6 Months Later...

On Wednesday, August 14th 2013... I smoked my last cigarette. I blogged about my reasons why I was quitting the day before and I knew once I hit the end of the pack I currently had in my pocket, that was it. I was giving up. That was 6 months ago...

My last ever cigarette...

Fast forward six months and I can hand on my heart say that it has been the best thing I have ever done. I continue to surprise myself with how determined I can be when I really want to be. I have been asked how I gave up, what I've used and how hard I've found it. If you are expecting to read a motivational "You can do it, it's so easy" type post, you are mistaken.

I went cold turkey. It was tough for the first 3 days.
I didn't sleep properly for about 2 weeks.
I ate... A lot. But then I ran... A lot.

Somewhere in the first few weeks I forgot old habits and created new routines. I found work harder than home despite the fact my other half smokes (and still does). That was when I realised that I am a creature of habit. I would get up and go for a cigarette at regular times like 10am, 11:30am, 3:00pm. Like a zombie, once the clock struck a certain time, I would up and go for a cigarette. By changing the routine I created a new habit which I stuck to initially but it eventually fell out in the wash. That routine was simply to still get up from my desk and take 3 minutes in the canteen with an apple or a glass of water, then back to my desk. I think it was more the 3-minute break I was addicted to rather than the actually cigarette.

Now don't get me wrong, I haven't been craving-free but I found these became less and less frequent quite quickly. I can see how easily they could be turned to as a crutch in a time of stress (or drunkenness). It's kind of like my old relationship with food. Just because it is available/within reach, doesn't mean you should have it/deserve to have it. Temptations & cravings will pass, I just believed I was strong enough to sit this craving out and everything would be ok afterwards. It worked.




In the past six months: 

My running has improved
My breathing is less laboured
I smell better
I can smell everything else so much better
I waste less time sitting around smoking
I feel emotionally stronger (hey, I've quit smoking)
I'm healthier
I'm happier

Apart from all of the health benefits, the thing that has been most rewarding is watching my credit union account. When I quit, I set up a Direct Debit for €300 a month. I told myself that if I went back smoking, I wasn't allowed to cancel the Direct Debit as punishment. 

I now have €1800 sitting in my credit union account. 

Imagine how raging I'd be if I went to withdraw it and they were like "Oh sorry it got burned as is gone". That's exactly what I was doing with my money for the past ten years. Saving the money I'm not spending on cigarettes is the easy part. Repairing the damage I've done to my body on the other hand will be much less forgiving.

I'm sorry body, but I promise you this... I'm working on undoing the damage. 











Comments

  1. Well done John. I can totally empathise with this. Proud of you.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rob! You lead the way... I just followed :)

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  2. Well done. I met someone a couple of years ago who had given up smoking and, like you, had put the money aside every month that she would normally spend on cigarettes. When she'd been off them for a year she treated herself to a watch from Cartier. And she has kept on doing that (for six years now) - she still puts that money aside every month and at the end of the year she buys herself something that would normally be totally out of the question. I can't say that I'd choose to spend that much money on designer gear but it's what she likes. Only thing is that she has to insist to her mum that the stuff she has (Louis Vuitton luggage and that kind of thing) is knock-offs - 'cos her mum never knew she smoked.

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  3. 6 months already! That flew by! i remember reading your "I'm gonna quit post" :)
    Well done there's nothing you can't do if you put your mind to it :)

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