Giving up the habit again

Back in May time I began smoking again after a 7.5 year cessation period. I stated in my post that I would, at some point soon(ish), stop again as my body was clearly rejecting the whole shebang. Well thankfully, my recent illness has been the catalyst for me to stop again.  Or at least, not have one or buy any for a week.

I could feel my lungs tightening, getting heavier and more congested with each cigarette many weeks ago. The ubiquitous smokers cough appeared and let me tell you, there is nothing worse that coughing first thing in the morning on waking, filling your mouth with the taste of yesterdays smoke from your lungs. It does leave you wondering what on earth you are doing to yourself, whilst you sit and roll your first mornings’ ciggie. Yes, the irony isn’t lost on me.

On examining my reflection in the mirror recently, I was horrified at how much my face had aged in the last 5/6 months; all the fine wrinkles feathering my lips had returned, the crows feet  and my furrowed brow seemed deeper. People who smoke, screw their faces up repeatedly in the same way as they inhale. My skin looks and feels older too.  None of this occurs to you when you take up the habit as a teenager because you always believe you will look young and vital.

It has only been a week but within 3 days I could breath normally, the yellow stain on my middle finger right hand disappeared virtually overnight. It is relaxing not to have to plan one’s life around having a ciggie, especially when you can’t smoke indoors in your home. As the rain lashed down not that long ago, and I huddled against the front door of this house, trying to keep in the one tiny dry spot, the following played in my mind liked ticker tape across the bottom of a TV screen: “why are you doing this? you could be warm and dry indoors right now. you don’t even want this ciggie.”

I have an addictive personality. There, I said it. I am not an addict, but I do have what one might call the necessary traits for addiction. And I guess, had I had a different life – different adoptive parents, no fee paying private school, no upper middle class suburbia, less priviledge – who knows where my path might have lead me. This little trait, that is rather insidious if allowed to be, means that I am an all or nothing kinda gal.

For example, I can’t have just 1 or 2 biscuits once a packet it opened, I have to eat the entire packet – biscuits are my nemesis.  So I knew that once I began smoking again, I couldn’t just have the odd cigarette, I would be chain smoking within a relatively short space of time. And I was.

During the course of the last week, particularly as I began to recover from the gastro, there have been odd occasions when I thought it would have been nice to have a ciggie. That hasn’t meant me rushing off to the shops to buy any, nor has it meant nipping next door to my friends to cadge a fag off her, obliging as she would be no doubts. But I know that should the urge take me, I would be a heavy smoker again. All or nothing.

I am not sure this time is going to be as easy. Despite knowing how much better I feel not smoking, how much of an addiction it is, it is my one and only crutch when life is stressful. I rarely drink, I hardly eat chocolate these days, I try not to buy biscuits at all, so I guess it’s my only vice.

And justifying it like that just demonstrates how much of an addiction it really is.

 

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