I am 24 now and was smoking half a pack a day for the last 2 years, although I can’t say for sure, because I always rolled them myself. What started out as a party thing at some point became a daily habit. I tried to quit it after the first year, which did last for 3 months until my ex showed up, at which point I picked up smoking again. We got together, she picked up the habit as well, so we often found ourselves, sitting on the windowsill in my kitchen to share a puff. I liked it, not necessarily the taste or the effect but everything around it. Rolling it up, smoking it, socializing, taking a 5 minute break from life where I could let go of my thoughts.
Time went by and with it my emotional and physical health. The main reason was an unhealthy relationship, I lead for all the wrong reasons. My cigarette consumption and depression increased appropriately by the day. It was time for a change so I broke up with my girlfriend and decided to stop smoking.
Another 3 months went by and I was slowly getting back in touch with the life I wanted to have. That’s when my ex showed up again. I know, at this point you could think I would have grown some fucking brains, but nope, my dick won the fight so we were at it again but this time we weren’t calling it a relationship. Naturally I started smoking again too.
Months passed by. Once again my depression grew to an all times high, propotional to my decline in health. I hit rock bottom again, this time a little faster than last year. I cut ties with my ex and stopped smoking in pursuit of a better life.
This was exactly 30 days ago.
“What’s different this time?”, you must think.
“You still got 2 months to go, until you meet your magic number, haha.”
It is the transformation in my thinking and establishing of new habits, that made all the difference over the last 30 days. I picked up the habit of reading books everyday, praying, doing sports, dancing, sleeping enough, eating healthy and so on. Since then, every aspect of my life changed for the better, which still leaves me with my inner battles, challenges of every day life and unanswered questions. But this time, instead of laying my focus on avoiding having sex with the ex and smoking tobacco, I focus on shaping my identity, thus introducing new activities, that bring me closer to God, to the people around me, to myself, to a fulfilled life. Up to this day, there are moments where I crave for a cigarette or tend to loose myself in negative beliefsystems. That’s when it got to me:
Those challenges make me stronger as I take them head on. Therefore, the ultimate goal in life is not to feel good all the time but to make progress.
When you get this, you suddenly start to view your whole life from a different perspective. It’s not about reaching goals, like not smoking for x days or avoid eating unhealthy things. Don’t get me wrong, it is great if you set yourself up with those ambitions. But problems arise, when you fail to meet your expectations of never failing. Let me tell you this. It’s not about reaching your goals. It’s about the process, your everyday decisions, your lifestyle, the little steps that will shape your life. Maybe you had a bad day, maybe you fell back into old patterns. But you know exactly, you are back on track next thing in the morning, because it is not your goal to be perfect, but to make the hard decisions every day that lead you to a better life.
Smoking isn’t freedom, it is slavery. You pay with your longterm health for shortterm pleasure.
Smoking is an addiction. Ask yourself, why your are smoking. For me it was the social aspect of having fun, having a break and coping with my anxiety. Those are fat lies that are sold to us on a daily basis but you don’t need to smoke to be cool, to have fun, to relax, to socialize or to cope with your life. You don’t fix your problems with a smoke. You avoid them for a short time, which leads to bigger problems. Same thing applies to alcohol. For me it was the mental aspect of smoking. Of course the nicotine cravings will fuck you up the first couple of days of quitting. But soon the body starts to clean itself and adapt to the new lifestyle, although your lungs will take their time to fully recover from the toxins of course. The main problem that remains, are your mental triggers. Those you can hardly suppress. Your only chance is to identfy them and change your response.
Today, to take a break, I will do a breathing or stretching exercise. I still have the same trigger and reward, but with a new routine that supports my health, instead of hurting it. To socialize, I try to ask more interesting questions, to be more present and a better listener. To cope with my anxiety, I pray and seek help from others.
You need to be honest and patient with yourself if you want to stop smoking. Identify what makes smoking attractive to you in the first place. Understand, why you do it. Replace your routines. Shape a new identity, which is supported by new activities. I am by no means on the safe side with my 30 days of not smoking. I experience temptations all the time, especially in difficult situations. But that’s when I now smell a challenge which will lead me to the next level, instead of a problem I have to fix as fast as possible. I know there will be times, where it will be very hard, where I will fail. But you know what: That’s no excuse. Next day I will be back two times stronger.
I want to achieve the next level, which is not a goal but a process of a lifetime.
Let’s level up.