Thursday, 3 September 2015

How I quit smoking on the first try

It's so hard to believe I was a smoker. All my childhood I hated the smell of smoke. Both my parents smoked and they smoked inside the house, at the dinner table..the worst was in the car. I remember being so grossed out by them, the smell gave me headaches and made me feel nauseous. I would ask my mom to stop when we were in the car but she would just roll her window down. 

Fast forward to when I was in my first month of university, partying with friends, dancing and drinking it up.....and literally every single person was smoking. I'm not even sure why I did, I know I regretted it for the next 5 years...but I asked my friend for a cigarette and I smoked it. 

I literally went from being so grossed out by smokers to smoking a pack a day. Stopping outside of class for a smoke. Meeting a friend for a smoke. Smoking in my apartment. After meals. At bars. Smoke breaks at work. It took over my daily life so quickly I would end up searching in my couch for spare change to buy smokes. Asking to bum smokes when I was out. And over the course of 5 years it started to take it's toll on me.

I was sick...a lot. I think I had a constant cold for weeks at a time. My chest hurt badly. I always felt like sh*t. I would go to bed at night and ask myself "when will you stop this?" "will I be able to stop?" "how will you stop?"

One day I woke up after a night of being super sick. Food poisoning kind of sick. I actually remember it being one of the worst nights of my life. I woke up from that, went to the living room... and lit a smoke. I got the spins, my body shook, it felt like I was going to drop dead.

The next day I decided I was done. Not one of those halfhearted "I'm going to try to quit" kinda things, I was 100% DONE. I flipped this switch in my mind. I was not going to feel like this anymore. Don't get me wrong, it was not easy, but honestly, it really wasn't that hard either. I read somewhere that nicotine stays in your system for 11 days, (no idea if that's true) so I decided that would be my goal. 11 days. After that, it's about breaking the habit. 

One day at a time I fought through. The key to my success was my friends I was surrounded with. Even though they all smoked, they all encouraged me, completely supported me, gave me daily kudos at what a great job I had been doing. "Congrats on your 4th day!!" I made it to day 11 and I thought I had this beat. 

But to be honest, the hardest part wasn't quitting the nicotine, it was quitting the habit. After meals was the hardest for me. For about 20 minutes after every dinner I would think about having a smoke. Not taking advantage of a smokers work break..very difficult. I tried to substitute having a smoke break with "having a snack break" which lead to putting on weight. 

But even though I did put on a few pounds, I was feeling noticeably better. I wasn't nauseous all the time, I felt I could breathe and smell again and I had way better sleeps. I was becoming proud of my achievement and slowly it changed into a mission, a statement to show everyone that you can quit this habit. It made me feel good about getting through each day. Friends and family kept on giving me a reason to push through and slowly but surely I was celebrating one month, 2 months, 6 months, a year since I quit smoking. It's been 10 years since I quit and I never looked back. 

I would say the key to quitting is: 

YOU have to want it. 100%. It won't happen if you just try, you need to commit and just do it. 

Have a great support system around you to keep you motivated.

Substitute your smoke breaks with other things. For me it was a lot of gum and sugar free candy and snacks. 

Remember it is possible. You just have to want it. And it's SO worth it!!

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