Hannibal and Boardwalk Empire finished.
  • Write more because I suck at blogging these days.
  • Drink water or juice instead of smoking because I’m constantly dehydrated.
  • Look at the really awful anti-smoking ads because they’re terrifying.

Dealing With Stress

  • Breathe, and enjoy how much easier it is.
  • Remember that I’m doing a good thing.
  • Play on phone when anxiety flares up in public.
  • Go to the gym.

Okay. I’m going to go buy gum now so I’m prepared for when I run out of this last packet of Lamberts. Ugh. It’s like I’m going to war or something, all I’m doing is actively not being disgusting and ridiculous anymore.

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giphy-5So, it’s 1.26am and I haven’t smoked since 10am yesterday. I’ve had five pieces of nicotine gum and so far everything’s been fine except that the gum I bought tastes disgusting and it’s so strong that it irritates my throat until it physically hurts. I still have one more cig left and I am tempted to smoke it before I go to bed, because that’s usually what I would do. Don’t want to break the streak I’ve got going yet though. I’m going to go read Clash Of Kings or carry on my Prison Break marathon and hopefully I’ll fall asleep without having to chew another piece of gum-doom. Seriously, it’s awful. Bleh.

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Pokemon GIFI cannot believe I haven’t smoked for five days? The only time I’ve noticed it is when I’ve lost my way in an article and need a two minute break to collect my thoughts. Usually I’d go out for a cig, but now I drink a glass of water instead (and maybe get a new piece of gum occasionally). Speaking of the gum, there is no way that people can blame going back to smoking on the nicotine cravings with that stuff knocking about. As I said a couple of days ago, those tiny bits of chewy are insanely strong and completely eliminate cravings. And taste buds. And maybe some brain cells.

My mood has also remained pretty stable throughout the last couple of days. I was convinced I’d end up being irritable and awful to be around because I usually am if I go more than three hours without a cigarette, but I’ve been absolutely fine. In fact, I was watching videos of my brother and I when we were little the other day as we put them all onto discs, and I looked at the little girl that I used to be and I felt genuinely heartbroken that I’d damaged her by smoking. It was really odd, especially since I’m still very much in complete denial about the reality and dangers of smoking.

I think my phase of being actively self-destructive is coming to an end now. I want to look after myself, I even got my hands on some raw virgin coconut oil as I read that was good for you. It’s good. I’m happy and in just five days I feel a hell of a lot healthier than I’ve been in a long time.

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It’s officially been two weeks since I smoked a cigarette. That said, I may have started smoking my E-Cigarette whilst drinking one night and stayed on that for a couple of days, so I’m having to wind down on nicotine gum again.

But, 14 days! The longest I’ve gone without smoking over the last six years has been three weeks, which I did when I went to live in my uncle’s beach house in New Jersey for a month. That seemed remarkably easier than this has been, but that’s because here I’m just at home where I would usually smoke a lot.

I have had a few emotional and anxiety-based issues throughout the last week. Since beginning my medication back in November I haven’t had many episode-y time things all clustered together, but throughout the last few days I’ve been struggling a bit more so I’m assuming that has a lot do to with wheening my body off of something that’s been a constant for a long time. It’s not great, particularly since it’s my anxiety that’s been the main issue but when I feel calmer I simply remind myself that I’m doing something for myself that is great and positive.

I don’t regret stopping smoking at all, I feel wonderful and I wake up everyday feeling physically healthier than I have in years. In fact, im’ma look at one of those not-smoking timeline thingies and see what’s improved about my health over the last fortnight to cheer myself up:

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What I need to do now is actually stop putting nicotine in my system, which I know will be pretty difficult. Ugh.

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It’s been over two months and almost 9 weeks since I last smoked, and at least six of those weeks have been completely nicotine free!

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I do get cravings every so often – especially when I go out drinking and there are other people smoking – but it’s still very much because I miss the habits associated around smoking. Smoking is unhealthy, disgusting, and smelly but there’s no denying that it’s a good time. Sigh.

Anywho, I have noticed that I seem to have replaced smoking with drinking peppermint tea, and I’m beginning to think that maybe I have an addictive personality, but look at the health benefits of peppermint tea:

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Overall, I feel a hell of a lot healthier and I barely even think about smoking anymore. I got dis.

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