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09th Apr 2024

‘I’m trying to quit smoking and it’s tougher than I thought’



Smoking is like a personality trait for me

On a night out, I’m always the one with the Mayfairs people come to when the old habit comes creeping into the heads after one too many.

The smoking area is my safe space away from the noise, and lights and if we’re being honest it’s the place to be to get the gossip.

Now, I’m no fool, I know why cigarettes are called cancer sticks but when I picked up the habit it was at a time in my life when I just didn’t care.

Covid lockdowns were a thing, my mental health was in the absolute gutter, there was a lot of other stuff going on in my personal life, and getting out for a smoke was a welcome escape.

So it started with one or two, chain-smoking when I drank, running out for a smoke when things got overwhelming until I could put away half a pack or more stone-cold sober.

For some out there that might not sound like a lot but if you listen to my wheeze right now you might change your mind.

So, why have I decided to quit now?

quit smoking
Credit: Canva

Simply put it’s costing me too much and I don’t mean in terms of buying cigarettes I mean in doctor’s bills.

Right now I have the worst chest infection I’ve had in a long time, a wheeze follows every breath I take and it’s not fun, my chest and back hurt from coughing, and let’s not even touch the price of antibiotics and steroids.

I’ve had chest infections before from smoking but this one scared me, it got to a point where I was lying in bed listening to my lungs crackle wondering if this was the time I had to call for an ambulance.

Now that could well be very dramatic and panicking over breathing does make it harder to breathe but I think it was the wake-up call I needed.

So here I am trying to quit and I HATE it.

To say it’s not easy is an understatement

Even writing about cigarettes has me wanting to light one up right now if I’m being 100% transparent.

I’m not here to pretend like I’m some sort of walking saint who has it figured out, I really don’t. If I’m being honest I’ll admit I’ve never been more of a b*tch in my life.

I don’t have my scapegoat away from stress, I find myself thinking about cigarettes a lot and I’ll be honest I haven’t made it a full day without one just yet, though the max I’ve had is three and a half down from like 10 or 15 a day.

I have notions about myself and sometimes they’re great, they can push me to do things I wouldn’t have thought possible years ago but the notions aren’t making quitting the smokes any easier.

Notions don’t really help the cravings go away and often times they just make me crabby because I feel like something should be easy when it’s not.

So what am I doing to actually help myself quit smoking?

Well, whinge on the internet is what I can sense a few of you are thinking and to that, I say, “Yes, and?”

All jokes aside there are things I’ve been doing to keep the cravings at bay as I wheeze my way both to recovery and nicotine-free life and while some might sound ridiculous I really don’t care because they’re helping me.

  • When the shakes and the jittery feeling get really bad I stick on some music and just dance my way through it until I forget I want to smoke. Not easy when I’m wheezy but I’m still going.
  • Keeping my hands busy is a big one, I smoke out of boredom or just feeling fidgety so if I can make a puzzle, build some Lego, or just draw it tends to help.
  • Making sure I’m having three meals a day at least is a big one, I used to replace the occasional meal with a cigarette when I was busy which is another bad habit all of its own
  • Thinking about the money I’m saving. Does it sound selfish and silly? Yes, but isn’t it better I’m putting the cash towards a holiday instead of a pack of smokes or more doctor’s visits?
  • Being patient. It’s not something that I’m good at, in fact, I’m terrible at it but I’m trying not to punish myself for having cravings or giving in once or twice. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and I’ll get there.