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.
Labels: A Happy Monday