Here’s the problem: smoking is awesome! Fact: smoking is awesome! Disclaimer: I will smoke again before I die. You don’t know me; you don’t know what I’ve been through. However, I didn’t want to waste the prime of my life, or setup a slow and painful death down the road; so I resolved to quit smoking, and *it finally happened* some three years ago now.
Ashley Williams wrote a creative post about smoking before the New Year, which jogged my memory and provoked me to share my method in writing for once. Ashley’s analysis determined that smoking is the perfect game, she goes on to discuss why and how to counter-game the perfect game. My thought process was much simpler, smoking is a habit. I won’t go so far as to call it a bad habit… Well, smoking is an addiction really… Whatever, what I will say is, we subconsciously smoke in response to some sort of trigger: basic withdrawal, stress, etc. Like getting over a girl, the key should easily be replacement, except that doesn’t work. Not with the terrible taste and texture of Nicorette gum, not with Nicotine patches, despite their boastful claims about increased quitting rates, real statistics show those rates are in the single percentages after six months!
If you can quit for a week, then nicotine has completely left your system, the fight should be over; that’s as far as a replacement will take you. What will close the door behind you is identifying the external trigger: the crutch. I replaced cigarettes with water, started drinking more water than I ever had before, which sadly equates to drinking ANY amount of water. I still can’t swim… Anyways, one night I’m out with friends for drinks and caught wind of a craving in the making – therein lay my premonition: alcohol was my crutch! I couldn’t, and still can’t imagine drinking alcohol without smoking a cigarette. I suspect that your crutch is similarly not as addictive, and easier to quit than cigarettes.
Maybe you’re a social smoker who can manage a single cigarette on off-nights, during the occasional drink with friends, after sex, or generally rarely, all of which greatly differed from my situation. I smoked a pack per day for a minimum of seven years. The concept of cigarette conservation didn’t come into effect, until New York introduced budget-busting cigarette tax hikes. I never would have quit if I lived in a state with five dollar packs. On days that I couldn’t afford my addiction, I learned that smokers are some of the most charitable people you’ll ever meet. Try asking a perfect stranger for a stick of gum, smokers are twice as amenable for twice the cost. We’re a good community restricted to the fringes of public parks and college campuses. I probably wouldn’t date a smoker, because of my increased chances of remission, but I will own that you still smell damn good to me ladies.
Somehow, I put all of my warm fuzzy feelings towards smokers and smoking aside, made a conscious decision to quit, and did so with a healthy replacement and an easily identifiable crutch in mind. That’s how I quit smoking. Be warned: my life is boring! I spend Friday nights editing blog posts for goodness sake…