So I am trying this again. I have decided that I must stop smoking. You know, because I don’t want to die. After twenty years of smoking my lungs need a break. I probably could pave a tar road with all the shit I have inhaled from cigarettes and I prefer not to become another one of those lung cancer statistics. But to quit smoking is hard and thus far I have had a zero success rate with it. Also, I now know how crack addicts must feel and it isn’t pretty people.
I remember when I first started smoking. It wasn’t peer pressure that got me started. It was my sister. You see we went on holiday and my sister and I had to share a hotel room. I was a scrawny sixteen year old at the time and it was still easy for my sister to bully me. She is a couple of years older than I am and as strong as an ox when she wants to be. She was secretly smoking and didn’t want my parents to find out. Seeing as we shared a hotel room and she being a nicotine addict this obviously posed a particular set of problems for her.
Firstly, at that time I would do anything to get my sister busted and get her into trouble. Secondly, I was really bad at keeping secrets especially when it was something juicy and about my sister. So naturally if I caught her smoking I would take our sibling rivalry to an epic new level. Unfortunately, my sister would have made an excellent Survivor contestant, if she liked the outdoors and being dirty and hungry that is. She continuously outwitted, outlasted and outplayed me right through our childhood and this time would be no different.
My sister convinced me through her clever psychological trickery that only really cool people smoked. She also did not want me to be on the outskirts of society and she wanted me to join her sistren of really hip smokers. See how I just revived a word that was last used in the 16th century. Sometimes I amaze myself. Also, I want everyone to start using the word "sistren" again because it is a really cool word. But I digress...
Being trapped in a hotel room with my sister was a bit like being a fly in a spider web. It was in my best psychological and physical interest to not go against her generous sisterly advice on this particular social issue. So I conceded out of fear and started fake smoking meaning that I would only puff and not inhale the smoke.
By the end of that holiday I was addicted to nicotine and, for obvious reasons, could no longer tell on my sister for smoking. She had successfully tricked me in keeping her secret and I had now joined her in keeping things from our parents. Twenty years and several attempts to quit smoking later, I am still a smoker. In the past I have tried many things to stop. I have done the patches, the gum, medication and even once thought that I could quit cold turkey. That did not end well.
Trying to quit anything cold turkey is like playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun. And the gun is not pointed at your head but pointed at the heads of others. The time I tried to quit cold turkey I became a ranging emotional bitch from hell. I had a short fuse and was generally unpleasant to be around. I also started to behave like that slow cousin in your family that nobody talks about. I did not like or recognize myself, at the time, and it felt like I lost my best friend and my mind. I managed to survive a month of not smoking and then succumbed to the demon that is nicotine again.
When I tried to quit smoking on Champix things went a bit better apart from the fact that I almost died. I had the worst nightmares while on that medication, it fucked up my liver and there were times that it made me ill enough not to be able to go to work.
I managed four months of not smoking on Champix but then we went on holiday to Madagascar and I fell off the wagon again, so to speak. This is also when I contracted pneumonia and as we headed back home I went to hospital directly from the airport. At hospital I would take off my oxygen mask to go for a smoke and when I was done I would put back the oxygen. At least I had the good sense not to blow myself up but pneumonia and smoking – not the best combination. Sometimes addicts do some weird shit like this.
So here I am again. Attempt number God knows what. This time I am staying clear of medications and I have opted to use the electronic cigarette and acupuncture to stop. Thus far I must say it is going well. I have cut down from forty cigarettes a day to around three a day. Actually, the truth is I have cut down to about eight. No, actually the real truth is I have cut down to ten. Addicts lie.
I am very lucky to have an understanding husband who has placed no pressure on me at all to stop. I am doing this for myself. He doesn’t judge me when I have a cigarette from my not so secret stash and he has been very supportive. I hope to exclusively smoke the electric cigarette (or like I fondly call it - my electric crack pie) in about a week or two. Then I will deal with the nicotine addiction and swop the nicotine liquid for the non-nicotine one.
It has been a week since I started weaning myself off cigarettes and lo and behold, nobody has been murdered and I have not died. Hopefully this time I will succeed in kicking this nasty ass habit and can spend the next sixty years smoke free. And yes people, to the horror of some I plan to live well into my nineties.
I think the hardest part about quitting is not so much the nicotine addiction but the actual habit. It is something to do with your hands and is an excuse to get out of the office for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. However, now days smokers are banned to dodgy smoking areas and treated like lepers due to anti-smoking laws. So it is best to just quit. To my lungs, you’re welcome. To the tobacco industry, I loathe all of you and you can all go fuck yourselves!
Till next time.