Monday, October 19, 2015

How I Quit Smoking for GOOD

While I was growing up, I hated seeing my Mom smoke cigarettes. I thought I'd never smoke cigarettes, given how much I hated them in my childhood. And yet, I still managed to pick up this nasty habit while working in the restaurant industry. I had been surrounded by smokers, for years, and never had the urge to start, until one day, at the age of 22, I finally decided to try just... one.... cigarette... to see what it was like.


That one damn cigarette turned into a decade long addiction (that lasted about as long as my food addiction / eating disorder). I couldn't believe how addictive those damn cigarettes were!!!

Before I moved to California, my then-boyfriend Sean told me that when I moved here, people would offer me cocaine, and he said he knew my personality and that I would LOVE IT, so don't ever even try it or it would become a real problem. I am so grateful to him for telling me this... he might have just saved my life. It's amazing how many stupid things I did in my 20's, but cocaine is something I never did, based on Sean's advice (I wish he'd told me the same thing about cigarettes, but I am grateful for the advice he did give me).

I want to give you that same advice, when it comes to cigarettes. They are addictive beyond your wildest dreams. So if you haven't ever smoked a cigarette yet.... DON'T.  Trust me on this one. They're not worth it.

If you're curious about what smoking is like, let me just give you a quick rundown. When you first try a cigarette you probably won't see what the big deal is. It's just kind of weird. Smoke going into your lungs. Breathing it out. You can't see what all the fuss is about. Why do people get addicted to these things? You wonder. So you try another and another. And then by the end of the pack, you figure it out. Your body gets addicted to the poison. 

Then what happens is, you will start to feel like cigarettes are a good way to deal with stress, but what is really happening is, you are starting to feel like cigarettes are the only way for you to deal with stress. As soon as you get stressed out, you'll feel like you HAVE to have a cigarette. It becomes an instant, "easy" way for you to say "Screw it" and feel like you don't care. But it's all just a bunch of BS because you really DO care. In fact, you care so much that you feel like the reason you need to smoke is to squelch that part of you that cares too much. So it's a cycle that is VERY hard to get out of.

Next thing you know, you're going to be craving cigarettes to the point where you feel like you HAVE to have them, even when you're not stressed out. What ends up happening is, you develop a VERY LOW tolerance for stress - it will follow you everywhere, and you will feel like you need to have cigarettes all the time.

I think the current PSAs depicting cigarettes as bullies are pretty accurate!

I finally gave up smoking, in 2003, by quitting COLD TURKEY (the same way my Mom quit). I was sooooo proud of my Mom for doing this. And I am proud of myself for doing the same. 

I never tried Nicorette or anything like that. For me, I just got to a point where I was just done. I was sick of being controlled by cigarettes and ultimately, the tobacco industry.

For me, personally, going cold turkey was the fastest, easiest, cheapest, and most effective way for me to quit. I'm not trying to put down anyone who doesn't choose this route, but it was The Way To Go for me. It cut out all the fluff and the BS. I didn't need gum. I didn't need a patch. In my mind, that was just more of an excuse for me to fuel my body with Nicotine it didn't really want or need. I was just done being addicted to them.

Like I said, if you have never smoked a cigarette, PLEASE DON'T START. And if you are currently a smoker, I just want to let you know that you will feel SO much better (and really damn proud of yourself) once you decide to quit.  Quitting smoking is definitely one of the things I am very proud of doing, in my lifetime. My whole body feels better, and cleaner, and I am MUCH happier now that I'm not a SLAVE to CIGARETTES. And my clothes, house and car smell a hell of a lot better, too.

I have stopped many people on the street to talk to them about smoking, and encourage them to quit, and try to give them hope that if I could do it, they can do it too.

Best of luck to you!

Laura Ellen (Ualani)

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