Be strong, have faith in yourself

This post is different from my usual posts. Today, may 31st, is no tobacco day, and I wanted to share my experience here from the time I used to smoke.

Like most people who got hooked, I was young (maybe a little younger than usual) when I tried my first cigarette, around age 14. At 15 I was a smoker, though at first, 3 to 5 cigarettes a day were enough for me. But like any addiction, as days became weeks and weeks months and then a year, the number of cigarettes increased to half a pack a day, sometimes more. By then I would do water pipes (shisha) as well, strawberry flavoured, sometimes cherry flavoured, sometimes apple.

Shisha:A bowl filled with water, hooked to a hose and tube. Atop the hose is a small bowl, filled with flavoured tobacco, covered with aluminium foil and heated with hot coals. Smoke gathers at the neck of the water bowl, to be inhaled through the tube.

By the time I was 17, I was at the peak of my life, enjoying being a smoker (yes, I knew it was bad for my health), doing a pack a day, with no signs of slowing down. By the time I was eighteen, I would smoke around a pack and a half, sometimes one or two more, sometimes one or two less.

But by then I had my doubts, and decided smoking wasn’t all that fun anymore, so I throttled back to a pack, then half a pack a day.

Between 18 and 21 I was oscillating between that half pack to a full pack, but never more, never less. And then at 22 I finally found the will power and determination to quit and go cold turkey.

I remember that morning in March when I decided that was that and stubbed out the cigarette halfway through.

I moved away that same day – different house, different city, different people. I changed my habits – started eating a full breakfast every day, avoided people who smoked, no more coffee and hot drinks, no more idle lazing around (so the craving wouldn’t occupy my mind).

The first month was the worst.

The headaches came first, during the times I routinely had a cigarette: in the morning, with a cup of coffee, after lunch, before dinner, after dinner, before bedtime – basically, for the entire day. But I was determined, and so I held on. Slowly the craving… didn’t lessen, but it wasn’t as bad, the headaches not as spiky, or it could be I got used to it. And then a month turned into two, then three, then six.

The urge to smoke was always there, the need to light just one and settle frazzled nerves, to soothe anxiety, to fill in the habit I once enjoyed so much.

But I never gave in.

Three years later I started drinking coffee again, and the craving for one more puff would appear suddenly, but it was easy to ignore by then.

It’s been now 13 years, 1 month and 28 days since that last half cigarette.

I have dreams at night that I still smoke, and whenever I do, the phantom craving will be there in the morning, giving me a sense of nostalgia, the need to know the what if I gave in, or hadn’t moved away, or hadn’t changed my routines so completely.

Today, may 31st, is no tobacco day, and I wanted to share here that it’s possible to give it up, if you’re determined enough and believe you have the will power to be stronger.

80 Replies to “Be strong, have faith in yourself”

    1. At the time i decided to quit, vaping wasn’t as viral as today. Infact, I think people were talking about it, but not really doing it back then. I’m not sure, I wasn’t interested in switching a vice for another, so I can’t really say if e-cigs were out or not.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We’ve never smoked inside. Still, knowing that he’s got some (or a vape pen, in this case) makes it tempting to ask or just go out with him when the dog is getting an extra walk.

        My desire to quit has yet to grow past the will to push through these urges. Probably need to set a date.

        WhyQuit.Org is a great motivator and resource for anyone trying. I should probably spend some time on there.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I never liked that smell – not on my clothes or breath, even when I used to smoke. I always carried something minty with me, both to prevent detection when I was too young and to keep the bad breath away. And of course, body spray and lotion was always within reach.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I remember when I quit smoking. My wife (at the time) and I quit together. And, no, that’s not why we are no longer together. I don’t know how we did it, but we did. After the cravings died down the part that lingered the longest for me was needing to do something with my hands. I would reach for the pack, feeling the equivalent of a phantom pain in my empty hand. I could have twiddled a pencil/pen, but thought better of it. I knew if I gave into that I’d be annoying the crap out of everyone around me.

    Thankfully, twenty something years later, I’m completely free. No cravings. No phantom pains. I did get fat though. So there’s that. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yes, there’s the weight part, but once you no longer need to eat to fulfill the craving, you can shed the gained weight. I did, around the time i started drinking coffee again. And oh, the snappish bitch syndrome took about two years, about the time I told myself I couldn’t keep blaming my irritation and annoyance at something I no longer craved.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jina, congrats on quitting – I’ve never been a smoker but understand how hard it can be. I didn’t know about the headaches, they sound horrendous. Your story will help others who are considering changing this habit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hard enough, but doable – and it does give you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and great success…. whenever you’re not craving, which, thankfully, lessens with time.
      Thanks for the visit and apologies for the late response.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up in a house of non-smokers, Diana, so that wasn’t the trigger for me. Sadly, my husband still smokes – though I do boot him out whenever he lights one.
      Thanks for the visit and apologies for the late response – I’m so behind!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a great track record. Well done. I went almost ten years once. Then I had a mental breakdown and started again. Since then I’ve been on and off. A year or three here and there. Last time was five years. I might get there eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I get the break down – sometimes when I dream about smoking I wake up wanting one. Or when something bad happens, I wish I had one, just one, to calm the anxiety. I wish I could give you great advice on how to quit, but since I understand exactly what you’re saying, I’m not going to say anything, save that I wish you success whenever you try next
      Thanks for the visit and sorry for the late response.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a HUGE accomplishment – to stop smoking. It’s such a strong addiction; most people I know fail at stopping. My dad was a smoker since he was 14 (this was back in the ’40s) and he never stopped. His addiction was so bad that when I visited him as an adult and he knew I was allergic to cigarette smoke, he STILL could not stop during our time together. I’d get sick, he’d be apologetic (slightly) but he continued to chain smoke. I loved him so much and understood. What a horrible addiction. It killed him. I’m so glad you are smoke-free. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I read somewhere – a few years after I quit – that the younger you are when you start, the harder it is to quit. I’m glad I hadn’t known that then, I may have used it as an excuse.
      BTW, sorry for the late response.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s really hard to quit a habit like that. I never smoked but I used to love eating things with added sugar (ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.), so I understand those cravings and dreams. 4 years ago my son dared me to do a 30 day challenge and quit all foods with added sugar or sweetener of any type. My only sugar intake is eating a real fruit now. That was 4 years ago and I feel so much better since I quit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. oh, i wish i could quit sugar too. but, god, chocolate! And I need half a small spoon of sugar in my mug of coffee in the morning. Otherwise, I don’t eat anything with added sugar…. hmmm, save for bread? and sometimes a cookie here or there…. and…. alright, I do eat sugar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny. But actually, once you quit sugar, your brain changes. It took about 6 weeks for me. Not only did my cravings go away, but the thought of that food was off-putting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Jina, even chocolate. However, I do add a little unsweetened cocoa to frozen blueberries and frozen cherries, and add a little vanilla soy milk to that, and I get my delicious chocolate flavor.

      Liked by 2 people

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