Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quitting Cigarettes

I've been a smoker for 10 years, almost just as long as I have been working as I started when I landed my second job. After 5-6 years of smoking I wanted to stop as I realized that it was already affecting my health making me out of breath every time I took the stairs, my skin was looking dull and my finances was heavily burden by the rising cost of cigarettes.

Like many others I tried to stop for a long time with many failures. Every time I succumbed to lighting up another cigarette, I told myself that I will try again. Without much medicinal help I had before, the only way to stop was to go cold turkey which most (including me) would find really difficult.

Last cigarette I smoked was in 2 and a half months ago, which gave me a bad headache.

Today I am proud to say that I am done with smoking. There are a few things or situations that has really helped with my quitting. I want to share these with you, in case you are like I was, struggling to quit.

The real 'want' to stop

The last few weeks before I gave up smoking entirely I really really wanted to stop. The feeling I had was quite different from when I tried 2 years or 4 years. This time I knew that I want to start a family soon and I really had to change my bad habits. The first few times I tried to quit I usually end up asking myself why was I trying to quit and didn't have an answer. This time I am empowered by my answer and my real want to quit.

Encouragement and support

I have always got encouragement from friends and family to stop smoking, but it often sounded like a threat like - "You are going to die if you don't stop" or "Don't you want a healthy life?". More often than not it made me reach for another cigarette as it did make me feel bad for myself. This is not a 'pick me up' kind of encouragement, more like a 'push me down'. It didn't feel good.

Being away from most of my friends and family gave me some time to discover me. And being surrounded by new friends and co-workers who are too polite to be upfront simply because they just got to know me, did help. The encouragement and support I got started to sound like "Wow really, not one cigarette yesterday? That's great!" or "Well done, keep it up and you are on the road to be a non-smoker". It is true, sometimes it does matter how something is said rather than just the intentions behind saying it.

Quitting the lifestyle too

It was certainly the lifestyle that got me to start in the first place, therefore it will definitely take a lifestyle change to stop. When I was younger, around the time I started, I spent many hours a day chit chatting with my friends over a cup of tea or coffee. We enjoyed partying at happening clubs and discos, and drank lots of alcohol. Life was one big party, it was a great and fun lifestyle, not so great on the body though.

I can't help but to say I do miss some of those party days, but it is time to change. As I'm wiser now, it is time to make wiser choices too. Being around non smokers at mostly no smoking environment helped a lot with stopping. It is so easy not to think of it and suddenly my body starts rejecting even the smoke I accidentally inhaled from someone who is smoking besides me.

Today I enjoy a glass of wine or dinner with friends at a non smoking restaurant. I use to be the one hanging out outside with my cigarette and only going in to have my meal. Oh how I have missed out on all the conversation that went on when I was outside puffing away!

Never quit quitting

I usually don't like to use the word 'quit', even when it is for something good. Quitting sounds like giving up and giving up could also mean giving up on quitting.

Getting yourself off something addictive is not only a physical change when your body detox, but it is so much a psychological change that is driven by your emotions and your environment. It is very hard and might take longer than you think. But as long as you don't give up, you stand a chance in changing your life forever. Go forth and actively make that effort. If you did not achieve it today, remember there is always tomorrow for you to try again. All you have to do is keep at it.

No smoking will help you get your health and finances right back up!

These are my views and my experience on quitting cigarettes. It might work for you or it might not. If you are serious on quitting but have not succeeded, please seek medical help if that is available to you.

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