I’m excited to introduce the first in a series of guest blogs on Another bite of the cherry, from my good friend (and sister!) Stephanie Miller. Stephanie has degree in psychology, and in this compelling piece talks about a topic which I am sure will resonate with many readers – trying to quit smoking.
Kudos to Steph, who has managed to kick the habit. Here she outlines her journey to finally being able to call herself a non-smoker….
“I was a smoker for 15 years of my life. I no longer consider myself a smoker.
Last year I decided that 2014 was going to be the year I quit smoking… and so far, so good.
Any habitual smoker will concede that there are usually many failed attempts before something clicks and you are successful in your non-smoking ventures. I have certainly had my fair share of halfhearted, semi-successful attempts.
There was the time I gave up during the week, but was allowed to smoke at weekends. There was another time I gave up, apart from when I was drinking alcohol (which unsurprisingly led my alcohol consumption to increase somewhat!). And then there was perhaps my weakest attempt of all, when I gave up… apart from when it was dark.
In all of these attempts I convinced myself that I was still allowed to smoke in certain circumstances, which only fueled my physical addiction and ingrained belief that I still ‘needed’ to smoke. I was not fully allowing myself to give up the crutch which I had truly grown to believe I needed. If asked to list things about myself, I would undoubtedly have included ‘I am a smoker’. It had come to be one of my defining characteristics and I’m ashamed to say, one that in a strange way I was proud of. Us hardened smokers, willing to huddle outside or trek down 5 flights of stairs to stand in the pouring rain / snow / freezing cold for our ‘fix’ were a dying breed and there was a sense of camaraderie.
My initial ‘quitting’ phase (day 1 = 1st Jan 2014) was aided by the mother of all hangovers after New Years Eve. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I moped about in bed for 3 days. I always found a nasty hangover works wonders for my attempts at quitting (even if it was only for a day or 2). And the hangover from NYE 2013 seemed to do the trick! In hindsight, I am pretty sure the moping, agitation, mild anxiety, desire to scoff anything I could get my hands on and general feelings of anger towards the world were in fact a result of my going cold turkey.
But I can honestly say, after those initial few days, I have so far (apart from the occasions when I have had an alcoholic drink in my hand) not experienced the same cravings that I had on previous attempts. I couldn’t tell you why this is, but I like to think that when I am ready to do something my brain and body work in harmony and allow me to be successful at it. I have now reached the stage where I can actually imagine my life without me smoking in it and the ‘aroma’ that hangs onto smokers’ clothes, hair and breath is now extremely potent to my now sensitive nose (and I thought I had a sensitive nose when I was smoker!).
So, to all you other ‘quitters’ out there, whether it be for 10 years, 6 months or 2 days… stay strong and just remember, we don’t need it! – Steph x