Free from the tyranny of smokes

Opinion

The incredible sense of freedom that I have recently received is indescribable. I was addicted to cigarettes for the previous five years and loved every puff of it.

Unfortunately, I happened to be one of those folks that smoked because it tasted good. My stubborn self did not believe I was addicted to the nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide-filled sticks. Loved ones continued to verbally assault my addiction and questioned my decision to pick up the habit.

Now, I haven’t sparked a cigarette since Dec. 26 and I couldn’t be happier.

Both of my parents have smoked since I could remember. When I was younger, they would bring me along on their bingo nights and I would cry and complain that my eyes were burning from the smoked filled rooms. I hated cigarettes and never understood why a person would subject themselves and others to something so awful.

I used to pick at my friends and family members and could never understand why they smoked. Why couldn’t smokers just push the habit away? I didn’t realize how strong the addiction to cigarettes would be until I went through the experience myself.

“I’ll quit when I’m ready”

Above in bold text is the most popular response by a smoker after getting harassed by a loved one, and one of my personal favorites.

A smoker needs to realize that you can’t plan to quit. It’s more of a spur-of-the-moment event. Addiction to smoking has just as much to do with habit as addiction. Smokers have habits that must be broken when attempting to quit.

I didn’t use a pill, patch or a piece of gum to quit. I used good old-fashioned mental strength to kick the addiction. One moment that continues to stand out was the minute after I smoked my last cigarette.

After stomping on my last smoked butt, I put my foot down on a half-full pack. At the time, it felt like I had stomped on an infant. Now, I can say that helped prepare my mind for quitting more than any prescription.

Six months ago, I would have told you that it would be very difficult to quit cigarettes.  I imagine the difficulty of quitting varies depending on the person, but I thought the challenge was over-rated.

My experience

On the night of Dec. 26, a friend and I made a friendly bet.  Who could go the longest without lighting up?  I was immediately up for the challenge because I knew my friend would give in.  After three days or so, we both stood our ground and didn’t give in.  Then, I decided to quit for good.

Quit smoking by turning it into a game between your mind and your body.  It can start becoming amusing when your body begins craving.  As competitive as I am, that was a great way to quit.

Don’t get upset if I’m sounding cocky.  I still receive strong urges to smoke.  But I want people to know that you can quit if you are willing suffer.

It took John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, three months to quit smoking and chewing tobacco.  Even President Barack Obama admitted that he often fell off of the wagon while on the campaign trail.  It feels good knowing that I accomplished something that Obama continues to pursue.

Unfortunately, my stubbornness blinded me from quitting years ago and I regret everyday of it.

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