I Quit Smoking… again: My Journey to a Smoke-Free Life

I gave up smoking last year, again. It was my second time quitting, so you could say I’m kind of a pro when it comes to quitting the old smokes. 

I decided based on this that I would write about my journey to a smoke-free life, including how I started quitting, what strategies I used to help me quit, and all the positive and maybe negative things that have come along with quitting. 

The first time I quit smoking was when I was 21 years old. I had smoked from quite a young age and one day my doctor told me about a study where those who quit smoking before the age of 21 had reversed the negative effects much more effectively than those who quit after 21. 

So… Challenge accepted.

I had it in my mind that I would quit just before 21 and a month before my birthday. That’s exactly what I did. the first time I went cold turkey. Through pure resilience and willpower, I left my cigarettes in a box in my house and never touched them for 7 years.

It was difficult because I had developed the habit of smoking at home and my father used to smoke a lot too (emphasis on ‘used to’ as now he’s a quitter too). The good thing was although I had lots of reasons to smoke back then and almost everyone I knew smoked, including friends and family. I still quit, and to be honest with you it was as simple as a fear of my older self getting ill. 

Sadly though, I started smoking again seven years later.

 The reason I started smoking again was that I was stressed about losing weight for a wedding. I found myself out at the pub with my colleagues. A long hard week and the temptation to smoke became too strong to resist. To be honest, I’m not a fan of alcohol, however, with a smoke, it just goes hand in hand…

After restarting smoking though, I quickly realized that it was a mistake. I began to feel the negative effects of smoking on my health and was once again reminded of how difficult it is to quit smoking. I found my Judo, which I was practising a lot at the time, much more difficult and would gas out with sore lungs sooner than I usually would.

Also, smoking led me to go out for drinks more with work so I felt more sluggish during the week. Lucky for me that I’ve never really enjoyed my drink but I could see how easily I could have become addicted to that too. These were all ways to escape my day-to-day. I didn’t realise it as much then but looking back I could see, just how unhappy I was. If I was happy, I wouldn’t be looking for moments to escape.

Another bad habit I got from smoking was that I kept looking forward to the smoking breaks. A good minute or two to relax as the world pauses for a moment. To go out and not be bothered just for that minute or two in my day meant so much to me. It became addicting. Always seeking, asking for a break whenever I could. It wasn’t just about smoking cigarettes for me. It was a reason to escape.

However, even with all the new bad patterns forming, I was determined to quit smoking again, and this time, I was going to make sure it was for good. I knew I was running away from my day-to-day life so I decided to confront it.

One of the most significant benefits of quitting smoking the second time was how much I had learned from my previous experience. I knew that quitting smoking was not going to be easy, but I also knew that it was possible with the right strategies and mindset. I’d done it once before, so I could do it again!

At first, I tried to use the first technique I used 7 years ago. I quit cold turkey. However, I didn’t have that much motivation to quit smoking. I was too comfortable.

I remember at the time my father came up to me on our family holiday and told me how he was disappointed that I started again. This stayed in my head for a while, though I still carried on. Finally, I came to understand that my family were upset, both my parents expressed this to me one evening and it upset me.

I felt guilty, so I decided to ask for help.

More specifically, I asked my girlfriend. She helped me a lot and I was lucky enough to have a girlfriend who not only didn’t smoke herself. However, was willing to help encourage me not to smoke. 

The trick here was with her help, I set a goal:

Number one, do not smoke at work.

Which I managed to do, with much difficulty. I kept a pack of chewing gum in my locker if I felt like I needed a cigarette and didn’t allow myself to go outside on my breaks. Also, I never allowed myself to have any equipment of rolling, including my tin, rolling papers, filters and lighter. To make sure this happened I would report back honestly to my girlfriend.

Number two, accept accountability and tell someone when you make a mistake.

The good thing about this was if I made the mistake of smoking again my confidant didn’t scold me. Instead, she just gave me positive reinforcement, telling me about the progress I’d made. For example, she would say, ‘Well done! You’ve smoked two by 6 pm, usually, you’d have 4 or 5 by now!’ this made me feel better and didn’t knock me down to the point where I felt like I should just give up.

Number three, be kind to yourself and acknowledge the progress you’ve made!

I was fortunate enough to have people around me to support me, however in asking for help I made this possible. It is far easier to kick a habit if you have the support, although not anyone has such easy access to support. This is the biggest step you can take in bettering yourself and kicking any habit.

Dropping my smoking habit has brought many positive changes to my life. I have noticed improvements in my overall health, including easier breathing and increased energy levels. I also have a greater sense of taste and smell, which has made food and drinks much more enjoyable (perhaps to my own detriment). My Judo has improved too, I don’t gas out as easily. Most importantly though, I no longer have friends and family saying ‘pahww you stink,’ every time I returned from having a cigarette.

If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, my advice would be to find a method that works for you and don’t give up. Remember that quitting smoking is a process, and it may take some time to find the right approach. Seek help and support from healthcare professionals, friends, or family members, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up along the way.

Quitting smoking for the second time was not easy, but it was worth it. I have my loved one’s peace of mind and to me, that was the main reason why I quit.

If you’re considering quitting smoking, know that it’s never too late to start and that there are resources and support available to help you on your journey to a smoke-free life.

I would love to hear about your journey to stopping smoking too if you have one, so don’t be afraid to get in contact or comment down below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: