Spilling all the beans of how I’ve quit smoking, so if you need some tips or even just motivation, head on below! But get all cozy tho, it’s a super long post.
Man, sometimes I swear I don’t even believe that I’m not a smoker anymore! Seriously, like I was such an obsessive, super, super passionate smoker, one that never believed can quit it, and I fucking did it. And please, don’t think that I’m exaggerating to “sell the story”, or that I’m being an arrogant ass here, or to get you pumped about quitting… Like I really don’t need to do that. I mean sure, I wanna inspire you to quit smoking cause we all know it – it’s super bad! But I wanna inspire you with the truth, especially given that tomorrow marks a whole year since I’ve stopped smoking and well that’s just so frigging exciting for me! So, now that that’s clear, let me share my story with you. Also, it’s gonna be a long read, so get cozy and everything, and let’s do this!
Actually no, before we really dive into this, I need to say a few more things. One, quitting smoking’s gonna take a while. Even though it may have seemed a little sudden to people around me, and fuck at times even I thought that this happened quickly, it was not! This was a process and I only realize this now, after I’ve quit. It took me at least a year to get to the day I stopped. A year of doing things for my personal betterment, and not all directly related to quitting smoking even. I kinda started changing my mindset about what’s actually good for me and what’s not, and so I wanted to change for my own good. Smoking is now one of the bad habits I USED TO have (for 13 years) & as much as I’d wanna light one up every now and then (fuck I really wanna so bad sometimes!), I’m so glad I resist it every frigging time & that that’s just all in the past.
Two, this was my way of quitting, and while this post here serves to inspire you to (at least consider, if not) quit smoking, it may not be your exact roadmap. Feel me? Like, maybe yours is a different way, maybe the things that worked wonders for me, won’t work shit for you, and that’s okay. The important thing here is taking a step, even if that step just means deciding that you wanna quit smoking or insert any change you want to make in your life here.
STEPS I TOOK TO QUIT SMOKING.
Realizing it can cost me my health and well-being.
I was such an obsessive smoker (especially in the last 5-6 years) that when my friends and I’d talk about quitting, and all of them be like “well when I get pregnant, I’d quit then for sure! Until then..” and I’s like “Uuuhh, not sure if I could pull off not smoking at all for that fucking looong”. It was scary for me thinking that, like what kind of a mother would I be if I’m not able to quit something that hurts the health of my child? I guess that I can give myself some credit here – I can’t really know whether I’d quit smoking when pregnant or not, and the human brain, in a weird attempt to keep us safe, usually jumps to the worst conclusion first, so… Plus, once you’re pregnant and then have the baby, it changes you, it’s no longer about you, it’s about the baby… Still, thinking that I was so not in control at that moment, it was terrifying and disappointing tbh.
But it wasn’t the scariest. No, no. Once you’ve been smoking for more than 10 years (I now have 29 years, and have smoked for 13 years), and more than one pack a day, your body, your organs, shit’s not the same, okay? I was waking up like someone beat the shit out of me, without a will to do anything in the morning. Like, I had to make my bed cause it was also my living room haha, and wash my face + brush my teeth of course, and then it was straight to smoking and coffee making and hating just about everything and everyone haha. Seriously, I was super slow, didn’t wanna do shit, couldn’t breathe through my nose, it was horrible.
And this also wasn’t the scariest. The scariest were the nights. I’d go to sleep, I’d lie in my bed, and I couldn’t fucking breathe, my chest was heavy, mom’s spaghetti haha… Every breath felt like shit was loosening up in there, I’m not kidding. These were the moments I actually started really getting scared about my own health. Like, I loved smoking, and as you can now see too, I was obsessed with it, but fuck you if I’m gonna lose my health, right? Now I didn’t quit right away obviously, but these were the defining moments, this one in particular! This is when I actually seriously started thinking about really quitting.
Self-Care Rituals, not related to smoking, that I think helped me quit.
The last 5 years of my life were in many ways great, but there were also a lot of really fucking hard moments, you know? I’m not gonna get into detail here, plus I’m aware that we all deal with shit, so I’m not gonna make mine special here. But for the story, I’m just telling you that – there were some dark times haha. I realized that I wasn’t feeling myself anymore. I was stressed out, scared, I was super hard on myself about random shit, and I basically felt like shit most of the time. And it kinda pissed me off!
So, I realized that I wasn’t doing anything good for neither myself or the people around me. Feeling like crap is just as it sounds – fucking crappy. And so I started reading, watching videos about anything related to getting your fucking shit together… I started writing a gratitude journal (almost) every day, I started writing down my goals, I started meditating… Not gonna lie, while I really was doing these things pretty often, it wasn’t “erryday, erry damn day” (like Coach says it).
Later on, realizing I needed to get more serious if I wanted to experience positive results, I started actually taking more conscious, planned steps towards taking better self-care of myself and doing it on a daily basis. This also included learning how to actually start loving and accepting myself, cause I really believe that that’s the true way to healing from whatever happened to you & happiness. Like I’ve said it it this post here (that’s filled with super simple acts of self-care, especially if you’re a beginner), I’m still learning, working, growing, but I definitely can see how actually taking these self-love steps has helped me realize that I deserve better than 2 packs of cigarettes a day (the last few years before I’ve quit, I’ve reached 2 packs a day).
Getting Myself Used to the Idea that I’m Actually gonna Quit Smoking.
