In sharing my experience of quitting I start with a deeper conversation with myself to dig deeper into the reason and the decision. After putting together a few questions like;
What did I learn from this experience? I have come to understand that habits or addictions form due to situational circumstances and that can appear in many various forms for people. For me, it was smoking. It started when my friend offered me one and then I just continued exploring the idea, sneaking around just to have one. As an adult, It gave me a sense of belonging socially and I really felt this as my inner circle also smoked. At one of my jobs, my desk was near a balcony so I would spend a lot of time outside basking in the sun and sometimes just standing in the cold wind. But what was the experience about? Since I was spending a lot of time with myself, I wish I could remember what I was thinking about. Back then we had no mobile phones that we would search through social media or read news pages. It was just me and myself indulging in that 5-second experience of the nicotine hit to the brain.
I continued to smoke right through my 20s stopping when I fell pregnant and starting up again soon after. I remember in the evenings when the kids where asleep I would make tea and sit outside and just smoke a few and unwind. This was like a ritual that I celebrated with myself every night. Some people sit and watch TV, and others talk to their friends on the phone but I would just take the time out for myself and unwind. As I got busier it became harder to try and get that little bit of time for myself and I do recall smoking less and less at home. But at work, there were no limits and I had a different kind of freedom. The cravings were hard to fend off at home and I know this must have shown in my short temper or outbursts because I just wanted it so bad and would get frustrated. Many nights I was home alone with the children so I would be sneaking out just to get my 5mins of pleasure in the hope that they would not wake up.
In 2007 when I got a new job, I vowed to myself that I would not let these people know that I smoked. I just didn’t want to have that image associated with the smokers group. I also fell pregnant, so the universe had aligned me shortly after landing this new role and I was determined to let it go and not pick it up as I knew my own addiction pattern. I would tell myself just one and then another and I would be hooked again.
Believe you can and you’re halfway there – Theodore Roosevelt
I have been offered a smoke many times since then and have always politely declined because I know that if I just have that one puff I will be hooked again and that is all it takes for me. I have watched others around me stop and start with envy because I just can’t do it. I’m either all in or all out. I have decided my health is too important and I don’t want my children to have to witness me being unwell or to worry my family. There are so many unknown diseases in these times that if I can keep that promise to myself that I made back in 2007 I am winning.