Monday, November 10, 2008

Stop smoking.

I can't explain how genuinely overjoyed I am to hear that another person is kicking that vile habit, smoking. But huzzah to Manuel for joining the ranks of the free. Medbh too has freed herself from the grips of the evil weed and if anyone is reading this and puffing a fag at the same time, but are thinking of giving up, well, there's really no time like the present.
It seems a daunting prospect to not smoke, but it is and it isn't. Nicotine as a drug is actually pretty mild. Nothing terrible happens to your body when you don't smoke. You won't fall down, your heart will not stop, you won't have night terrors, you will be perfectly capable of functioning in any physical capacity. In fact, your body will be fighting hard to rid itself of all the muck and filth smoking has introduced it to. Bodies are great that way, given a bit of encouragement they are the little engines that could.
No, the real battle with not smoking is mental, and here you can help yourself along most brilliantly.
I've posted this before but I'll do it again, if there seems an element of 'woo' to what I'm saying I can assure you there is not. Nothing mystical about it, just simple visualisation and a smidge of determination. No will power required. Will power suggests you are denying yourself something and that can be very difficult when stopping smoking or any habit- the idea that you are suffering for your cause when in fact you are not, you are freeing yourself. With a little bit of rewiring the hardrive that is your brain, you can stop smoking pretty painlessly and stay off them forever.
A particular image helped me immensely when I stopped smoking almost 6 years ago. I read the Allen Carr book, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking and found almost everything he had to say on the subject relevant and head smackingly obvious. Two days after reading his book I quit, there were eve seven or eight cigarettes left in the box when I did so, I threw those out a few weeks later.
Anyway, in the book Carr describes the longing for a cigarette most smokers feel within an hour of giving up as a dragon living within your body. This little dragon- and I could imagine it perfectly, all green and red scales but with the stompy grouchiness of a teenager-is loud and vocal because it is strong and well fed. It lives on nicotine and you've been feeding it well and regularly over the years so that now it's quite strong and full of itself. A smoky brat of tantrums and demands.
When you give up smoking you deprive this little shit of a few square meals and in retaliation it will kick up blue bloody murder. It does this by attacking you in the only way it knows how, mentally.
It will kick up in the morning 'But you ALWAYS HAVE ONE with coffee.' Throughout the day, 'You've been working so hard, you DESERVE one!!' or "That person was so RUDE to you, have a smoke to calm down.' In the evening, 'Phew you must be tired, have a drink and a smoke to relax' In traffic jams, 'This is annoying isn't it? have a smoke to take your mind off it.'
And so on...this little Iago is a liar and a fraud and in the earliest days will be hungry and increasingly desperate. But I know something that it doesn't want you to know. And that is that the little shit is not nearly as strong as it likes to think it is.
The moment you stop smoking you take away the food supply of that dragon and it becomes weaker and weaker until finally it has no control over you and your smoking desires. This might take four days it might take eight, but it will not take more than two weeks. You can slaughter this longing with your own bare hands, kick its bloody head in, but you've got think of it as living and breathing, a little grouchy monster, and the moment you feed it, even if it's 'just one' cigarette, you give it a bit of energy again, and who wants to do that?
The simplest and most easiest way of never smoking again and -and I'm not trying to be trite- is to NOT light up a cigarette ever. Even if you catch yourself tearing open a fresh packet of cigarettes with Steve Dallas madness in your heart, stop, stop for a second and look at what you're doing. You don't want them, it does, take a deep breath, put them down and listen to the other voice the dragon doesn't want you to hear. You're nearly free, you're kicking it's arse, they are not your reward for anything, they are your vice. Take another deep breath. Are you still here? You are? Then you've made it, you're okay. You can do this.
It's okay if you're a smoker and you want to smoke, I don't necessarily understand it, but hey, each to their own. However if you WANT to give up then you're going to have to rethink what those little stick represent to you.
There isn't a single redeeming factor to smoking. We can tell ourselves we love smoking all we like, we can convince ourselves of the pleasure an after dinner smoke can bring, but it's all hogwash. You've been brainwashed into believing something expensive, stinking and packed full of chemicals is an enjoyment. That's okay, I bought into that for years too. Then I stopped smoking and my views changed. I cannot look at an old photo of me with a fag in my hand and NOT shake my head in wonderment.
It is doable, you can be a non smoker. It's not like giving up heroin. It's not easy-peasy, but it is not nearly as difficult as people would have you believe. If patches work for you use them, if gum helps use it. Personally I think it's better to do without these things as you're only feeding the dragon using different methods. But everyone is different and some people need a crutch if only for a short while.
Manuel, you're doing the greatest thing for your body by giving up. In a few months your lungs will be almost clear and you'll be feeling better probably than you have in years. You will be a free man. I know you're worried about putting on a few pounds, but that's a very small price to pay for a lifetime of freedom from the evil weed. Pounds can be taken off. And with clean lungs and stronger arteries you and Little Miss can find something you both enjoy to do so, maybe take up squash or start playing football or something. I'm waffling here a little. I must be honest and say I've never known anyone give up smoking and not put on a few pounds here and there- myself included, but like I say, that shouldn't be a consideration right this second.
Kill the dragon first. Or at the very least maim him into silence. And well done, well bloody done indeed.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is way more mind over matter than we realize. I can go for 24 hours on planes and in airports and never have a craving as I know I can't have one. But yet the minute I'm outside it's like I'm gasping. Why? Purely mental (in more ways than one!).

