I’ve been smoking cigarettes for the last 15 or so years. This is half of my lifetime. When I say this out loud, or see it typed here, I am filled with regret. How did I let myself get this far and why? Today I am deciding that enough is enough. It’s going to be difficult – so, so difficult – but it needs to be done. I’m going to document the process here, and I’ve posted my commitment to quitting on my Instagram. After all, they say if you tell someone your goals you’re more likely to stick to them and I intend to, I want to, I need to.
I started smoking when I was around 16 or 17 years old. I don’t remember the exact age I was when it became a full-time habit. It started out innocently enough – many of the women in my family smoked at the time, so it almost felt like a rite of passage. This isn’t to say it’s my relatives fault that I started smoking, because it isn’t, but it definitely made the idea of smoking more enticing and I guess more normal. Back then cigarettes were around $5 a pack and I either had to ask older friends to buy them for me or “hey, mister” people outside of liquor stores. It wasn’t a difficult thing to accomplish – getting cigarettes, I mean – it was really all very easy, and maybe that’s why it was so easy to start.
I’ve toyed with the idea of quitting several times and I’ve even gone months without smoking, but it always comes back. Mostly the urge is strongest when I’m drinking, stressed, or extremely bored and alone. It’s a habit that has deeply rooted itself in my life and so it feels weird to be without it. Skipping forward to present day, I’m still able to go 1-3 days without a cigarette quite frequently. These are my favorite days – the smokeless days. It seems to me that I get more done on these days plus I just feel better – not shocking. I’m hoping that this feeling carries over and makes me crave the smokeless days more than I crave the act of smoking itself.
I’ve decided to not go completely cold turkey, as that hasn’t worked well for me in the past. I’m researching vape pens and will probably get one for when I feel a really strong craving. Ultimately, I want to be rid of all of it, so this is no way meant to be a solid substitution, rather a way to forgive myself the urge when it hits without running immediately back to a cigarette. Mostly I think I’ll want the vape for drinking, thought. I’ve heard from many ex-smokers that drinking is the hardest part. Sometimes it’s so difficult that people quit doing both altogether – I wouldn’t be mad if this happened for me as well, although I’m hoping I can muster the self control to be able to do one without the other.
I’m excited for this journey, this release. If you’re looking to quit as well, know that you are not alone, and I will continue to post my progress here to try and hold myself even more accountable for this choice. I can do this, and I will.