Four packets of cigerettes a day to none

Stopping smoking
Stopping smoking

Smoking  was a thrill at first giving me a sense of graduating from adolescence and along with becoming engaged to the love of my life at 19 it made me feel sophisticated, as women did in 1964. We were in denial about the dangers. What started with 3 cigarettes a day with coffee breaks turned into chainsmoking and being driven to smoke even when I didn’t want to. In those days a packet only cost $2. My beloved father had died the year before so I joined my peers, mother, and stepfather in this regrettable habit. We could smoke sitting at our desks so I smoked from 19 to 35yrs old when a close friend had a heart attack and  unexpectedly died at age 40. He was a fit man but heavy smoker. I asked a psychologist colleague how can I give up enjoying watching a movie at night with my husband  while smoking and having coffee? He said that in time without cigarettes I will get that same buzz just over coffee. Sceptically, for the sake of living longer and being better role models for our teenage children, we embarked on a community course to quit smoking. One important aspect was it would take 21 days to get out of the habit, using tomato juice (Vitamin C) to help clear the system of nicotine and for cravings to stop. It worked because the motivation was high and we were committed to the end goal. It was true we did still get the bliss of settling down to a movie and coffee without the cigarettes. I was so proud to be free from the compulsion to smoke and could get a ‘high’ without it. It’s been 37 years of being free with a couple of short stints during the ‘harm minimisation’ campaign when I got into denial and started smoking to test if I could just smoke 3 cigarettes a day again. Huh! Within a few days I was chainsmoking and went through hell to quit. But I did quit once more, thanks to hypnosis and Nicotine Anonymous meetings. No longer do I have recurring dreams of being a part time smoker, being able to control how many I smoked. I’m free, not a slave to a cigarette. I shudder to think how I could possibly enjoy and afford smoking today when there’s a possibility it will cost $40 a packet soon and what’s worse having to stand outside in the street to smoke one cigarette. I’m not even tempted any more and after tests thankfully I don’t have emphysema. Sometime when I get the natural buzz or high from normal moments of living I grin at the ridiculous thought I had that without smoking I wouldn’t be able to have bliss.

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