- January 30, 2006
"I've now lived over two and a half years without cigarettes. Just before I quit, I was smoking nearly two packets a day. The idea of going without was intolerable and I'd sometimes drive around Paris in the middle of the night just to find somewhere to buy cigarettes. I stopped smoking just like that, without any help other than this website. If someone had told me I could do that, I'd have laughed in their face and probably blown out a big smoke ring for good measure. I used to hide behind the clichés that I still hear my smoker friends saying: Yeah, but I really do find it enjoyable, it's different for me, blah blah blah. Now I know that it's a load of rubbish - it's just what smokers say to justify why they aren't able to make the decision to quit. Anyway, one night, I found myself completely out of cigarettes. It was pretty late, so I decided to go to bed. The next morning I was on the Metro platform when they announced a delay of at least 10 minutes because of strike action. I'd forgotten to buy cigarettes but decided to wait until I got to work because I couldn't be bothered. That wasn't like me. While on the train, I decided to quit smoking. On a whim, just like that. I didn't consider it for a long time or have a specific reason. Like every smoker, I'd told myself I needed to quit every now and then out of guilt, but I'd never done anything about it. I spent the day researching ways to quit, forms of nicotine replacement, etc. In the end I decided not to use anything, and that worked really well. I was even surprised by how easy it was to overcome my addiction. I often hear it said that quitting cigarettes is a question of willpower. In my view, that's not true at all. What requires willpower is making the decision to quit; after that, it's no longer about will. Let me explain. Quitting is about ACCEPTING that you're quitting, and that you'll no longer have the (false) pleasure of cigarettes. In other words, you go through a grieving period for cigarettes. For me, that took a full day, or maybe a bit longer. Once you've got over the mourning period, the rest is (almost) just a formality. You can easily dismiss your daily cravings for cigarettes because you've managed to get yourself into a new mentality where quitting smoking is not seen as a deprivation. You've accepted and come to terms with the loss, so now you are free. People tend to believe that the cigarette they can't smoke would be more enjoyable than the ones they have Well, there we are. I'm not saying that my experience will strike a chord with everyone, but I remain convinced that the key stage in the process is making the decision to quit. If you see quitting as an uphill struggle, a deprivation, and you live in fear and worry about when it will become horrible, I think quitting must be very, very difficult. In this case you would need A LOT of willpower. If, on the other hand, you view quitting not as a constraint but as a benefit, you'll have no (or fewer) problems In a sense, I think everyone is equal when it comes to cigarettes. There are no special cases, no real it's different for me like I mentioned above. All these false excuses just help smokers to run away from making the decision to quit..."