Well some months have passed since my first Giving Up the Evil Weed blog 1 was written.
Still puffing? Well, yes, I had been, to be honest. Probably up to as many as 20 a day, on a bad day.
I recently went on holiday with a new friend, a non-smoker, although smoking did not bother her.
As the holiday progressed, my dreadful smokers cough got worse and worse. We were in Northern Cyprus, where everyone smokes like chimneys and the fags are really cheap. One night, one of the natives, also a smoker, heard me coughing, and said to me “Lynn, do you really want to meet your Grandad? You have one foot in the grave” Well, that hit home, I can tell you!
I watched my smoking after that and got them down to about 5 per day.
With the guys words ringing in my head, I have just about managed to give up with the aid of patches and a ‘vape’, which I rarely use, but it reassures me, as it’s always there if I need it. It has been four weeks since my return from holiday and I am determined to give up totally.
I have had to give it up before it gave me up, which is why I am writing this, in the hope it will help you too.
To precis the whole exercise, the initial problem was breaking the habit. You can do this just by thinking about the situations you are in when you smoke. Avoid these situations whenever you can. Also avoid smoking friends for a while a I have one very good friend I have purposely avoided during this period, as I KNOW I will be vulnerable. I will wait until I am stronger and more in control before I see her. In situations where you CAN smoke, i.e. outside the ‘pub with a drink with smokers – avoid like the plague.
Once that’s cracked you have to address the cravings for which there are untold aids out there – use them. You are not a failure if you use them, they are there for a reason and that is to help stop you smoking. I do still get the odd craving now “I need a fag” – no I don’t. I distract myself and the craving soon passes.
None of this has been easy, believe me, in fact its been the hardest thing I have ever undertaken, but you can do it if you put your mind to it.
Now for the sad bit. Habit, cracked it. Cravings, pretty much cracked, with my patches and ‘vape’. As a long term smoker I often think to myself “I am going for a fag” which is when I have to remind myself I no longer smoke. This is when the whole emptiness takes hold. What do I do with myself, I felt bereaved. There was this huge hole where smoking used to be! Surely I hadn’t spent that amount of time smoking? This does pass, as has just happened to me. Just last week I was at a loss, felt depressed and down and felt something was missing from my life. This week, I am through it and feel really good.
I look much better, no longer cough (hah got that foot out of the grave), no longer snore (so I am told, how attractive) and can actually breathe without wheezing. My skin looks a lot better too, my skin had started to resemble a tortoise’s shell! I’ve also got back my sense of smell.
Keep with the programme, it really is a horrible habit. It is a long and windy, rocky road you will travel but like the old Chinese proverb says “it is often better to journey than to arrive”, in this case arrival is what it’s all about! Good Luck!