I decided to write about my experiences quitting as an ex-smoker of over 13 years without the hideous habit in my life.
I see so many people struggling with the curse of tobacco addiction, many of them truly believe they actually enjoy it! This has to be a form of deranged madness .. how is it possible to enjoy smoking tobacco?
To my mind the only satisfaction is a relief from the cravings that tobacco addicts suffer from .. this is then twisted into a bizarre form of logic. They actually believe they are enjoying the act of smoking ?. It’s also possible that perhaps these people do not know how to practise breathing exercises such as pranayama, that help to aid in concentration and calm the mind, and perhaps the process of slowly inhaling tobacco smoke has a similar effect, combined with the relief from the cravings, restlessness and irritability that comes from not having a cigarette.
I was a serious smoker maybe 40 cigarettes per day. Towards the end, I had also included cigars(stronger the better)in my arsenal of weapons to get that extra nicotine boost that I was craving. I even woke up very early in the morning craving a smoke and then went back to sleep after. I could not last 8 hours sleeping without my nicotine hit.
This was a pretty serious situation and I was also drinking a lot of alcohol and starting to have some very unpleasant physical symptoms such as panic attacks, high blood pressure etc. I spent much time trying to scrub my fingers clean to remove the brown stains that covered them from this ridiculous habit. I still have a slight callus on my middle finger from the brown gunk and burning hot cigarette butts that were so often held by the middle and index fingers of my right hand.
I would light a fag to answer the phone or make a call. To go out to get in the car to do anything really.
So I had a bad habit! maybe a lot worse than most.
I was going through a bit of a stressful time with various aspects in my life, I felt I was not in control of things.
It occurred to me that I had to accept this, however, I could control what I was doing to myself! And that was smoking myself to death. So I started to cut down. I used nicotine gum and patches despite the noticeable amount of people that seemed determined to tell me stopping smoking was impossible! And that patches and gum do not work.
I was confident that it was indeed purely an addiction to nicotine and I could quit. On top of that, I really wanted to stop.
It took a while. Sometimes I would have two patches or more on my arms, chew some gum and still smoke a small roll up, and sort of enjoy the dizzy feeling of the nicotine rush! but slowly and surely I got it down to so little that it was just the nicotine gum ( a bit like chewing a fag butt, but mint flavoured )and then that became a tiresome habit and finally it was all over. Thank god for the NHS who provided me limitless supplies of gum and patches!
I remember the very last piece of gum was on a plane flight to Los Angeles.
My sense of taste and smell improved so much! I remember going to my local pub. At that time people were still allowed to smoke at the bar. I never tried to stay away from others that smoked. I even had tobacco in my house whilst I quit… trying to hide away from it will never work. So I still went to the pub, only I found myself standing further away from others that were smoking as I did not want my now clean smelling clothes to stink of second-hand smoke.
I recall the scent of the Local Pub! Smelling it for the first time. It reminded me of the school dinner hall in primary school I went to aged around 6 yrs old.
I do not miss smoking tobacco at all. I cannot stand the smell of it. I hate being around others smoking as it stinks, gets in your eyes and nose and I don’t like breathing in exhaled tobacco fumes.
It was shortly after quitting that I started practising yoga.
I am now a yoga teacher.
Anyhow, I hope my story helps anyone out there that may be considering quitting smoking.
Its a really stupid damaging habit and stopping was one of the best things I have ever done.