The last months before I’ve quit smoking, I started thinking about doing it, a lot. I’ve been trying to get used to the idea that I can quit smoking, regaining control or some shit. I thought about how much more fresh and young my skin would look once I’ve stopped smoking (and time has passed of course, also I’ve read somewhere that it takes around 5 years for the body to completely get rid of all the nicotine and return to its non-smoking self haha so 4 more to go!), I won’t smell like a chimney, I’ll be able to take deep breathes without coughing myself into oblivion haha Basically, I started visualizing my life as a non smoker, listing all the great things about quitting.
A Very Helpful Video
My bestie sent me this video of a Macedonian doctor who shares his tips on quitting smoking. If you don’t know Macedonian, here’s what this guy’s basically saying. The first thing to do is to find your motive (similar to what I’ve been explaining in the previous paragraph). Why do you want to quit? The next thing to do is to pick a date to quit smoking, not more than a month. Step number 3 is to share this decision with the people close to you. You’re gonna need their support. Step 4 is to clean your home and your surroundings, like remove all things that remind you of smoking. Step five comes after you’ve stopped – if you’re having troubles, try nicotine patches, gums…
This was super helpful, it was like yet another sign that the time has come – I’m about to quit smoking y’all! However, I did not take all the steps Doctor Aleksandar Mitov (in the video) suggested. I listed all the possible reasons for me to quit, in fact I’ve been kinda doing that for a while, then I set the date for one month (I picked May 1st 2018, but quit April 18th 2018)… I honestly can’t remember rn who did I tell about this decision, I think my parents and some of my friends, why can’t I fucking remember this?
Anyways, that was it, like I didn’t remove shit that reminds me of smoking. Personally, I don’t think that isolating ourselves from that is actually helpful, I think those can not always be as realistic as real-life situations. Like, I may not have cigarettes at home, but I can’t tell my friends or random people around me when I’m out in public not to smoke just because I don’t anymore, that’s my problem, not theirs, right? Still, I agree, having someone that smokes around you when you’re trying to quit isn’t very helpful.
This also proves what I was saying above when I told you that this may not be the right way for you… This guy here is a Doctor, he clearly knows his stuff, but still, not all the steps he recommended worked for me. The first 3 did great, the last 2 didn’t. So all of this may not work at all for you, but don’t get discouraged, just accept the challenge and find your own way (if you really really want to).
The Very Final Straw.
It was mom’s birthday, Angela and I had both bought our packs before going there and went through half of each (so each of us smoked like 10 cigarettes), in like 2-3 hours or so. We came home, and her heart rate started going crazy, and we kinda knew cigarettes had to have something with this. Similar shit has happened to both of us, and it may have happened to you if you smoke a lot… Like, you can’t calm down, you start feeling sick, a little dehydrated even, it’s awful.
This time we got a little more scared than usual, and so we were both like “okay, cigarettes have to have something to do with this, they may not be the very reason, but they can’t be helping, let’s quit rn, why wait, let’s do it now! fuck!” haha quite the pep talk, right? So, we took the packs, and threw them in the trash can! And that was it!
I can’t single out just one of these steps as the main reason why we quit smoking, I really don’t think that I would succeed if it weren’t for all the steps I took, even and actually especially the ones that I wasn’t aware that I’m taking & that are actually helping at the time. Looking back, I feel like I truly wanted to feel better, to be better, which also helped me a lot when I actually stopped smoking, to resist it, you know? Knowing that I’m doing it for myself, I guess at some point I actually started genuinely caring about my body and mind (and I still have a loooong way to go)…
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU REALLY REALLY WANT TO SMOKE A CIGARETTE REALLY BAD?
I honestly had my doubts for so long about me actually being able to quit smoking. I was super surprised for a longer period of time that I wasn’t actually caving and lighting a cigarette. And man, there were challenging moments, of course. The hardest moments for me were those tiny sacred smoking rituals or whatever… Like coffee and cigarettes first thing in the morning, that last one in the quiet dark before going to bed… I never actually reached for a cigarette, but I really wanted to so bad.
However, the really weird part about quitting was that I thought that it would be so, so much harder not to smoke, you know? I thought that, cause I’ve sat with people who’ve quit, they were truly struggling not to light a cigarette, you know? It’s like there’s this urge to smoke that takes full control and all you can think about and wanna do is smoke. And so I thought “That’s me. If I ever decide to quit smoking, that’s how hard it’s gonna be for me”. This was discouraging obviously, and probably was one of the reasons it actually took me so long to make the decision. Not believing in myself that I can actually pull it off.
But, it so so wasn’t. From the moment Angela and I threw our packs in the trash can, that was it. Like, sure I really wanted to smoke at times, but I wasn’t letting it control me or some shit, I don’t even know! It’s like, whenever I felt like I wanted to smoke I just acknowledged the desire and then reminded myself that I simply don’t smoke anymore and why I don’t do it. And at times I wasn’t even thinking about doing that, I just did it, like a reflex or some shit.
Again, this exact thing may not work for you (at the moment), but the main idea here is to try and talk yourself out of it, any way you know. Like, if you too are missing those sacred smoking rituals, replace them with new ones. And if it’s super hard for you, then maybe try embracing new rituals that reinforce your quitting, at least in some way (like meditations, self-help books). You can always ask your friends to help you through this. Like they can be the ones talking you out of that, if you feel like it’s hard for you to do that yourself. We’re all different, so just show a will, and things will work out.
If I, someone who smoked for 13 years, and only ever didn’t smoke when she was can’t-get-out-of-bed sick, who smoked first thing in the morning, and the most of all her girlfriends, have quit smoking, so can anyone else! But you gotta really really want to and know why is it you wanna quit! Just believe in yourself, and if you really want to, you can do this! (I’m repeating the “if you want to” for a reason!)