When I was a lot younger and more stupid than I am today I started smoking and carried on for about sixteen years. After two periods of abstinence of about eight months each, I restarted my nicotine habit again and again, until I finally quit for good in 2007. That currently makes it ten years 100% smoke-free. No slip ups and no ‘accidents’. I also went cold turkey and didn’t bother with nicotine replacement therapy, hypnosis or counselling. That’s not to say I haven’t been tempted from time to time, and about once a year I still have ‘the dreams’ (you know the ones: where you cave in and smoke in your dream, only to wake up feeling guilty and weak for even dreaming about it… no? Well, if you ever give up smoking you might be lucky enough to have them from time to time – as a little bonus for starting in the first place), but I would like to say that I will never smoke a cigarette ever again. I can certainly say that I absolutely detest the act of smoking and vaping now.
So how did I get to this point? The key lay in reprogramming my brain with a good dose of honesty, which meant being willing to see smoking for what it really is:
- Slow suicide. Tough one to accept, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Once I accepted this it was very easy to build up the will to stop.
- A financial con in that it is an expensive way to slowly kill yourself. The taxes are outrageous on tobacco products and if you buy them illegally you are supporting rich criminal networks that will always be richer than you are because you keep willingly giving them all your money. You will always be the loser as a smoker.
- Smoking related diseases are a deathly reality that you may possibly have to enjoy later in life – so don’t dare cry about it when it happens. I’ve seen emphysema and throat cancer up close – it’s awful.
- Smoking as an expression of freedom is delusional. Nicotine addiction will enslave you and there is nothing you can do about it, so don’t con yourself by saying that you choose to smoke. There is no choice involved. How does that feel?
- Personally, I wanted to complete an ultra marathon one day, so my choice came down to fitness or useless bastard. Not-so-useless bastard eventually won.
All of the above tipped the balance for me, and after I devised an immediate quitting strategy, which I write about in my book, Quit Smoking Forever, I built up the courage, held on for the nicotine withdrawals and then finally defeated my nicotine demon, for what I hope is forever. Now I hate every single thing about smoking, vaping and cannabis – and it feels great! Being smug definitely beats feeling breathless.