Want To Quit Smoking? Or Quit Something? Three Stories.
It’s the time of year to take up arms against your demons. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are irritating. Some are ruthless and will kill you. It’s up to you to decide what to do about them. Maybe you like them?
This post is about lightening up a little bit and getting to know yourself better. It’s about me and two good friends. We all used to smoke. Not like a chimney or a vaper but smokers nonetheless. Truth is that few things in my life were as gloriously satisfying as a Marlboro Light. I looked forward to hopping in the truck just so I could light one up and enjoy a deep and long drag.
Of course, I quit every other month. I had successes but never for more than a short time. Someone would offer me a smoke and the mind starts working and all that steely resolve you’ve ginned up just leaks out on the ground and you say “Sure! I mean, what can one smoke do?” Finally, I decided that I would never quit. This twist of words was the key for me. I’ve come to understand that there is something stuck deep inside me, some evolutionary crevice, that rebels again Never and Always. “Commitment phobic” is the clinical term for this malady. So, instead of quitting, I decided to take a year off. After a year, I could go and buy a carton and smoke the whole thing if I wanted to. Guilt free.
Well, I spent my year never even thinking about smoking. I was shocked at how easy this was for me. Somehow this little mind trick removed the question from my brain. A year later, I actually bought a cigarette. A single which you could buy at the time for seventy-five cents. It didn’t kill me but had lost any semblance of appeal. It stunk and tasted lousy and I was mad that I wasted money on it. I’ve smoked a few times since then but just have no interest in it.
One of my buddies quit in a single day. He was a navy man and bought smokes at the commissary. He says that he walked into the Navy store one day the stock up on smokes for a long submarine trip. He was shocked to learn that the price of a carton had jumped from about twenty to thirty bucks since he’d last loaded up and was incensed. He absolutely refused to pay that much. He claims to have never smoked since. His tightwad habits saved him from his nicotine habit.
Another friend tried quitting in all kinds of ways. What worked for him was buying a book. It was a book about how tobacco companies use all kinds of fillers and chemicals to make their products cheaper and more addictive. I haven’t a clue of how true any of this is. I know from past work in research that nicotine delivered in small, regular doses is fantastically addictive. But this outraged him. He became a true believer that tobacco companies were the devil and he vowed to never pay those bastards one thin dime again.
There Must be a Moral
In fact, there are two morals to these stories.
One is to know yourself. Try to figure out what drives you. I know that I want cookies and pie when I’m feeling lousy and that when I fight with my wife, I retreat like a bunny disappearing down a hole. Knowing that I gravitate toward these behaviors helps me to change them.
The other message is to keep trying. What worked for Raoul might not work for Julie. What does not work for Julie, worked wonders for Ilsa. It’s hard to know why but we are all different with different experiences. So be kind to yourself and give some latitude and you will finally stumble on what you didn’t know you were looking for.
Here’s a whole raft of stuff on Amazon that may or may not help you. Keep trying!