LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM GIVING UP SMOKING

A year ago today, I gave up smoking.

*yes yes, thank you, well done me, I AM so amazing, you are absolutely right*

After almost a decade of reliance, on 24th February 2018, I made the decision that I was going to give this whole quitting thing a go. On the eve of the 23rd I got hopelessly drunk with a friend, smoked an entire packet of Marlborough Golds and woke up the next morning, desperately hungover and ready to stop.

A year on and although that last cigarette smoked in the early hours of the 24th would not be my last ever, that was the last day I would allow myself to succumbed to that addiction. I know with all confidence that I will never go back to full time smoking. The idea of a pre-breakfast cigarette, once a moment treasured above all others, is now enough to turn my stomach. The smell of my hair after a smokey night spent in a pub garden, once something that went unnoticed is now a source of great annoyance. And the idea of dropping what once seemed like a reasonable £12 every other day on a packet of fags is now possibly the most ridiculous extravagance I could imagine.

Although I did give in to a temptation or two over the last year (normally after a glass of wine or six) and allow myself a little puff or a cheeky rolly in the hot Sri Lankan sun last summer or as a birthday treat, I know that I will never go back to the throes of active addiction that I once called home.

Not least of all because a quick calculation recently, surmised that in the past fag free year, I have saved over £3000. No. I can’t believe it either.

So yes, I’ve given up smoking.

Sometimes I miss it, as I watch people sit outside cafes in the winter sun, cuddling their coffees and dragging absentmindedly on their cigarettes, but for the most part, I am deeply grateful to my past self for kicking a habit that my present self is way better off without.

And since I now realise that I am the pious ex-smoker of still-smoking-people’s worst nightmares, I thought I’d take a few minutes to bask in my own smug satisfaction and impart some pearls of wisdom that kicking an addiction I honestly and truthfully thought I’d have for the rest of my life taught me….

Before I crack on with that though, I’m re-sharing something I wrote two months after I gave up on ~how~ I did it, just in case you’re considering giving this quitting malarkey a go….

  • My natural musk is pretty great.
  • Running is WAY easier these days.
  • Cycling is WAY easier these days.
  • Everything is WAY easier these days.
  • Anything is possible, if you can take it one day at a time.
  • Airport smoking rooms, once a treasure trove of possibility are now the most revolting nicotine boxes imaginable and I don’t miss them at all.
  • I smelled worse than I thought I did.
  • I have more will power than I every gave myself credit for.
  • The lining of my handbag looks really nice without it’s light dusting of tobacco.
  • It’s really nice not to be tutted once an hour when out and about.
  • My right hand doesn’t naturally look like Homer Simpsons.
  • It is possible to have a house filled with fresh air.
  • Cigarettes are literally the worst thing to spend money on; thousands of pounds and nothing to show for it other than shortness of breath and an increased chance of lung cancer.
  • Smoking wasn’t as cool as I thought it was.
  • Counting to ten is a fairly effective way of controlling your emotions.
  • Long distance journeys are ten thousands times more enjoyable when you’re not a slave to an addiction.
  • Food tastes way better than it used to.
  • Things smell way nicer than they used to.
  • Giving up smoking was much easier than I thought it would be.
  • No one ever really “NEEDS” a cigarette.
  • Queueing for forty minutes to leave a nightclub just to stand in the pissing rain and fill my lungs with shitty tar talking to people that I don’t really like only to queue to get back into the club again was the most ridiculous waste of time.
  • Promising yourself that you’ll “quit when you’re [insert far off but relatively achievable date in the future here]” is a load of shit. You’ll only quit when you absolutely want to quit and deadlines and ultimatums will not help.
  • The time spent practising smoke rings would have been better spent doing literally anything else.
  • Giving up smoking is a bloody impressive thing to do and, although it was easier than I thought it would be, the strength of mind taken to do it will not be underestimated. Having said that, it was worth it and I’d do it again forty times over. For every one thing that makes me miss it, there will be ten things that will make me realise how much better my life is without it. A bloody brilliant thing to do and, as boring as it sounds, I cannot recommend it highly enough.


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