We just did and never looked back :). That’s the short version. Truth is that it was a good combination of lucky shots later proved as very good tricks, plus a really good dose of willpower. We still consider it one of the best things we’ve ever done for ourselves and we hope quitting at that moment in life was enough to stop any long term damage to our bodies.
First of all, we knew the moment will come months before. We planned we’re not going to linger for too long into smoking so that we’re as clean as possible when a child would pop in the picture. Andreea took the courage and started reading a book stating that, if the reader would finish it, then quitting smoking will be imminent. She read it, she smoked her last, tasted like shit and bitter guilt, and she just quit. No idea if it was the book or she just really wanted to do it.
This is the book by the way – it has some really cool ideas.
I, on the other side, believed that willpower shouldn’t be coming from a book, but from within, so I didn’t want to read the book but also the news that Andreea quit was quite short. She just came home and said “I don’t smoke anymore” (she does that, by the way; this is also how she told me she doesn’t eat meat anymore). So I also tried to smoke one or two more (oh, the looks she gave me…), but I also wanted to support her knowing that she’s going to support me back. So… 6th of October 2011 was our last day of smoking.
It was a Thursday, so here comes the first trick – first day we didn’t smoke was Friday. Anyone will find it hard to keep themselves busy while all your smoker co-workers are tempting you outside for a quickie. But for a day, that should be ok, any smoker can fast quite easily for about a day. The worst you’ll ever feel when quitting smoking is during the first 3-4 days. The trick is that if you stick those days during a weekend you’ll reduce the amount of temptations to the minimum. And the rest of the time – the weekend, that is – make sure you – and your partner, if the case is similar to ours – don’t really meet up with anyone you know that smokes. Isolate yourself in a small bubble for the time of the withdrawal.
Back to being two of us, if you’re with a partner, make sure they’re fully committed too. It would be the best idea for both to quit at the same time, but even if not, they must commit to getting any temptation out of the way and supporting you all the way through.
Now, during the weekend, your desire to smoke will get stronger. You’ll have roughly at least 24-36 hours since you quit, you’ll start seeing cigarettes all over the place. So if you just sit and think of that, chances are you’ll break. So the most important thing is to just do something. Go shopping, cook, clean the house, do something that requires more energy than usual, because slow paced activities might not keep your mind busy enough.
Throw away any left over cigarettes. I’m serious about this. I heard many people saying that they’re more calm knowing that the cigarettes are there, even if they won’t smoke. That’s a false sense of security, you must start relying on yourself and find real friends, cigarettes don’t listen or understand you.
Your sleep will probably be rougher than usual, it’ll pass. You’ll feel dizzy at times. It’ll also pass. After 3-4 days, all these should go away, but you still need to keep yourself away from the smokers. But the hardest part should have gone by now, you’ll find it a lot easier to think of day to day activities rather than smoking. There’s one thing worth mentioning though: we had dreams about smoking and Andreea still has dreams 5 years later, but that doesn’t mean she wants to smoke, it’s just one of those weird things our brains do. No, let me rephrase that: Andreea still has nightmares about ME smoking :). The thought about us ever going back to that is too much for her.
The body is completely clean of nicotine in 3 weeks, so now it’s completely up to you and your willpower. In general try to avoid the activities that were usually associated with smoking, like drinking alcohol, some social activities, boredom, etc. We went for a pint around 3 weeks after we quit and it didn’t make us smoke. Of course, try as much as possible to stay together with your partner, because you will both support each other and you’ll be stronger in resisting the temptations.
We started drinking tea to replace the breaks we used to take for smoking at work, so start making new habits that are good for you. Of course, filling yourself up with food is a really bad idea, and I’m talking about any kind of food intake – nuts, snacks, juices, meals, sweets, etc.
Months after we quit, we started to see the difference: we were feeling better and food had a different taste. We also started to see all the bad things about smoking in other people – the smell, the rough skin and the complete ignorance of the fact that some people don’t smoke. In Romania you can still smoke anywhere you want and every time we go back home and go out with our friends we end up having to wash all our clothes after just a couple of hours in a bar (Update: Not anymore!). And we ask ourselves why did we do that? We were probably following a trend, we wanted to be cool and part of a community. But things have changed nowadays and we wish more people would see that. Being healthy is the new trend, embrace it!
Did you use to smoke and quit? Do you have any other tips? Are you a smoker trying to quit? What do you find hardest?