Bad habits – we all have them. From biting nails, to nervous ticks, everyone has a bad habit they should break. Mine? Smoking.
I stopped smoking four months ago – cold turkey. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about smoking. And it’s not even the nicotine that I crave, but more of the ceremonial aspect. I miss the sound my Zippo makes when I open it and the smell of lighter fuel when I light it. I miss the cigarette with coffee, the post-meal cigarette, the cigarette with wine, the cigarette while waiting for something, the “I’m so stressed out” cigarette, the “I’m taking a break” cigarette…I could pretty much come up with any reason or occasion to have a cigarette.
So, why did I stop? I’ve been smoking on and off for about 15 years and I know how bad it is. I’ve seen the effects of smoking on health first hand and I didn’t want to be another cigarette casualty. So, one day, mid-pack, I said, “that’s it.” I just stopped. No patch, no gum, no hypnosis, no acupuncture. I just stopped smoking. I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s a battle everyday, but if you really want to stop something, you just need to decide to do it, and commit to it.*
The first month I quit was the worst. My body was de-toxing and my body was having issues from skin outbreaks to lots of chest congestion. I made it through and I feel better now than I ever have. I realized how bad smoke smells and how bad it was making me feel. Whenever I crave a cigarette (which is usually several times a day), I just keep myself occupied and remind myself how bad I will smell and how awful I will feel afterward. Going through the initial month of quitting was enough to never want to go through anything like that again.
Sometimes, depending on the habit, you need to control the environments you are in. When I first stopped, I don’t think I went out with friends for at least a month because I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would be tempted – and at least back then, having a drink = having a smoke. After being a hermit for a little while, I gradually came out of my shell and have been able to go out on social occasions without smoking. I will admit to having 2 cigarettes (on separate occasions) since I’ve quit, but it hasn’t re-developed into a habit again, thankfully.
Breaking bad habits is not easy – if it were, they wouldn’t be called habits. If you know you are doing the right thing for yourself, then it makes breaking the habit a lot easier. Focus on the negative aspects of the habit and just stop. Whenever you find yourself to reverting to your old ways, remind yourself why you’re trying to break your habit and surround yourself with friends and family that support your decision. It’s never too soon to break a bad habit – just believe in yourself and find the inner strength to just break it.
**This article is not intended to address serious alcohol, drug or other addictions/illnesses that would require the help of professionals.
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