Tuesday, May 29, 2007

When the smoking stops

It can be so hard saying goodbye to something you care about, even though you know your continued reliance upon it is doing you no good at all. But sometimes you just have to bite the bullet; accordingly, a year ago today, I ended my love affair with smoking.

It was a passionate affair. I was not a hobby smoker; rather I was, as a former colleague described it, “hardcore”. Lighting up was usually the first thing I did on waking, the last thing before I went to sleep.

“It’s easy to stop smoking,” I’d tell people, “I’ve done it dozens of times.” My previous best was three months and even that was interspersed with cheating: I wasn’t really smoking if someone gave me the cigarette, I wasn’t really smoking if I had a drink in my hand, I wasn’t really smoking if it was after 6pm on a Friday …

Most attempts ended in ill humour after a couple of days. There was always something to be stressed about that necessitated a fag or there was always something important that needed to be done. Oh, I fully intended to stop: just not yet.

I tried willpower, patches, lozenges, chewing gum (it upset my stomach), I read books by anti-smoking gurus and winced at public health adverts with yuck oozing out of a lit cigarette. Nothing worked. Not until a friend at the stables – an even more hardcore smoker than me – managed to kick the habit. Her secret? An inhalator.

Puffing away on a little plastic pretend cigarette loaded with a nicotine and menthol cartridge might not look cool, but it worked for me. I could do it at my desk, in the car, in the bath, in bed. And I did. Until three weeks in, I lost my little plastic lifesaver. I was distraught, convinced that I couldn’t manage without it.

I did though… and now I’m free.


21 comments:

muddyboots said...

well done kicking the habit, can l just say that there is nothing worse than being talked to by a smoker, the smell is *******.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Well done You! I'm a reformed a smoker also and I think we're the worst for complaining about other people's smoke. I realised it's smelly, unhealthy, unsociable and bloody expensive!

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Well done! I'm always on at David to stop smoking (although do love the smell of cigars) because I worry about his health....also I can't get it into my head why anyone would want to suck on a hot, smelly tube of something they've just set light to! but then, as David also says, "you can't say that because you've never done it".

there's logic in there somewhere.

thejunkyswife said...

I like the opening sentence so very much, and I can relate! It's strange how attached we get to our self-destructive habits. I still romanticize my using days, and I'm constantly talking to my husband about how he romanticized his heroin use...he talks about how beautiful it would be when the blood would come up in the needle indicating that he'd found a vein...freaky things like that....Congrats on kicking the habit, though!

mountainear said...

Well done you. Happy anniversary.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Star bird M&M, that's quite a milestone. Couldn't you have bought another inhalator? Smoking is so seductive...I was never hooked, but will occasionally succumb when under enough stress and in the company of smokers...i smoked my way up the himalayas!
Pigx

@themill said...

The smokers tampax - must give it a try!

lady macleod said...

Well done! I went through that little sortie as well. I remember a year or so later a friend ask, "Do you miss smoking?"

I smiled and said, "You never smoked did you?"

I still allow myself the occasional cigar.

Sarnia said...

Wow! A year! Well done!

I am puffing away on the inhalator as I type - (it does look like a lil-let doesn't it?) and find that I am using that more since I stopped using the patches. However, I don't use more than two or three nicotine cartridges a day.

It is nearly four months since I had my last puff on a fag. Like you, I miss it (I was an extremely heavy smoker for many years - and I mean well over 40 a day) and this is the first (and last) time that I "give up".

I remember you mentioning the day you stopped (on a blog entry of mine about stopping) and wondered if you'd mark the one year anniversary - glad you did!

I still love the smell though - hopefully, in time, I'll grow to hate it.

rilly super said...

M&M, it is easy to see what your displacement activity is dear, as I'm sure at this rate you will soon be up to 40 blog posts a day. I am finding it hard to keep up so are there any plans for a podcast version that I can put on Milly's ipod and listen to during school parents evenings?

The Grocer said...

Congratulations on getting through the first year but don't get complacent I did two years and went back ( I am currently on Day 277 this time), it is a little like being an alcoholic each day needs to be traversed on it's own.

Mopsa said...

fantastic achievement and ghastly, ghastly mortality wrecking habit. The Grey beauty can hold onto you for many more years now.

Stay at home dad said...

Very well done M&M. It'll be easier come July I imagine...

jenny said...

Happy Anniversary to you!
I keep bumping into you on comments elsewhere so
i have popped by for a look-see.
I'll be adding you to my links, and please take that as a compliment! You have a lovely way of writing.

Omega Mum said...

I was once the world expert in giving up - until I walked up a shortish flight of steps and it made my chest hurt. I stopped - for good - that day. Well done you.

Brom said...

Cograts from me too. I've never been tempted, quite the reverse - YUK!

ziggi said...

Oh well done you! That's a hell of an achievement.

(I've bought a horsey!)

mutterings and meanderings said...

Thank you all for your kind wishes! I do feel rather proud ...

bah hymbug Grocer, I am not complacent but I'm not starting again because A. I can't afford it and B. I could not bear to have to go through the whole stopping thing ever again...

Jenny, thank you..

Ziggi -- I need horse information!!

Orhan Kahn said...

I just gave up smoking again two days ago. I've never really been a hardcore smoker, even when I was smoking more regularly years ago. Filthy, filthy habit.

Karen said...

I have never smoked a cigarette but I have tried to smoke something else but thought it was horrible and wondered how anyone can do it repeatedly.

There is nothing worse than smelly clothes and ashtray breath.

Vince has pretty much stopped smoking but will lapse when around smokers. Fortunately we don't know many of them. I would sulk massively if he ever started smoking 'properly' again.

Gill said...

Urgh I agree Karen- how can anyone stand that hot feeling in their lungs- it makes me want to throw up! But well done eminem- it is a really hard thing to do I know, after seeing my husband struggle with it. It should get easier when the ban on smoking in public places come into force-less temptation!