A couple years ago I read a book that changed my life forever. Okay, it didn't do all the work but it planted some seeds of change. With the cost of cigarettes rising and my health declining I read the " Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr. (If you're a smoker, this is a must read. I highly recommend it) I was determined to sever my addiction to cigarettes and finished the book in one afternoon.
I was 28 then and had been smoking since eleven years old. Oh, wow -- that sounds so horrible! I wished I never started. I didn't want to smoke any more -- but at the same time, was terrified to stop.
I was so badly addicted. The cigarette was my ball and chain. I couldn't go anywhere with out it. Sometimes, the craving would wake me at night. If I had to choose one over the other: In my warped state of mind, the cigarette was more important than food, sex, or material things.
As I read my new book, I thought: My hands would be idle, what would I do with my free time? How would I "get going" in the morning, shift gears between projects, digest a meal? Would I gain a lot of weight? These questions -- the very fact that I was asking these questions, disgusted me. I didn't want to be dependent on cigarettes any more, I wanted to be free.
Years of commercials, cigarette ads & watching the smokers on TV only helped to reinforce my false belief that smoking was enjoyable. In the book, I learned how my smoking addiction was mostly psychological. I also learned that the body works hard to detox every time you light up, so after a few days of not smoking the nicotine will be gone from your system.
I smoked my last cigarette around midnight, had a glass of water and went to sleep. I didn't sleep long and woke a couple times during the night. Usually, I would step out for a smoke when I couldn't sleep - not this time.
For the next three days I was very "infant-like." Moody, cranky, tired, emotional... extremely emotional. I cried... No, I sobbed A LOT and I was a mess of uncertainty. What if these feelings never went away? Would I spend the rest of my life longing for a cigarette? I WISHED I could have a guarantee that it would all be okay and I could be truly happy without cigarettes
Day four: I had an argument with a family member, grabbed one of his cigarettes, stuck it in my mouth & stormed outside. (The whole time acting, as if it was all HIS fault for my relapse.) I stood there in the cold with the cigarette hanging from my mouth. The lighter was warm in my hand. I lit the damn thing and took two small puffs. Deep down I knew this was no one's fault and smoking my own choice. I looked at the smoldering death stick-- It was not what I expected. It tasted gross, smelled bad and I instantly felt lightheaded. What was I doing? I put it out and re-affirmed my goal... Psychological freedom.
I developed (what I considered to be) a major problem with lolli-pops. I was eating more than a bag each day. Which, wasn't the worst thing in the world in comparison to smoking but, I was concerned they might damage my oral health so I cut them out of my routine.
The pops were replaced by a camera. I carried a little point and shoot camera in my purse and took it everywhere. This kept my hands busy and my mind engaged. I took so many photos.. photos of EVERYTHING. I had a new passion... photography.
Every morning was better than the last, and each evening was more restful. Week two was better than week one. Week three was better than two. And so on. At three months I almost forgot I ever smoked. I was a new person. Life really is BETTER without cigarettes!
For more than half my life, I had been a slave to my own addiction. In my experience, smoking really suppressed my creativity. Once the withdrawals passed I felt happier, healthier, more positive, joyful, ambitious, energetic... I felt closer to my family and was taking more pictures, I attended a few darkroom classes, was reading more, writing , painting, drawing and sculpting. I had a hunger for new experiences. I went outside more, walking, running, hiking, climbed mountains, rode horses and traveled a lot. I felt less fear & anxiety and had an increase in self confidence and worth. I fell in love with life.
It has been over two years since my last cigarette and life is great! I feel better now than ever before.
My advise to anyone who smokes & wants to quit. Read the book that I mentioned earlier. If nothing else, it'll plant a seed. When you're ready, trust yourself and your reasons. You WILL feel great!
You're not quitting anything -- you're reclaiming your life.
If you have a second - like, share or leave your comment below - Do you smoke or have you ever tried cigarettes? what was your experience? I'd like to hear from you. Thanks for reading! 💕