Okay, so I realise Stoptober officially started yesterday and that I’m fashionably late to the party, sorry! I’m joining in with thousands of abstaining smokers in an attempt to stay smoke free for the month. As the tagline on the Stoptober website states,
Stop for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to stay smokefree.
These aren’t bad odds, I’ve been wanting to give up for some time and seeing as so many others are getting involved I decided I would too. If anything it’s a great opportunity to offer support and show some solidarity on our part. Personally I’m hoping that blogging about the whole affair will be a useful, cathartic aid to quitting.
I’ve been here many times before, I guess you could categorise me as the perennial on-again, off-again smoker. There’s times in my life when I’ve not smoked at all for months at a time and others when I’ve smoked like it was my job.
I started smoking when I was still at school. For me then, I recall choosing to smoke wasn’t a case of wanting to fit in with my peers, I really just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The first time I smoked I hated it and didn’t do it again for about a year.
It was pub culture that really got me into smoking. Back in my mid teens the pubs in my home town had a ‘relaxed’ attitude to underage drinking and being of a time long before the smoking ban, the pubs that I frequented were always thick with a foggy wall of secondhand smoke. It was all too easy to fall into the smoking trap in these surroundings. I soon discovered the magical reaction that occurs when drink and smoke are combined, turning both into a whole new entity. Our portmanteau obsessive culture today might refer to this experience as a ‘Smink’, I like this word, who wants to help me get it in the dictionary?
For me it is the smink that has time and again laid ruin to my best attempts at quitting. I will have happily given up, often to the point of finding other peoples smoke annoying. I will then get the casual invite for a beer, have a drink and realise that something isn’t quite right. Having patiently and covertly waited in the wings for it’s turn to strike, the smink returns and before I know it I’m back smoking again. I will always kid myself at this point that it’s just a one-off and that I’ll easily return to a non-smoking life once I leave the pub. It never goes that way for me however, I’m not one to pinch other peoples fags and so I always will end up buying my own, which won’t all get smoked. I’ll be left with fags to smoke the next day and hating to waste the money (such is the expense) will smoke these too, thus I will fall back into bad habits again.
“Stay away from pubs then!” I hear you say. Well of course I can do this but we all need to be able to socialise don’t we? If anything the smoking ban brought in back in 2007 makes it a whole lot easier to avoid the cruel smink’s allure. I remember many of my smoking friends voicing disdain when the ban came in, I have to admit I really thought it was a good idea. As far as pubs are concerned why not make them more family friendly, healthier places? The only palpable drawbacks being that many pubs now smell of stale beer and ‘man musk’ where once these odours were masked by fag smoke. We have also seen the rise of the gastropub, all too often a horrendously over-priced, pretentious joint suffering from a worse identity crisis than Radio 2, anyway I digress……
No, being abstinent shouldn’t involve you avoiding things you enjoy, if anything you should face these things more often to strengthen your willpower. It is weak willpower after all that has led me to have a smink in the past.
To any fellow Stoptoberians reading this I would like to impart my quitting mantra that has so often before helped and shall be restored this month. There are two simple rules to quitting;
Don’t buy any fags
Don’t pinch anyone else’s fags
Enforce these rules with an iron will and you will succeed.
I also like to total up how much money I’ve saved from not smoking. This time round for Stoptober I’ve promised myself that If I am successful then the money I’m likely to save will go towards a date night for Mrs Steve and I.
Beyond this I’m going to be having a meeting with Matt, our on-site pharmacist (and a very nice chap he is too) to run through aids and strategies to quitting. I’ll post back with things I glean along the way to offer help.
As it stands today I smoked my last cigarette 6 hours ago, I’m currently doing well and hope that next time I post here that I won’t have smoked another.
In the meantime please go here to get your free Stoptober pack and take the first step on your journey to quitting.
Best of luck everyone. Hang in there you can do it!