The greatest victory in my life so far

Two years ago, 30 oktober 2018, I stopped smoking.  Till the day of today I haven’t touched a cigarette again (that one time after a month not included…).  And I’m proud of it every day!  I really am!  It is the biggest achievement in my life for so far.  

When you smoke you are always in a disadvantage: you have to go out of the group, you are a loner, you smell like shit, you have to follow your addiction,…  it is crazy isn’t it?  You would almost wonder why you still do it…

Twentythree (23!) years ago I smoked my first cigarette… I was 14 years old, I was on the schoolyard, aaah, that was the beginning of a long journey with a bad, bad habit.  

I smoked almost a package a day, in my rememberance, that’s 20 cigarettes, that’s a lot…  Sometimes even more, so you have to imagine: I smoked all day, every day, always, everywhere.  I loved it… I saw it as my friend, smoking was my friend.  Everything was about smoking.  You probably know what I mean if you are a smoker yourself or you have someone in your family or along friends who smokes, everything is about smoking: when can I have my next cigarette, do I have enough cigarettes, is there somebody I can smoke with, is there a place where I can smoke,…  Blablabla.  Your body askes for it after a meal, after you had a drink, after sex, after you woke up, with a coffee,… 

Anyway, in the end, it sucks!   The fact that you depend on the habit sucks!  The fact that your life been controlled by a cigarette sucks! 

I was just an average guy, with an average life, living in an average place, and I was that guy who said: ‘yeah, sure, I can quit, I will stop if I want to, I will do it’. But in the end it took me a long time before I did it.  I kept on saying I would quit, but I didn’t.  I kept on saying it, without doing it.  It is the same thing as saying ‘I’m going to walk the TA trail’, if you don’t do it, you are not walking it.  And I say this to you and to myself: ‘just fucking walk that trail!’  That sounds a bit harsh maybe?  But it is what it is.  It is with everything the same thing: if you really want it, then you do it.  And if the question is: how do you do it? Then try the things I did…

First of all I made a decision.  I looked at Cindy two years ago and said, with one cigarette left, maybe sort of out of the blue, ‘I’m gonna quit, I will go outside, smoke this last one and then that’s it!’  Maybe I didn’t believe it at that time, but I knew if I just kept going because I want it, I would find a way.  And that was what I believed strongly.  So I went outside and smoked that last one. I went inside again and said ‘This is it!’  

Two days later I had a surgery and there was a lot of pain and stress involved, and the urge in my body and in my mind for a cigarette was so big!  It was almost unbearable.  But I didn’t took one.  And I kept going. 

‘If I can stop for two days’, I thougt, ‘I can stop forever’.  I’m not gonna lie that it was easy.  It was terrible.  That first month without a cigarette was terrible.  At a certain moment at work, I came in a situation that a client always put his pack of tabacco in my hands.  I had to guard it until he wanted to smoke again…. It was such a weird moment in my life… In the end I couldn’t stand it anymore, I rolled a cigarette and smoked… It was disgusting, more then ever, more then the previous times I tried to quit and restarted!  I went to sleep, because I had a nightshift, and when I woke up, I felt so sick, sweaty, horrible.  I said to myself: ‘This is it’.  ‘I never want to experience that feeling anymore!’, even though I knew that if I would keep on smoking, that bad tast would go away and a smoker would love smoking again.  This time i pursued my goal.  

I shared my experience with Cindy, she listened to me.  I was pursistant: I’m gonna quit, I don’t wanna feel so horrible anymore then I felt this morning’ 

Second: every time I felt the need for a cigarette I took a sip of water.  That has an extra benefit because water is good for your health anyway, but it gave me something to do.  And you don’t smoke!

Third: every time I felt the urge to do it, I related on the fact that that feeling doesn’t take longer then 2 or 3 minutes. If you can resist that moment, the urge dissapeares.  You calm down, your body can’t stay in that tension longer then 3 minutes.  Relating on that fact helped a lot. I tried it and the urge was gone, every time.  And if you go on from that point then everything will come down. At first you live by 3 minutes at the time, later on, you have the urge after an hour, and so on… I took a lot of zips of water 😉

In the end: you have the feeling that you have it under control.

You think… And you have, if you are in your bubble.  

But then different situations occure: work-environment, social gatherings with friends or family, sportactivities and all the other situations and place you went when you used to smoke.  People react, ask questions.  I had to approach all these circumstances as a new situation, one by one. Learning myself to do the same things as I did in my bubble: water, resist that urge 3 minutes at a time, etcetera.  

I succeeded.  And could build positieve experiences of non-smoking.  

Fourth: I protected myself as well, when somebody asked to come outside to smoke, I stayed inside, even though I could go outside and not smoke, but then the urge would be bigger.  In the end I didn’t want it anymore becaus for my own health.  That habit wasn’t going to kill me… 

Build up the experiences.  Like the walk I am doing right now. I can’t imagine how far 3000km is, and how in the world I am going to do it…  Even the stage of today, a 26km long hike, is far when you think it through…  But what I can do, is take one step at a time!  And 100m becomes 1km, that turns into 10km and at the end of the day I succeeded walking that 26km! 

So take my advice for free.  

I can talk a lot more about it.  But two things: 

  • If I can do it, you can do it too!  And find your inspiration if you need some help.  Just fucking quit. My advice: stop smoking now, it will be the best victory in your life.  
  • In any case, quit smoking has so much benefits!  You will taste your food better, you won’t smell like shit (taking a shewing gum of spray some parfume isn’t enough), it is healtier, you will not be unpolite in social situations, you are more attractive, you are not a part of social problems anymore because you are outside of doors blocking the entrance.  There is really nothing good about smoking.  You will become a better YOU.  A healthier you and save a lot of money too 😉

So I will keep walking.  Because I believe I will become a better ME!

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