Mama don’t smoke no mo’ [part one]

I sat for a good five minutes trying to figure out a title for my blog post. Couldn’t get anymore literal than that though. So, there you have it. After 8 years as a smoker, I’m PROUD to admit that I’ve finally kicked the habit. Don’t get me wrong, it was super hard, and sometimes I’m so tempted beyond control. But it got easier as the days, weeks and months ticked by.

As I read my previous blog post, I’m stoked at how far I’ve come, and the belief and confidence I’ve built in myself. I also realize the weak mentality that smoking had reduced me to. But now, I can literally achieve anything with the right mindset and tools. In saying that, I completely understand smokers, smoking, and the habit that can grip you, and refuse to let go- it’s not easy!

So I thought to put a few tips and tricks together, from a former smokers perspective. This will be of interest to anyone stuck in a rut about giving up, sitting on the fence, or who have thoughts about it but don’t know where to start. This will also be handy for family who don’t understand the internal challenges that smokers trying to give up are facing. It’s one of the most difficult roads to walk at times, but with the right support, mindset and tools, you can beat this.

It might take you one attempt or 12542424 attempts. The key is to continue trying

Ain’t that the damn truth. It took me 10 months of trying 1254243 times, before I finally got the swing of things. Every Sunday I would say, “nah, that’s it, this is my Monday to give up.”  By Wednesday I was pretending like that conversation never happened with my inner self, and was back smoking up a storm. Every Sunday I would smoke whatever I had left in my packet. If I had nothing left I would buy a fresh packet and smoke the whole thing by midnight. I was saying farewell to my “last puff” over and over [and over] again. Every Monday was a “new day.” And if the first of the month fell on a Monday, ooooh best believe I was gonna be a new man that day and turn a new leaf in life!

Trying and trying again got tiring though. I had to go through the 3 day detox period over again, every week. This became part of my routine and I was getting hoha with myself. However that all changed when a loved one noticed my million attempts and had a mock of my situation, which put my ass into gear.

We were driving home one day, and I was going on and on about giving up again. “Yeah nah, last time for reals now.  I didn’t have the right food this week and so-and-so stressed me out, that’s why I failed blah blah blah.” He turned around and says, “You know you? You know what your nickname is? Your name is StartAgainMonday.  Coz every  Sunday we have the same conversation about you starting again on Monday!”

We laughed about it, and I had comebacks for days, but for some reason that moment kept replaying in my head. Wow! I am actually full of shit. I think I’m doing myself a favour by “trying” every week, but never once have I conquered what I set out to do!

7 months later, here I am.  No longer StartAgainMonday.

“It helps me to de-stress”

Funnily enough, smoking actually causes and/or enhances the stress. Which means you are de-stressing from the stress that smoking is piling onto the existing stress. [that’s far too much stress man]. You can choose to believe me, or not. But once you kick it, you will definitely understand what I mean. Don’t believe the hype- it’s the habit sucking you in!

Tbh- I am less stressed now than I have ever been. Smoking is filling your head with fake stress that you don’t need cuz, trust.

“I’m gonna put on weight”

THIS WAS ME. For a loooooong time I didn’t want to face the fear of packing on the pounds. But this is just another smoke screen excuse holding us back from improving our health! If you start putting on them kilos, it’s simple really- do something about it! So you don’t mind putting yourself at risk of health problems like cancer, but as long as you are skinny, right? Yep, your metabolism is a lot lower without smoking, but like anything your body gets used to its’ new digs- your body will adjust to your new lifestyle.

I’ve put on a total of 1 kilo- you might actually surprise yourself and put on next to nothing.

What works for others, won’t necessarily work for you

Trust me when I say I have tried every single method of madness created to curb smoking. I got the stop smoking book, the champix pills, nicotine patches, zyban pill, chewing gum, vapor. EVERYTHING. Sometimes a combination of stuff, sometimes one by one. I’ve been part of smoking support groups, research groups, gave up with a mate, gave up with a cousin. Been there, done the lot. What did I use in the end to give up?

None of them. Cold turkey.

But what I appreciated the most was the book “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by Allan Carr. It gave me the tools and mentality to overcome the habit. It helped me understand that its all in your head. It helped me understand that nicotine is a drug. And lastly it helped me figure out how to overcome cravings and develop a routine that suited me. Not you, or my mum [who gave up after 30 years when she got the flu?!].

I will address the methods and processes in part two of this series, if you can call it a series. I’m basically just vomiting thoughts on the page.

My last tip

Judging us doesn’t help.  Your remarks don’t help either.

I know that sounds harsh, but one type of person I cant STAND, is a judgmental person who has no empathy, compassion or patience. Most of my friends don’t fit in this category, but hey – if the shoe fits, cuz. Js.

Here’s a list of some remarks that get the Jonaan eyeroll -_-

“Oh I thought you gave up ages ago.”

“You still smoking?”

“Hasn’t the price gone up? How can you afford that?”

“Poo, you stink.”

“You just had a smoke aye.”

While writing this, I wanted to add my sarky, patronizing answer backs that I would usually say in my head. Answer backs like,  shaaaarduuuupp!

The point is, these are harmful, not thoughtful, judgmental and quite frankly unhelpful. If you ain’t got anything constructive to say then it’s best to just be quiet.

Well, there you have it folks. My top five tips/insights into the world of a smoker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Moon

I’m blank af.  Staring at this blog site, wondering why the hell I decided to sign up. Wondering “what have you got to offer? You can’t even write a damn paragraph no more.” And rightly so, as I realize how long it’s been since I’ve tried to think creatively. I’ve been stuck in a world of logic, professionalism, ivory towers. I work to bang my head against a wall. I drive home complaining about the arduous bullshit and 9-5 hustle. The extent of my writing is emailing, report writing, task sheets.

I lost sight of any sense of creativity.

Studying like a lunatic taught me how to write how they want you to write. I had no space in my head to be myself. I  was programmed to tick the boxes, structure my arguments, reason my opinion. Where did I go?

I proudly admitted to my other half that I used to submit poetry to the Listener magazine. And published at 14. Lol.

I owned books and books full of poetry and creative writing and my thoughts. Pages of heart and soul. No logic, no structure, just whatever I wanted.

Much to what I’m doing now. Doing me, not an examiner. Or manager. Just me.

So back to being blank af. . I’m glaring at the screen and catch glimpse of the 4 piece canvas prints of New York I have hanging on my wall. And the aboriginal poster hiding the hole I haven’t fixed. And the print of the balloon girl- releasing her heart into the wind. The numerous photos of my daughter. And I feel at ease.

This is me. My life. My writing. Doing whatever the hell I want through word. Getting back to that girl who owned stacks of books and read novels. And ran the block without dying.

yes.

Chimney

For the hundredth time, I’m giving up my addiction. This freakin’ prick has held me captive for seven years and counting, and time and time I again I’m drawn back.

It’s a sick, sick cycle.

So once again, I’m declaring my “nah, honest this is it,”oath again. For the hundredth time I said goodbye to that last puff of Pall Mall Blue 20’s after spending my hard earned dimes on a drug that has withered my young life.

But that’s all good with me, because tomorrow is a new day. And I’m ready to grab it by the neck and chokehold this shit. Far too literal.

Thought it’d be good to begin my day doing some form of “exercise,” if that means dragging my ass out at 5:30am. K lets give this shit a good try. Or maybe tomorrow night? Just maybe.

I’m looking forward to the challenge and using this as a venting machine to my demise. I wonder where God’s about to take me.