Without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life is to quit smoking. I started smoking when I was 14 to fit in with my peers and my family. I just happened to be friends with people who smoked and my entire family, minus two people, smoked. In short, I was around smokers all the time, so at the age of 14, it seemed like something cool that I should do.
Smoking Became A Big Part Of My Life
If you are a smoker, you know that you quickly make friends with other smokers. They are the only people standing outside with you, so you talk, get to know each other, and often become friends quite quickly. Not only do you share a habit, but smokers spend a lot of time talking about personal things and bonding. So, of course, all my friends smoked from the age of 14 and on.
Then I met a man who didn’t smoke and fell in love with him. He’s my husband now. I still kind of thought smoking was cool, but I remember being so embarrassed that I would cough after we went out for a meal. I’m not sure why my smoker’s cough always appeared while eating, but it did and I knew it wasn’t attractive.
Not long after we started dating, I tried to quit smoking. It didn’t work. A few months later, I tried again. It didn’t work. This went on for about 5 years.
At the age of 29, I decided I would quit smoking before my 30th birthday. I found a way to do that, and now, 11 years later, I’m still smoke free. In fact, I’m kind of anti-smoking, which would have probably annoyed me in my twenties.
How I Quit Smoking
With a clear view of my past, I can honestly say there were three big steps that led me down the path to being a non-smoker.
1. I Developed A Desire To Quit Smoking
First, I had a desire to quit smoking. When I thought smoking was cool and it was what I wanted to do for life, there was no way I could have quit. I needed to develop that desire to let smoking go and move on. Following are the big things that made me want to quit smoking.
- My unattractive smoker’s cough was embarrassing as heck.
- My clothes and hair always smelled bad. (Now I know how bad they really smelled. I’m surprised more non-smokers weren’t disgusted by my smell!)
- I felt this weird feeling in my throat that I thought was from smoking.
- I was often out of breath.
- My boyfriend didn’t smoke and my cigarettes were taking time away from him, especially when we went to places where you couldn’t smoke and I would have to leave for a while to find somewhere I could smoke.
2. I Developed A Non-Smoker’s Mindset
Once I wanted to quit smoking, I started to talk to myself like a non-smoker. I told myself things I wanted to believe.
- Smoking isn’t cool. While I told myself this when I wanted to quit smoking, I realized this was really true after I quit smoking. Smokers look ridiculous puffing on a stick and blowing out smoke. And, they often act the opposite of cool (desperate, anxious, angry, nervous, out of control) when they can’t have a cigarette.
- I want to be in charge of my own time. I knew that non-smokers could enjoy some extra time visiting with someone without having to go outside and smoke every 30 minutes. I, on the other hand, had to schedule everything around my next cigarette, which meant that I couldn’t just sit, relax, and enjoy something or someone.
- I have better things to spend my money on. Smoking costs a lot of money, which isn’t good for someone who is on a budget. I remember once only having enough money for a pack of cigarettes or something to eat – not both. I was so hungry, but I actually sat for about an hour contemplating what I should do. It was ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to think about. I was ready to deny myself a basic human need so that I could puff on a cigarette.
3. I Read Allen Carr’s Book
Once I had the will and the mindset, I picked up Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking book, and I quit smoking within a day. I wasn’t scared to quit smoking while I was reading it. I was ready to quit, and everything I read convinced me that it was time.
If you have the right will and mindset, this book will help you quit for good. After it helped me quit smoking, it helped a few of my friends quit too. I think it would have also helped my dad, but he wasn’t willing to read it, which means he didn’t have the will or mindset to quit.
The book basically helps you realize why smoking is ridiculous. For instance, you will quickly realize why smoking is doing nothing for you, besides filling you up with toxins and making you sick and miserable.
It also helps you bust any beliefs that are keeping the cigarettes in your mouth.
For instance, the belief that I couldn’t handle stressful situations without smoking was one of those core beliefs I hadn’t let go of yet. When I realized that smoking wasn’t helping me deal with stress – and that, in fact, it was causing stress, it was so easy for me to quit smoking.
I realized that smoking wasn’t helping me in any way, shape, or form, so quitting became a very real and easy option.
After I Quit Smoking
I didn’t have any physical withdrawals. I’m not sure why because everyone tells you that you should, but I was just fine.
The only thing I struggled with was a vacation that was coming up within weeks of me quitting smoking. My mind kept reverting back to a belief that smoking made enjoyable things much more enjoyable.
I was able to affirm something different to myself every time I had that thought. I would affirm that I would be able to enjoy everything MORE since I wouldn’t be basing my vacation’s activities around smoking.
Turns out I was right. The vacation was awesome, despite not having one cigarette. And I never doubted how much better being a non-smoker was after that.
My smokers cough cleared up, but it did take a while. But, I instantly felt better both physically and mentally.
Like I said, quitting smoking was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m missing nothing, but my life is so much better for it.