(I lit a cigarette after writing this).

It’s always painfully slowly that we realize we have acquired bad habits, in small, self-denying spurts of rare self-realization. Recently I’ve had that elusive ‘a-ha!’ moment about myself that made me realize the small ascent (descent?) into my own case of bad habitry, particularly for me, nicotine.

When I was 20 years old I lit my first cigarette, a now deeply regretted minty choice of Camel Crush, because that was what was offered to me. I didn’t particularly like the menthol taste swimming around my mouth, but I liked the light smoke swimming around my head.

It progressed slowly from there, as all things do, from that one cigarette from that one guy that one time to expecting a cigarette from any guy at any event after any sort of intoxication. I eventually got tired of bumming during parties and started buying my own, it seemed smarter at the time. My smoke-lending friends thought so too.

Well since I had a pack in my car regularly after that I thought it would be okay to have one on my way to class, after a particularly tough test, or traveling back home. I took walks in the middle of studying or left for class earlier than usual on particularly anxious days, just to get in a couple puffs or half a cigarette. Even today admitting that it is a problem for me I will say that I never smoked as much as my family members or older friends, but I did smoke about ⅓ or half the time they did.

Today at 25 I am realizing that the control over the ‘social’ habit I thought I had has turned into a full blown routine, a start to finish cycle of wanting, needing, taking, regretting. This small scale addiction has caused me to rethink my priorities, both money, and health wise, as my seemingly girly figure hacks up a lung on the regularly and pulls five dollar bills from my back pocket for more packs so often that I may get carpal tunnel.

Last year I tried to slowly wean off, to only smoke 3 full cigarettes a day, typically breaking every cigarette down into half or thirds by smoke session. I was successful, though it was hard to do (for the long month that I actually did). I recently decided to try this again on drunken new year’s resolution-fueled goal making session and then even more recently realized that I can’t quite get there this time, I can’t get down to only 3 cigarettes,, whether it’s my lack of willpower this go around or stronger need (mental) for nicotine.

I even know typing this that it isn’t a need for nicotine physically, honestly it makes me feel sick half the time. It’s a mental need to keep routine and to unwind. After work, smoke. After a meal, smoke. After sex, smoke. I mean, this has been a part of my life for 5 years now, with my Saturday morning cup of coffee and once a month cigarette smoke filled drives home on highway 11. It has been quite the comfort in tumultuous, big scary adult times.

So the deep [and particularly long-winded, I apologize] question of this Monday officially stands as this: can you cut out a normal, satisfying part of your routine without feeling completely deprived or unfulfilled? Ie, Can replace my after work cigarette session in front of the last bit of the news with say, a cup of hot tea or shot of vodka (kidding) be a smooth, craving-less transition?



10 thoughts on “(I lit a cigarette after writing this).

  1. I may be biased because I haven’t ever smoked, but I’ve been exposed to it since I was conceived. It does more harm than good. I feel lethargic and shitty just being around it, and it’s a major source of panic for me.
    I hope you figure out what works best for you and your health, and if that means quitting, then go for it! I’ll be here to support you!
    -Author S

  2. I too lit my first cigarette aged about 20. Unlike you, that was 45 years ago now but like you I wish I’d never lit that first one. I haven’t been successful at giving up (so far) despite having tried most things, including hypnotherapy,but if there’s any chance of you finding a way to give up please take it.
    After 5 years there won’t be too many effects on your health showing but believe me, after this length of time if you haven’t found a way to give up, it’s likely your health will have suffered tremendously. I have COPD and recently got over my second bout of pneumonia, each bout leaving my chest measurably weaker.Please don’t let your health go the same way. Your health can soon overcome the effects of the last 5 years but if you keep smoking as I have done your consumption will soon start to go up from 3 cigarettes a day to 3 packs a day.Don’t let it happen. One day you’ll probably have children and you want to be able to play with them without gasping for breath.Keep that picture in mind and ask your doctor or pharmacist for help in finding something that will work for you.
    Good Luck
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  3. Make it harder to smoke, if you smoke inside the house, make a conscious effort to only smoke outside (amazing how well that works in the winter). Make an effort not to smoke in your car. Make it a physical effort to have a smoke and the desire to have one will ease (or you’ll get fit because you’ll find yourself walking further and further from home just to have one 🙂 )

    There really is no one rule for all when it comes to giving up but one thing is for sure it’s easier to give up after 5 years than it is after 10, or 20, or 30.

    My dad used the nicotine patches that didn’t work, then he went to the doc and got medication for it and he was able to finally cut a life long habit. When I gave up I just started by making rules like 1 an hour, then 1 every 2 hours etc, not smoking inside or in the car etc. At the end of the day it’s only willpower that will get you over the line because no matter what option you choose to give up you actually have to want to give up or none will work.

  4. I used to smoke. What helped me quit is I had to set the intention that I wanted to quit. I then had to write a list for visual effects of all the reasons why I wanted to quit. My favorite was logic: I was paying a tobacco x amount of money every day,month,year to give me a disease I would have to pay the health industry x amount of money to try and cure me all while I suffered horribly. To me this seemed unloving of myself and scary. For me it was that break away, stress reliever. I still kept that same break away and took deep relaxing breaths. I also added a positive habit which for me was drinking more water. So when I felt the urge to smoke I would go outside and take some deep breaths and swallows of water. I replaced a bad habit with two good ones. I still get the urge to smoke 16 years later but I keep going back to the reasons not to.

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