A year ago today, was pretty late at night…like a nocturnal that I am, was on my terrace, as usual sipping wine and smoking my worries away, so to speak. I was thinking all sorts of things. My thoughts followed no pattern, some of it made sense while other’s were sheer blabber. Overwhelmed, all kinds of emotions were running through as I was inhaling the *&^th cigarette of my day and just then…something happened. I call it MAGIC, believe it or not.
Moment of Realization
Who would have thought, something so simple could be life-changing. That magic I was referring to, was my moment of realization—epiphany. Suddenly, all cloudy thoughts and noises inside my head got sidetracked, allowing this simple truth to pass through. I then asked myself, “what the hell am I doing?” I shifted my glance towards the two fingers that had clinched these cigarettes…not a word, I simply stared at it. I asked myself another question “Why am I doing this to myself?” And the questions followed “Do I NOT know it’s consequences?” “How did it all begin and why can’t I stop it?” “Can’t? or don’t want to?” “Who am I fooling?”
Where it all Began?
For all those who smoke, I bet most of ’em have had their own circumstances and reasons for how-o-why they’d started smoking. Mine was, out of curiosity. I was one of those who wanted to try everything, even if it meant failing measurably at it. What was rewarding to me was to get that one experience. But this curiosity soon became a habit, didn’t even realize how this habit turned into an addiction. It’s not that the thought of refraining from it never occurred to me, in fact, it did—several times. So why didn’t I take any action then?
Child Within You
We all have a child within us, some are innocent and others a brat. So what does a child do when they don’t want to give you something they like? They create a reason for why they must have it. Also, the idea of giving up makes them want it even more, whether or not they need it. More often than not, we as an adult are reluctant to give up smoking because first of all, we are addicted to it—admin it. Secondly, it’s an easier choice, which allows us to continue doing what we want to. Last but not the least, somewhere deep down we don’t want to, therefore we look for reasons not to—just like a spoiled child.
Don’t Make Your Fear Bigger Than it Actually is…
In Nepali we have a proverb that says “बनको बाघले खाला नखाला तर मनको बाघले पक्कै खान्छ” This roughly translates into saying, you are likely to be devoured by the tiger that’s on your mind than the one in the jungle. Similarly, when we are addicted to sth, the idea of giving up on it seems way too daunting than it actually is. It seems like an arduous undertaking, therefore, we lack the motivation to even consider trying. And even if some people do try, most of them give up too easily.
Knowing isn’t Enough
Educated or not, we all are aware of the consequences of smoking, but still, many of us do it. I think that’s because our conscience alone isn’t enough to make us do what we ought to. Knowing is one thing and realization, altogether another. Therefore, we need much more than just knowledge. In fact, it’s even more dangerous if you are literate because you have the power to use your knowledge in your favour. One could train their brain into thinking all nonsensical things, for instance, “so what 7+ million people lose their lives each year due to tobacco, I could be an exception.” Really? It is so much easier to buy into any lame excuse for why not to quit than to actually admit it. I’m sure many of you might have witnessed, in smokers little group, there’s always someone who knows someone who had smoked for years but lived a healthy life. Now, how about, that one person is an exception and not the other way round or even fictitious for that matter (who knows).
It’s All in The Mind
I strongly believe ‘it’s all in the mind’ but just like the dreams, aspirations, and motivations of each one us is unique; so is our brain, it’s functioning and how it responds to things. Recognize, realize and react. No nicotine day today or no tomorrow? You need to decide for yourself because no one else can do that for you. Nothing and no one can make you quit smoking, but yourself. It’ll happen for you when you decide.
Listen to Your Body
Back in August 2016, I had been diagnosed with anaemia, followed by hypothyroidism and osteoarthritis. Not a direct cause of smoking but it would slow the pace of recovering and make matters worst. I was advised to quit smoking but I did not. One of the doctors looked surprised and told me “he’d seen patients whose condition were not even at my level – faint.” My mama, who’s also a doctor saw my report and told my mum in a surprising tone “how is she even functioning or communicating to and fro from work on a daily basis?” If F2F I would have replied, “on my two-wheeler.” But jokes apart. In my head, I was perfectly ok, although weekends were darn hard if I recall it now. Maybe that doctor’s report did leave some impact but it actually took me another 6 months to do something about it.
A Wake-up Call
For years I had indulged in this habit and using it as a tool to heal; when it was only causing more damage than any good. That night, when I was in my terrace, it was just like any other night. There was nothing extraordinary about it. However, the realization gave me a new perspective to look at the same old things, but differently. I remember looking at the astray in front of me…it was little drizzled with water so the ashes looked like a wet coal. That grey, brown, or blackish mixture of gases never looked so disgusting and it smelled even worst. That visual was a wake-up call for me. Not the doctor’s report alone, but I guess all things combined.
The Calm Before The Storm
That sight got me thinking, if this is what it looks when it comes in contact with a plain drinking water, think what it could be doing to our body internally? Also, just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t have any effect. So, isn’t it a foolishness to push one’s body to an extent until it actually shows its life-threatening effects? This is one very good example of misinterpreting silence for weakness or resilience for cowardliness.
Treat Your Body Like a Temple
Our body retains everything that we inhale, eat, drink, see, think, feel and more. We are only human made of flesh and bone; so can’t fool ourselves into believing that one can get away with it because the truth is—we cannot. It’s not a choice but a prerequisite to start treating our body like it deserves to be treated.
How many of you have said this before? “I only smoke socially” “and how often do you socialize?” The answer is “almost daily” haha. There’s more…”I’ll minimize the numbers of sticks per day and eventually quit smoking.” “I won’t buy a packet of cigarette, just a few sticks when I get the urge.” “I don’t smoke once I reach home” so on and so forth. Trust me, I’ve been there. But on a positive note, if you’ve said one of these statements once in your lifetime, some part of you really want to quit. All that you lack is the motivation to actually go ahead and do it.
“Quit Smoking by Gradual Reduction.” This never worked for me. In my defence, if you gradually decrease the number, there are equal chances that one could gradually increase them too. It’s not necessary what worked for one, will work for all. Try and see what works best for you, but what’s really important is that you TRY.
Don’t Feed the Devil Inside You
You know what’s the toughest battle one can easily lose? The one we have with ourselves. So, be stubborn in this regard. Don’t let a make-believe idea that your mind has adapted to, use it against you. We all have the good and bad within us, just don’t feed the devil inside you.
Often we don’t even realize the power we have to create a magic. What is magic? Sth impossible made possible! I got my magical moment to decide “enough is enough. I quit! And I quit now.” Which I did, and never looked back. To my surprise, I didn’t even get the urge to smoke the next day and that’s the power of the mind. However, I wasn’t fully convinced that I’d actually done it, that’s why I’m posting this blog after a year. Now, I am confident that I’ve faced and successfully fought the devil inside me. If I can, so can you.
Some tips for you to try
- Do the math. See how much you spend on a daily, monthly or a yearly basis on a cigarette. Include the measures you use to reduce them such as patches, gums etc.
- Weigh them. Money spent on cigarettes Vs groceries with healthy foods and drinks
- Money spent on smoking till date and what you could do with it today? Could have saved that amount, invested, donated for a cause and more…
- Check for its consequences, do a full body diagnosis. How many of the problems you are facing are being triggered by smoking? How many of those could be minimized if you quit?
- Replace the smoke time with sth healthy, do yoga, meditate, go for a walk or call a friend you haven’t spoken to, write etc. There’s so much you can do.
- Take one moment at a time, it will pass if you allow it to.