In 1970 I took my first puff of a cigarette. I distinctly remember being with a friend at an older kid's house and she offered a puff of a Kool cigarette. Made me dizzy as heck, but it made me look cool. An introvert trying to fit in. Well, gee, that was the ticket. Then came the army jacket, POW bracelets, Nixon and high school. Back then, I was only an occasional smoker.
Then alcohol came a knocking and what went better than a beer and a smoke. Back then it was legal to drink at 18 and I took advantage of it. It only took about 6 years to become a full-time, full-fledged smoker. I was already up to a pack a day. If I went out drinking that night, that was 2 packs. That went on for the next 30-odd years. I never had a substantial quit really only because I kept drinking and found no need to quit.
Back in the late '70s and '80s, smoking was only seen as a habit. Something that can be kicked. It's only smoking cigarettes. Sure, they had those warnings on the packs, birth defects, health risks, lung cancer. It wasn't until 1999 that messages started to appear that smoking was addictive. What, addictive? What in the world are they talking about, addictive? I remember reading those warning labels and just thought, yeah, yeah, I'll quit some day.
Then the prices started to soar. I remember back when I could forge a note from mom for the corner store and buy a pack for a quarter. When I turned 16, I just had to flash either an ID or a license to get a pack. I remember when cigarette machines were in bars and you had to plunk all those quarters in to buy a pack. The last time I bought a pack out of those machines it was $5.00 a pack. Those machines are banned where I live. I have no clue what cigarettes cost now. The last carton I bought was $63.00. I was going through at least a carton and a half before I quit pack in 2016.
Reflecting back as I always do near my anniversary date, my main advice to people is to follow the steps on this site to quit. Track your cigarettes before you quit to understand when and why and really how often you need to light up. I know in my instance, I was a chain smoker. I lit up one after the other. When I had to stop and log into the site every time I lit one up, I had to think for those few minutes about what time is it, why do I feel a need to light up, what's triggering this, maybe I can wait for another 5, 10, 15 minutes longer.
Then I moved on to the next step of what do I plan to do instead of lighting up, what am I going to replace a flick of my Bic with. When you get to the point where you're cutting down, you will end up with only a few times a day where you're really, really craving, wanting to smoke. Those will be your biggest obstacles, but they can be overcome. Find something to do instead of lighting up. Throw a piece of gum in your mouth when you have a morning ritual that you're struggling to overcome. Find something else to conquer your afternoon routine. And then finally the last one, try maybe meditation for your evening craving.
My last little tidbit of advice for quitters is quit drinking for 6 months. Quit doing any kind of recreational drugs or alcohol for that period. Don't allow yourself the permission to give in once a week or once a month. Trust me, that quit will disappear in a heartbeat. Why? Because your inhibitions and decision-making ability is clouded. You're more impulsive during those times. I was a heavy drinker before I quit. I made a date to quit on 12/31/2015. I was having a “bad” day on 1/23/2016 and drank and smoked a pack of cigarettes. 23 days down the toilet. 1/25/2016, I jumped right back on and never looked back.
I always said I would never quit. I always said I could quit whenever I wanted to. I always said quitting can't be that hard. I'm telling you it's not easy, but it can be done. Commit yourself, stick to your plan, read blogs under Newbie Quitters, Relapse Prevention, General Quitting Support. Write your blogs, profess your truths, ask for help. But never, ever, ever give up. Get prepared, gain your knowledge, and slay this dragon called nicotine...........