I quit smoking five weeks ago. Once again. These days you could call me an on-and-off smoker. I usually manage to quit for a couple of weeks or months and then start again for some months until I have accumulated enough motivation – or rather hate – to stop again. By now, I know pretty well how and when to quit without suffering too much and without falling back immediately. I do get better at giving up cigarettes. Perhaps this time it’ll work out. But I won’t promise.
I think I was 16 years old when I made my first attempt to quit (I started at the age of 15). I was at home alone and sat on the balcony and smoked about six cigarettes, one after another, inhaling deeply. I had read somewhere that this shock method of over-intoxication was a good way to stop. After I had finished smoking them all, I went to the bathroom and threw up heavily what looked like a stream of blackish liquid. I shivered and sweated and felt completely exhausted and very dizzy. When Mum came back home later, I told her proudly of my courageous deed and that I was now healed of the devilish addiction. My mother was shocked and very upset. Of course it didn’t work out. And now I have been a smoker for almost 16 years. Well, let’s not forget, I’ve quit recently.
Mum has always had a big problem with my smoking habit. She was furious about me smoking, she couldn’t stand the fact that I was abusing my health. Well, who can blame her? The first time she found out that I was a smoker was when I came home one night and took off my duffle coat and put it on the hook in the hallway, and she took it down for some reason and turned it over and then shook it – and suddenly my packet of red Gauloises flew through the hallway. I was told to go up to my room and stay there while Mum and Dad had a discussion about how to react to my new habit of smoking. Somehow Mum knew right away that I had already become massively addicted.
I have read an article by some biologist recently who says that nicotine recodes certain brain areas of smoking teenagers, so that by the time they become adults it gets very difficult for them to get rid of their addiction. The earlier you start smoking, the likelier it becomes that you will always remain a smoker. Oh, Nicotine. Queen of all drugs. Curse of all smokers. Legal. Available everywhere, anytime. People smoking everywhere you look despite the risk of lung cancer, heart-attacks, strokes, you name it. My curse. I keep fighting the addiction. I have eventually found out how to stop without making a big fuss about it (I once published a post on this blog vowing that I would never smoke again. I had to delete it afterwards because I was so embarrassed about it. I had of course started smoking again shortly after publication). I have come to realise that my psychic addiction is very strong and that even a success of a couple of non-smoking weeks like now doesn’t mean anything. I have stopped lying to myself though which helps a lot . It’s the long term thing I don’t know how to deal with unfortunately. I’m working on it.
Meanwhile, I always have nicotine chewing gums handy and they are great. They taste awful but you get used to that and they help to stop the craving immediately. After a while you need them less and less but it’s important for me to carry them with me everywhere I go in case I suddenly get stressed or drunk and just don’t care anymore. Did you know that smoking a rollie with a filter is like smoking three industrial filter cigarettes? And one rollie without filter equals five filter cigarettes? I have learned basically everything there is to know about smoking and its effects on health. I’m well equipped but not quite there yet.
Some tips if you want to quit:
- Hating your addiction and you poor physical condition helps. It’s the best motivation you can have.
- Use chewing gums (fruit taste) with 2mg nicotine if you’re an average smoker and 4mg if you’re a heavy smoker.
- Don’t drink alcohol for the first couple of days after you’ve stopped. After a week you will start to feel a lot better and the craving will be almost gone.
- Sign up to one of those online non-smoking programs
- Read „Allen Carr’s easy way to stop smoking“
- Sleep a lot.
- Learn from your mistakes and try to make it better next time. There will be fall-backs. No need to make a fuss about it. Believe me, depression does not help.
- There is nothing like the occasional cigarette. You smoke one, you smoke them all.
- If you are a real addict like I am – admit it to yourself. It helps. You don’t have to tell everyone about it though like I’m doing now. You might regret it.
- Don’t be stupid, be strong.