9:20 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Probably because you know there's no way you can have one so you adjust you're thoughts to match it. And the reason you're gasping is the reward factor, you've been 'made' go without so now you 'deserve' that one more than any other.
You're right though, it is purely mental. I used to be exactly the same I'd barely make it through the door of the airport, I would acually be carrying a loose cigarette and lighter in my hand so I wouldn't have to wait.

9:28 a.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

I went through hell on earth giving up smoking. I swore I would never go through it again. If I smoke again, it will be for life. However, that idea does stop me lighting up again.

Rather like the dry alcoholic, I consider myself a smoker, who just hasn't had a cigarette in 18 years.

10:44 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Well done Kim, it has to be whatever works for you doesn't it? I'm a bit like that too, I wouldn't smoke another cigarette for love or money- not that I want to- because I'd worry about restarting a habit I've already put out to pasture.

10:54 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I gave 'em up because I wanted to and believe anyone can do it when they WANT to, not because they think they SHOULD.

I do like the occasional Habana Ceeegar, cause they're nom-nomtastic but I haven't smoked a fag in years.

Btw Missus, "visualisation" = woo. Some folks visualise angels and such. Some folks visualise finish lines. Some folks visualise long-dead realtives. Some folks visualise other folks' diseases from long distances away. It's all plain, old-fashioned woo. But that's ok, folks need a bit of woo since the clerical witch doctors lost their mojo.

10:57 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Bollocks. I don't really think there's dragon inside me waiting for me to go myomp myomp on a fag.

11:05 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Of course you don't....

*runs away as fast as he can with laptop held over his head*

11:12 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh you can run...*

*releases dragon 'fly my pretty, fly FLY!'

11:14 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

!! - fuckity-fuck-fuck, she's released her inner dragon in a psychic woo-attack - !!

*prepares aura*

11:28 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

!Shit aura shields engaged!

*Enlists help of Pursah, invisible visitor and spirit guide to Gary'metaphysical principle reader' Renard. Quick Pursah, ride your board to the rear, flank him FLANK him with your eerie mojo of mystical surf speak.

11:35 a.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

I don't get why people start.

I've never been tempted. they stink,they make you feel sick (apparently) they're expensive they're bad for you and they have no positive effects.

What's the point?

The only reasons i can see are :

1. to look cool/fit in.
2. to annoy your parents.

