A year has passed, since I decided to give up smoking. All of you who follow my journey know, that it was a fairly easy transition for me. Smoking was no pleasure anymore toward the end. I felt short of breath when I tried to run while playing with the dogs. I felt nervous all the time, called it anxiety (smoking doesn’t relax…that’s a fairy tale) and then there was my cough and my constant throat clearing every morning and even so I didn’t admit it…I knew it came from smoking.
I quit the same way I begun smoking…I had to suffer for a little bit. I wasn’t born as a smoker, I decided to be one 36 years ago. I wanted to be like the other kids, the ones that looked so grownup already. I admired them, they were always in a group and I wanted to be part of it…I wanted to smoke with them so badly. One day they looked at me, waved me over and offered me my first cigarette. I knew that it was a test and I wanted to pass…it was the entree to be with them. Let’s be honest here, the first cigarette doesn’t taste good at all, actually it tasted pretty bad. It made me feel a little dizzy and I didn’t particularly care for the taste. But it was what grownups did and I wanted to be one of them, so I learned to smoke. I learned to hold back that cough and pretended to like it. That’s what we do, in order to become a smoker we have to suffer first.
Smoking is an addiction, that’s what we all know and I believe that’s true, but I although believe we all react differently, I wrote about it once in my post >>>My Grandfather the addict<<<.
I didn’t think about addiction too much, neither did I think about relapse…for me it was much simpler. The urge to smoke was gone after just a few days, that was the easy part, but there is so much more to it. The adjustment phase afterwards is the real struggle.
The subconscious mind controls 90% of our behavior/our daily decisions. Every smoker has a behavior pattern and I was no exception. It’s like we plant a “sensation” in our mind, when we start smoking and then gradually program other typical behaviors.
How about we give the cigarettes names, then it becomes more clear.
- The stress cigarette
- The reward cigarette
- The relaxation cigarette
- The drinking cigarette
- The problem cigarette
- The after … cigarette (Lunch, Dinner, Sex)
- The coffee cigarette
- The social cigarette
- The walk away cigarette
In my case it was a long list with so called “rewards” and problem solvers. So many situations in my every day life called for a smoke break. My reward system and the ceremonies that I created in many years of smoking, worked perfectly subconsciously. “Well, I just ate..now I HAVE to smoke”, “well, I have a problem…now I have to smoke”...a long list of “have to’s”.
For me it was a pure “mind game” right from the start. My reward system and the many cherished habits and rituals needed an update…a non-smoking update. I found better rewards and better solutions.
Now I hardly remember the time when I had to sneak out, just so I could smoke a cigarette. I have no desire and no sense of loss anymore.
It’s really not that hard! So today I celebrate my one year milestone. If I could do it, then everybody can!