17 June 2007

Last Man Standing

To Quit...
I am reflecting today on quitting smoking. This is going to be a long post. I have made a commitment to myself to get hypnotised. I have to write a list of reasons why I want to quit. The counsellor knows it isn't worthwhile unless I really want to. I really do want to. I have chosen hypnosis because I want to do this calmly and mindfully. I intend it to be an exercise in self-improvement, rather than a ugly and uncomfortable withdrawal from addiction.

Past attempts
I am scared I am going to fail at it again. I have tried a number of times before. I thought I would write this reflection on my blog post to add some leverage to my intention. There is nothing quite like telling the world you are going to do something for making you follow through. I have tried patches, gum, hypnosis, cold turkey, zyban and nicotine lozenges. Hypnosis was the least damaging and most empowering, so I am going with that again.

Freedom from Addiction
I intensely dislike being unable to choose. I hate the panic I feel when I am running out of cigarettes. I am not in control of my own behaviour and this has health, social, financial and time consequences. I remember a doctor once said to me " I don't know how you find the time!" and I was furious about that. I see myself as a really busy person who gets a lot done. Yet when I have quit in the past, I have so much extra time and accomplish so much more.

Social Smoker

I feel like the last man standing as far as smoking goes. It used to be a great social event to go outside for a smoke. All the best people were out there and there was always laughter and wickedness that I enjoyed. Now it feels like the best people have quit and I am left with the people who don't really care....about themselves. A harsh thing to say as a couple of my best friends in the whole world are still smoking with me, but I want them to stop too. I am not a social smoker though. I am totally addicted and smoke in any circumstance.

Fear of Death
My Auntie died this week. She was a smoker and she had a lot of cancer. She was only in her fifties. That's young, particularly when you are in your forties. I am no longer prepared to race towards premature death. Other family members who were smokers have also died.

I don't want to set a bad example to my kids or to the kids I teach. I love them and I want to demonstrate living healthy to them. I know it hurts my parents, kids and loved ones to see me smoke. They are scared for me and I can relate to that when I see people I love take risks with their wellbeing. It's not fair. My relationships suffer from this habit.

I enjoy being healthy. I like having circulation in my feet and hands. I like to breath easily when I exercise, or even when I wake up. I want to stop snoring and having sinus pain.

Taste and Smell
I know from my previous quitting times how much better the world can taste and smell.

Time and Money
I want that time and money for more exciting, adventurous and positive things like home improvements, travelling and learning.

I can think of lots of reasons why I smoke. Most of them are historical and have been eclipsed by the addiction. I started smoking when I was young and rebellious and all my friends smoked. Most of the adult women I admired were smokers. I wanted to be like them all. I continued smoking because nobody could tell me what to do. I wanted to be a rebel. I didn't care, I wasn't afraid, it was the least of my bad habits (or so I thought) at times. I thought I was invincible. I was angry and it helped. I wanted a treat - a coffee and a smoke. I didn't want to put on weight by eating a treat instead of having a smoke. I know most of those reasons are redundant or ignorant now. I am just addicted.

I think how is always more important than why. I have learnt a lot from my last experiences. I know I can not have another smoke if I am going to give up, so I am going to rid my home of all butts and buts. I am going to listen to the hypnosis tape each morning whilst I exercise and at night before I sleep. I am going to quit on the last day of school so I have a two week head start before I have to say no to going outside with my smoking buddies at school. I am going to start a room painting project to give me something valuable to do with my time. I am going to take extra vitamin B and eat healthy fresh food. I am booking a massage for myself as my treat and will reward myself with a handbag I have been wanting to buy at the end of the holidays. I know I will have the support of my family and friends. This week I am going to make a treasure map of the lifestyle I want to live when I am free of this addiction. I am letting go of something that no longer serves me and I am ready.
I have read the book Allen Carrs Easy Stop Smoking
I will use the following web pages to support me also:
Natural Therapy
QuitNow - National Tobacco Campaign
Quit Vitoria
Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

goodluck! you can do it! xo

Joh said...

Thanks for that.

Kat said...

best of luck Joh, you'l b in my thoughts.

Joh said...

Thanks Kat, I haven't sent your book yet. Ooops! I have just finished report writing....when are you visiting us anyway???

aussiethinkinggirl said...

I am approaching my 2 year anniversary of having quit after nearly 20 years as a moderately heavy smoker. It's the best decision I ever made.

You're right: you have to do it for the right reasons and it sounds like you are.

A few tips that helped me:

1) Have a list of things you can do instead of smoking. I had a huge list that I carried around with me everywhere. Whenever I had that craving I would find something on my list to do instead. I had a range of things from logging in to an online chat/forum to baking cookies to alphabetising my book and CD collection.

2) Whenever the craving was really bad I would say to myself "you can't have a cigarette for 15 minutes". That seemed like a manageable time period (all smokers can go 15 minutes without one right)? I would find something on my list of things to do and on most occasions I would sail past the 15 minute deadline without a thought. When I DID look for a cigarette after the time limit was up I'd simply go through the whole routine again.

3) Change habits associated with smoking. EG if you always drive/walk to walk the same way and have a smoke at the same point change your route. Or if you go to the same coffee shop for a caffeine and nicotine hit change the shop. I really only had to worry about this stuff for the first few weeks.

4) I read the Alan Carr book too. If you can get your head around to believing that you're not "giving up" something but obtaining a benefit you're half way there.

5) give yourself permission to be an a-hole for a few weeks. You'll be crabby - it's OK.

6) Plan some rewards for yourself at key milestones (end of week one, end of month one etc). You'll be saving a swag of $$ so spend some of it on being kind to yourself (new book, new CD, new ??).

7) If you want to hang out online with people who know what you're going through try quit.com - there's a paid section but I never needed that - just used the free parts of the site - especially the forums - there'll be a group within the forums who share the same quit day/month as you and it's good to be able to chat with people who are having similar experiences - and it's something to do with your hands

Good Luck

Joh said...

2 years, that's great. I look forward to that milestone. Thanks for the great tips, I will keep them in mind.

Snoskred said...

Hey Joh.. ;)

I love the pic at the top of your blog, it's very intriguing. ;) There seems to be a lot of sea sponge there, I rarely see that on our beaches anymore.. :(

Good luck with the quitting thing. I did it myself back in 2003 but quite unwillingly, I got pneumonia. I would highly recommend it as a way to quit smoking because even though I wanted to smoke afterwards I could not manage it however I won't recommend it because it is a little dangerous, and difficult to catch really. I am still not sure quite how I managed it other than going out with wet hair on a very cold day in the middle of summer to a windy place.

So my general advice from that experience would be always dry your hair before going out. But I don't always follow that advice myself, though I do try harder in Winter. ;)