- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Stop Smoking - Confession of a Nicotine Addict
I am a long term victim of nicotine addiction determined to finally give up the filthy habit of cigarette smoking today, now, this instant, yes - cold turkey. To help me fight withdrawal symptoms I have decided to publish these Confessions Of A Nicotine Addict , so wish me luck.
There is a cigarette butt in a very small ashtray; one of those lovely green glass ones. That is the very last cigarette I will have smoked, ever, definitely. Otherwise I’ll die of suffocation, lack of breathing, lung cancer, throat or tongue cancer, or God only knows what other horrible death.
Don't even Start
I smoked my first cigarette at age fourteen when my brother Tom, now a sociology professor, tempted me in taking a puff. "Go on, try it, it's great!" he said. The year was 1968. Every one was smoking then. I used to admire how my mum and her friends pulled in the smoke through the mouth and then, as if by magic, it would come out in two neat swirls out of their nostrils. How did they do that? My brother could even blow rings. He was sixteen. ‘It’s really nice,’ he said, ‘makes you all dizzy’. So that is how I began. I pulled on the fag and coughed. Tom explained how I should inhale. Then I coughed even more, got all dizzy and had to lie down on the bed.
In those days it was a matter of personal preference. There was not the health scare and public stigma attached to smoking. People did not know smoking could cause lung cancer. Like today people don’t seem to know that a daily intake of more than one glass of alcohol can cause brain and liver damage. Neither are they interested in the health hazards of meat and dairy products. In a couple of decades from now, eating animal products may become as socially incorrect as smoking is today. Stop digressing Sue, smoking is filthy.
I have tried giving up smoking several times in my life. When I was nineteen I had a boyfriend, Ben who did not smoke and did not like me smoking. I said I’d given up while in the mean time always had a cigarette or a but hidden in the long metal cover of a short eyebrow pencil in my make-up bag. Then every time I went to the toilet I took a few puffs on the sneak . Soon enough Ben found out. He could obviously smell my bad smoker's breath; so then my smoking was out in the open, official again, I was no longer an undercover smoker.
Who are you Kidding?
The only person I can now kid is myself. So when I wake up in the middle of the night with a cough attack because I cannot breathe, I tell myself: ‘give up smoking!’ and at that moment I am determined to give up. Come the next day I change my mind and carry on smoking. It has often happened that I have thrown away my tobacco and papers (carefully wrapped up in a plastic bag) only to retrieve them again out of the rubbish a few hours later. Crazy!
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I Gave up Smoking
More recently I gave up smoking again, feeling very self-righteous for about three weeks (picking up the odd half smoked cigarette from others). With some help from pills to stop smoking I kept it up with great difficulty until I was beginning to grow mouth ulcers. I had read about such side effects but they had never been explained to me. Could it be possible, I asked myself that the nicotine actually serves as a kind of germ killer and keeps my mouth free from infections? Hhm...
My dog died a terrible death, nearly causing me to have a nervous breakdown. Blame the dog, now I smoke again and I'm not so sure anymore that giving up is a good idea. Maybe people are exaggerating. The reason I was coughing so much, I discovered, was because the tobacco was too dry. I have now got into a routine of clearing my lungs last thing at night and I sleep through, no problem.
Smoke or Eat?
When I fail to give up smoking I even begin to think positive thoughts about the evil custom. I delude myself into thinking that perhaps smokers are healthier than non-smokers. All my friends who gave up smoking have gained weight. I look at all the obese people trapped inside buildings all their lives.
Since the ban on indoor smoking, we (smokers) may be healthier than non-smokers, enjoying the "great outdoors" we get a regular supply of fresh air while smoking outside in the street or on café terraces, even in heavy rain storms in sub zero temperatures. Smokers have now become the outdoor people. Good smokers have learned to thoroughly cough up the dirt, thereby cleaning and strengthening their lungs.
Spending over-average time outdoors improves the mood too. So smokers are generally more jovial than their counterparts. And smokers are more patient and compassionate because they have been treated like dirty lepers for so long. There now has evolved a certain camaraderie among smokers - sharing a sin.
How many times have you tried to give up smoking?
But it's no good beating around the smoky bush. It is bad to smoke and knowing what we know today, what with passive smoking and all that, I would never smoke indoors in the proximity of children or where my filthy habit could affect other people. But still, of all the addictions prevailing, including food, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, the Internet, for me, smoking 50 grams of best light tobacco over a period of ten days, occasionally spiced with some home grown, keeps me who I am. I guess the key is like for everything else, moderation.
Sue, you are crazy ...
My friends often tell me I'm crazy, especially when I come out with statements like:
"Did you know that laughing and coughing are the two foremost physical activities that naturally tone the stomach and guarantee you a six pack ? "
There you go, I began this article with a strong determination to finally quit smoking for ever, and ended up persuading myself that smoking is not as bad as people make out. No doubt I shall have another go at trying to give up in the near future but for now, I'm still at it, mourning my dog with great puffs of smelly smoke surrounding my self-pitying aura.
I stopped smoking 6 months ago but in the beginning I had the occasional strong craving for cigarettes. Then a friend who had been through the same torture suggested I try these Nicotine Gums and I must say, they really calmed me down. I only took the odd one, occasionally when I felt particularly stressed up. Now I don't use them anymore but they did help me a lot through the first few weeks of giving up smoking. I passed on the rest to my brother who was struggling to give up.
I Did It!
Finally it happened; I am now officially an "Ex Smoker". To cut a horrible story short, this is what happened:
About three months ago I woke up in the middle of the night with, what I found out the next day was, an accute ASTHMA ATTACK! I thought I was dying. I couldn't breathe and was husking: "PEASE; PLEASE...." I coughed and coughed until my trachea felt like sandpaper. The next day, when I told a friend, she said it had been as asthma attack. She went to the pharmacy and got me two inhalers, which, she said I should use 3 times a day for one week.
That did it. It so scared the s**t out of me that I never touched a fag since.
I do hope that any smokers out there who read this won't let it come to that before they give up the smokes. It took me decades to learn the hard way that cigarette smoke isn't meant to go into people's lungs.
I hope that "Confessions of a Nicotine Addict" has been helpful for others who struggle with the habit. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.