I met up with two Poly mates a few weeks back and it was really nice to see how they’re all different and “grown up” but still the same.
I discovered quite a while back, that you’ll likely remain the same person as in
your childhood, with more dimensions/depth because life requires it and because
mistakes experience produces it. That knowledge really helps with
falling back to a certain level of comfort with people you know “from back then”
because no matter how long you guys haven’t met, they are the same people who
worked thru project crunch times and exams with you =)
So after the introduction to families, catching up and
finishing cupcakes (of course we met up at Twelve Cupcakes =p), I saw two of
them exchanging THE nod.
This nod is universally recognised by all smokers when they
It’s THE Smoke Nod.
One of them turned to me and hesitantly asked “Er… You quit
already is it?”
I said “Uh huh, it’s been quite awhile too….”
Another said “Last time you smoke the most one leh!”
I said “I Know! And I quit! You should too – what if your
7yr old boy tells you that he wants to smoke?”
He said “When he is old enough to buy cigarettes, I cannot
stop him if he wants to ma.”
Which I agree.
I’m all about free will. That’s why I recognise that for
some (at least for me), the reason why you start or stop, is because you want
to or not. There’s not much rocket science to it.
Then why is it such a hard habit to kick? I tried to quit a
few times in the decade that I was smoking but obviously failed until end of
2006 (Hurrah! Smoke free for 6years?!)
For me, I don’t think the addiction was to the nicotine. It
was an addiction to being fidgety, to the hand-to-mouth motion, and to always
doing something. Dan tells me that I’m never stationary, and that my toes are
just like a cat’s tail – they seem to have a life of their own. It was habitual
for me to reach for a cigarette whenever I was in the midst of anything. Almost
like I was trying to prove that I could multitask =p
I also have a rather stubborn competitive streak and
saying “I Quit” just rubs me the wrong way. It’s not an excuse to keep a bad
habit I know, but it’s hard to explain idiosyncrasies.
On top of all of that, there was the vain real concern
that I’ll put on weight because I still had my TV job where you hear about
whether you look like you put on weight or lost weight every other day.
When friends ask me a few years back how I quit smoking
(they seem to have forgotten that I used to smoke at all now), the honest
reason was that I “Didn’t feel like it anymore”.
But when I really thought about it, it wasn’t a random “I
don’t feel like it anymore”. It started from the time “Yellow Boxes” were
introduced and smoking was banned in many places.
It felt like being free to make the choice to smoke, has
curbed my freedom in many other ways. There are the no smoking signs/yellow
boxes to follow; there is the travelling I cannot do because I spent the money
on cigarettes; there is the constant camouflage of cigarette smells because
even smokers don’t like the smell of smoke.
Well, I meant it when I said that I REALLY like being free.
I mean if someone told me to quit, that would be the last thing I’d do. (Thank
you Dan, for always only gently suggesting and never telling me to). If I told
myself that I CANNOT have something, I usually want it more. “I can resist
anything but temptation” was something I really identified with =p
So armed with past failures self knowledge, I knew
that setting Start Dates won’t work for me, neither will throwing everything
cigarette related thing out. (Desperate Resourceful people will buy new
ones on the way out)
The only times I didn’t smoke in the past was when I fell
sick. It was one of those times that my slow approach to quitting started. I
didn’t make a big deal out of it and casually decided to not pick up a
cigarette even though I felt well enough to and there were cigarettes lying
around. I told myself “Just for a day, cos I Want to be smoke free for a day.
It’s not exactly quitting.” And then told myself that for another day. And
another day. Dan noticed after a few days that I haven’t lit up and I told him
yeah, “don’t feel like it”. You know how that story went.
As to the putting on weight problem, it didn’t happen – in
fact I lost some weight because I ate WAY less sweets and stopped stuffing my
mouth with food to mask the smell of smoke. Lucky me? I think so too!
In a nutshell, I think the most important thing to quitting
1) Finding the motivation that works best for you and
2) Finding a method that works best for you
There are many ways to skin a cat so if the thought of
kicking this bad habit has crossed your mind, find a way to realise it! Don’t
know where and how to find a way? HPB has set up a Facebook page so that
inspiration and support is always only a click away. Take a look and see if you
find inspiration, laughs, tears or a really good method to quit from other
In fact, you may want to share it with your smoking friends
because it’s tough to be the only person quitting while your friends puff in
your face. If you cannot stay away from temptation smoking friends, then
rope them in! Everybody can be quitters together. Their skin, hair, fresh
breath and non smoking loved ones around them will love you more for it =)
I’m still quite incredulous when I remember the old days
when I had to have my fix. How was I ok with sitting in a cloud of smoke for 10
years? I can barely stand being near smoke now cos I imagine it to wrinkle my
skin the moment there’s contact =p Paranoid right?
But that aside, I have since realised that I absolutely love
being free of the smell of smoke; I love being free of having to find a place
to smoke (Bye bye yellow boxes!); and I love not having to carry The pouch
(ciggies, lighter and mints) around.
I just really enjoy being free. What about you?