To make a long story short. To stop smoking I actually had to “STOP SMOKING”. Mind boggling is it not? It can’t be that easy, can it? Well for me it was not easy to learn this simple lesson.
I have not had a smoke since 2001. Most of all today, I am grateful for the fact that I have absolutely “NO DESIRE” whatsoever to have a smoke. The craving that ran my life for years is gone. I do not wish it back either.
I do however have a ‘healthy’ fear of nicotine addiction. I do know that if I am not careful, I could end up back in worse shape than when I quitt. I make it a rule to avoid people and places where there is smoking. I have a 5 minute quota system. I can visit for not more than 5 minutes and then I leave. No exceptions. When I breath in second hand smoke, my heart begins to palpitate and I get a rush, and that can start the cycle of addiction all over again for me. I am that sensitive to nicotine.
I came to a point where I had only two choices left. It was either quit smoking or die. I could no longer breath, my body hurt all over, I had become so out of shape that I was in danger of not being able to work my physical job anymore. I had lost my ability to dream, (12 hours of sleep felt like 12 minutes). I could not enjoy a simple shower anymore, I seemed to be numb all over but yet in pain.
A simple walk around the block was a marathon to me. I could no longer do the things that I loved. I loved to jog, ride bicycle, swim. But all these activities were Aerobic which means I needed a set of lungs to get oxygen into my body. But my lungs were so clogged I could barley breath. I would constantly be hacking and coughing, but as soon as I got a little clearance I was back smoking again.
During my smoking years, I felt like crap most of the time. My nose was always runny, as if I had a permanent cold, and the only thing that would make me feel better was another smoke. I believe that I was Insane. What sane person would deliberately make himself feel like crap? A person who is insane is someone who is out of touch with reality.
I had to look at my thinking. I used a program called Rational Emotive Therapy, which is a fancy term for someone who will think about their thinking. I thought many insane thoughts about smoking, and had to challenge them all. Thoughts like, 1.Smoking is not that bad 2. I can quit whenever I want to, I am in control. 3.I’ll quit right after I finish this pack, I paid good money for it, I’m not wasting it. 4. You know I enjoy a smoke once in a while, why should I quit, Ill quit tomorrow. But when it came down to the actual Quitting, I was hopelessly lost. I could not.
The final days of my smoking were pure hell. I could not breath, but I needed a smoke. I chose not to buy anymore, but then found myself swerving down the road in my truck trying to find a Butt in my ashtray or under the seat because my craving was so strong. To go without for a few hours would send me crawling up the walls. I had to have it or I thought I would go nuts. But I could no longer tolerate the beating my lungs were taking either. It was the end. I finally woke up to the fact that I was never going to control smoking, it was controlling me. It was my master and I was its slave. A true Addict. The only solution was complete abstinence. Either I quit or I will die.
In days before I had ripped up my smokes into tiny pieces and thrown them outside into the garbage can. But I always seemed to go out there later on with a flashlight and pick out the pieces. I was looking for just one more soldier to fight the war against my cravings. If I did not have any papers to roll a butt with, I would make a pipe out or a tin can or tin foil. If I had no matches I would heat up the stove and get some paper to light fire. But this time I soaked the smokes in water. There was no more salvaging the pieces. Often I would roll butts from butts that came from butts.
My fingers were yellow and there was no way to wash them clean because the dirt was on my ‘Insides’. My couch had burn holes in it, my truck seat was full of burn holes. Even my guitar and my clock radio had burn marks on it.
Then began my ‘5’ years of recovery.
It took over 5 years for me to get my lungs back into shape. Today I can swim 2 km in an hour. I do not feel bagged out. I can run up a hill and not be out of breath. All in all I feel alive again. Just one single smoke would take all that away from me. I know that 1 is too many and 1000 is never enough. I had 6 years clean one time, but I started up again because in my heart I still believed that could control it. Today there is not doubt in my mind…… IF I EVER SMOKE AGAIN I WILL DIE…….
To someone who was as hopelessly addicted to smokes as I was, the above might make some sense. But If you still think that you are in control of your smoking I urge you to do a simple test.”QUIT”. If you can not, then you are probably an addict.
Addiction is like riding in a garbage truck, each smoke is just another stop to pickup more garbage, (nasty chemicals). The last stop is the dump (‘death’). You can get off at any stop, but if you are addicted you may just ride the truck all the way to the dump.
I just hope you get off that garbage truck ‘Before’ you end up at the dump.
Smoking kills more people than alcohol and drugs combined. Yet nicotine is also a drug and It is strange that this fact does not make headlines. Tobacco is the most available form of this drug that there is. However, It is not the most potent in the effects that it produces, in that you get high or drunk, like Heroine or Alcohol. But it makes sure you wont forget it. Just try and leave it alone.