It's been three years since my last cigarette . It was Dec 31st 2013 and I was standing on the rooftop of a club in Taiwan watching fire works fly off Taipei 101 . There's something poetic about quitting smoking in the New Year . Its sort of a nice bench mark to life , the way that chapters separates books or sleep separates days .
As poetic as the line would be , I didn't make the decision to quit on Dec 31st 2013 . I decided to quit exactly 2 months and 2 week before that . I made a decision that night and also came up with the 10 week plan to quit smoking .
Here's the plan
- wk 1 & 2 - cut to 2 cigs a day
- wk 3 & 4- cut to 1 cig a day
- wk 5 & 6 - cut to 1 cig every other day
- wk 6 & 8 - cut to 1 cig a week
- wk 8 & 10 - cut to 1 cig until January 1st
Here's the thing
- THE PLAN DOESN'T MATTER
I've tried quitting 1 time before and I had a plan . it lasted 3 weeks . And It wasn't as if the plan wasn't as good or I got better at making plans . The difference was that the REASON FOR THE DECISION was much much better .
The path to a smoke free life isn't quite as painful as dealing with some real life issues such as poverty , terminal disease , or even just addictions to harder drugs . BUT ! it is relentlessly irritating and annoying to the maximum extreme . You need an extremely good reason to quit . Not only does it have to be good , it has to be truthful .
Here's the thing . To all those people that like to scold smokers , or fake cough around smokers , or spit out the facts describing the bad health effects of smoking : You are doing no one any favors . As a smoker , I know that some people don't like it and I know all of the PSAs about the health factors that come with smoking . I'm the one coughing at night making my nails yellow and making all my stuff smell like cigarettes. I KNOW . Most people know all that stuff before they light up their first cig , it's not going to make me quit because someone else reminded me of that information .
There were plenty of times where I got weak and wanted a smoke , it happened 20 times a day . I can try to keep busy , stay away from smokers , chew gum , whatever . Won't help , it's too easy to smoke . Even when I finished the plan and had stopped smoking for a couple months , I still get weak . and want to smoke . After a year or two , on a Tuesday , in the afternoon , at taco bell , I got weak and wanted to smoke .
The reason to quit smoking has to be so honest and so strong that it can withstand that kind of temptation . Cigarettes are everywhere . Depending on where you are , it's a quick walk or drive and 10 bucks away to smoking heaven . Usually theres a guy within a couple steps you can bum one from . If you're a hot guy or girl , cigarettes will just be offered to you when you're out .
The reason to quit smoking also has to be deeply personal . It has to sit along side you in the darkness and hold you while you're tossing and turning trying to think about something else besides smoking . ANYTHING ELSE . Thats why no matter what people say to you , it's not going to be strong enough to get you through it . Or if the reason you pick isn't something that honestly grabs you in the depths of your soul , you won't last long term .
This may be just me , the 10 week plan gave me a structure but having that reason was how I was able to get through it . The urge does ease off after time but the temptation doesn't ever go away . Or it hasn't for me at least . The addiction may have gotten weaker , or maybe I got stronger , but the fight is still happening quietly , discreetly in the back of my mind .