11:38 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Yes to 1) Morgor but not to annoy my parents, as I didn't want either of them to find out. I was thirteen and stupid.

11:40 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

*aligns chakras*

11:50 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Right, that does it!
* Hold hands to the heavens, 'by the power invested in me by the one true Derek Acorah I demand, nay! command you resist, resistance is futile. Observe the unwritten and holiest of woo rules, that Mary DID in fact love Dick and further more ...WTF? An Angel in my Hair? How the holy marmalade did that get there...*

12:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

The aforementioned great love of Mary and Dick, no power on earth can unwoo this one.

12:04 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Afraid to open link in case it's a crystal pendulum subterfuge... is MTM Mary and DVD Dick?

1:13 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You'd really need to see it.

1:21 p.m.  
Anonymous Beady said...

Ironically enough, at a CroĆ­ (Irish Heart disease charity!!) fundraiser in our local pub - pre smoking ban - I smoked AND drank myself silly by the end of the night...

I felt so shit next day that something had to go - the drink OR the fags...

That was about 7 years ago and I haven't smoked since...

1:51 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Well done Beady, an excellent choice. I bet you never regretted it.

2:00 p.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

What's the point?

The only reasons i can see are :

1. to look cool/fit in.
2. to annoy your parents.

Morgor - when you're a teenager, are there any reasons more important in the world than these?

The problem lies in the fact that once you realise these reasons are no longer important, you're well and truly addicted.

2:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quit over a period of a couple years, I think. I cut back to about 1-2 a day (except on boozy weekends, after each of which I swore I'd never do THAT again), and then Spouse and I set a date a year and a half ago, and I smoked my last cigarette then. The dragon has popped up a few times since, but I think of it like Kim does: if I start again, that's it, I'm never quitting again. Quitting was easy. The process of weaning myself off cigs was way too long and drawn-out, though, to do again.

Also, now that I'm having a kid, all I have to do is visualize a woman with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth and pushing a stroller down the street, and any lingering desire I thought I had dries up. It helps to imagine frizzy hair, blue eyeshadow, and too-tight jeans as well.

2:16 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That IS quite the image. Right, to the gym.

2:18 p.m.  
Blogger Manuel said...

cheers ears......

2:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Beady said...

Definitley - no regrets - and an added bonus is there is now a little bit more of me to love..!

2:45 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

I was so happy to read that Manuel's quitting, FMC. Now I won't have to provide a covered smoking area when he comes to a dinner party.

2:57 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

congrats to everyone for quitting on their own terms!

J gave up smoking two years ago, and the process was interesting. it wasn't the quitting so much as the food. despite being a chef, he swore that the only reason people used red or orange peppers as opposed to green was for the color difference. until he stopped smoking, and finally tasted the difference! and not just peppers, loads of foods. it's amazing how little you realize your pallet has become dulled until you start getting it back.

4:24 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Daisy so true, although I think that might have something to do with everyone's increased appetite, suddenly everything tastes that little bit better.

Medbh, it is terrific news.

Beardy, nothing wrong with that!

Manuel, bravo.

6:50 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

FMC, you've become so bloody healthy lately - what with no booze and no fags and all that exercise!??
Where's the fun in life?
Sorry, I mean good on you - wish I could do the same. I never was a smoker, but as for the rest... well, you know by now ;)

7:58 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I know Eva, it's pretty disgusting, but it's only for a short while, then I can cheerfully return to my more wanton ways.

7:32 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quit 3.5 years ago as a wedding gift to my husband. No woo, either, I swear. There's a program being run from one of the colleges here, I joined up and someone called me once a week and told me how many smokes a day to cut out. I started at a pack and a half a day, and by the time I got down to 3 a day it just didn't seem worth it anymore; so I stopped. This took place over the course of about 5 weeks, and I was a horrible psychotic bitch during. But I'm all better now...heh heh heh...

2:31 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Well done toots, well done indeed.

10:39 p.m.  
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