Well I bet that title baffles you? It is true that I stopped smoking over 25 years ago but I never gave up smoking!
I’m not s person to take orders very well or satisfy demands. Giving up doesn’t sit too well with me while choosing to stop is powerful.
So you get my drift. As a twenty a day smoker and thirty or more if out on the town, I got to the stage where I just wanted to get out of the habit. It was more for financial reasons than health reasons I have to say. I had attempted before and lasted quite a few months and the motivation was to save money for a beautiful gold fob necklace I saw in an antique shop. However as soon as I raised the cash it didn’t take much persuasion after a drinking session to start again.
It was a couple of months later and a move into my beautifully decorated cottage that convinced me I wanted to be a non smoker. The smell after I puffed away watching TV was horrible. The ash trays annoyed me and I hated forking out for fags now that I was a home owner and needed more money to run my little nest. So I decided to stop. But not straight away. Here’s how I managed it.
As a smoker I smoked first thing in the morning with my first cup of tea. Then it would go on willy nilly until I’d be through almost fifteen cigarettes.
So I decided to really smoke! As in to mindfully smoke that first cigarette of the day! What this means is you sitting yourself up in a comfortable chair with your cigarette packet and lighter and you observe the action of smoking. Taking the cigarette out of the packet, running it along your nose to get a whiff of the fresh unsmoked tobacco , placing it between your lips, lighting the cigarette and watching the flame flicker as you connect flame and cigarette and watch the two connect to create a red burning ash and a snake of cigarette smoke . You inhale the smoke and feel it travel down along your throat hitting the sidewalks, and moving into your lungs. You then blow out the smoke and watch it disperse into the air as you feel the first rush of relaxation in your muscles and bones. The hit, that first hit of nicotine. You sit back and take it all in. And then you repeat the process being mindful of every pull until you reach the end and slowly put the cigarette out into the ash tray now full of ashes and bring your fingers up to your nose to smell the remains of the now burnt cigarette. After all that take stock of your feelings? Was it fun, relaxing, do you want that feeling again? After the first hit of nicotine did the hits lose its shine? Be honest and record the experience and before moving from the chair make a conscious decision when your next date with a cigarette will be. The only rule of this game is that you smoke mindfully.
No rushing a fag between work breaks or hiding outside buildings. You must sit and ponder and give all your attention to that cigarette in your hand. For me I decided to put my cigarette on the mantel piece and look at it occasionally. I would talk to it! Crazy? Yes but also interesting. I would say “I’m going to have you after lunch and lap you up “I then found if I was working or had chores in the house to do I would work away and look forward to sitting for my cigarette after lunch. Then I’d make another date after my four o clock cuppa. Again I would revel in the pleasure of that freshly lit cigarette but found this constant thinking and feeling the experience I noticed the stale taste of the after smoking mouth leaves. I noticed it was unpleasant and began to brush my teeth after smoking. The gorgeous fresh taste of a clean freshly brushed mouth was so much more enjoyable. But the longing for a fag remained so the next date was after dinner along with a glass of wine. Now this was always when the madness of chain smoking began. As the wine went down the cigarettes followed, one after the other until I barely noticed or cared that I was smoking. But as I committed to my mindful smoking again the next day, the pleasure of the cigarette lost its shine, just a little. I also discovered I was smoking less. How did I discover that? Because during my binge smoking the night before I didn’t have to go looking for another packet! I had only smoked four mindful fags the day before! Four as opposed to fourteen! I was dumbfounded! I hardly noticed because the four I smoked were given so much attention where the fourteen were smoked without me even noticing.
That’s what a habit is. You do something so often it becomes a way of life and you don’t notice you are doing it. Like driving a car! You drive so often you can manoeuvre the car without really thinking about it! Good and bad habits are the same. So as I carried on the practice of mindful smoking I decided rather than have a fag at four o clock I would wait until six. By the time six o clock came I was so proud of myself I waited until nine. No, that’s a lie! I did have my well deserved fag at six! But I managed to hold out the next day because the pride in me began to outweigh the pleasure of the cigarette. In fact, the pleasure was fading as I began to get in the habit of brushing my teeth after having a cigarette. My clean freshly brushed mouth was far nicer than my cigarette mouth. So slowly the number of cigarettes began to decrease. The pride I felt was amazing and as a woman with addictive tendencies I began getting addicted to my power over the fag!
I was in control, I was super woman! I decided when I smoke. A cigarette remained on the mantel piece. I can smoke whenever I want to. I’m in charge. It felt wonderful and the taste of food became stronger, my home became cleaner, my body became healthier. But I know I can smoke whenever I want to. It’s my choice. In twenty five odd years I have never smoked another cigarette. Apart from the pull of a cigar in Florida!
So you see. I never gave up cigarettes. I never went through patches, hypnosis, the feeling of being left out when all around us smoking. Also at the beginning I may have had an odd cigarette for a while. But rather than beat myself up for being weak I saw it as a choice I made at the time and discovered it was no great shakes so it reassured me that my strong choice to not smoke was a far greater feeling than my weak moment . It’s only a moment and it was over fast. My not smoking time had gone into weeks. It’s now years and I can have a fag if I want one. But you see I don’t want one! How about you? Fancy a cigarette? Or would you consider taking excellent care of yourself and decide to smoke mindfully until you realise they are no great shakes and that holiday is far closer to reality if you choose to even gift yourself a jar with endless ten euro notes piling up the less you make the choice to Not smoke ! The very best of luck. Enjoy your fag…. Until you don’t.!