Year I started smoking: 1991
Number of times I tried to quit smoking: Countless
Last failed attempt: 14 October 2007
Last attempt to quit smoking: 15 October 2007
Last time I lit up and smoked: 27 January 2008
Do I still consider myself a smoker? No more! I lit up and smoked last 27Jan. I enjoyed it but I made a decision not return to smoking. I’m really glad those 2 sticks didn’t restart the habit for me.
Will I light up again and smoke? I really hope not. I will admit that there are times when I am tempted to smoke.
I started smoking because I wanted to. I even I auditioned for a role in a stage play that required smoking so I can “legally smoke” (as in have a reason for the parents why I was smoking) and I can learn how to smoke properly. *in my world then, it made perfect sense…hay baliw*
From mooching, I eventually graduated to buying my own pack. In 2005, to help me quit I switched from filters to menthol. The plan was to cut down because I really didnt like menthol cigs. I ended up liking it. *Failure*
When I started running in 2007, I was still smoking. I would notice that I’d ran out of breath pretty quickly. So I would experiment with not smoking a few hours before a run (hahaha yes. I knew naman that smoking was bad me … Of course, I knew that. But in my crazy world and logic I was just hoping that all that smoke and nicotine going to my lungs won’t affect my running.) And of course, my performance was definitely different if/when I don’t smoke.
In September 2007, we programmed our key races…New Balance PowerRace, Yakult 10Miler and the Subic Half Marathon. I decided that if I wanted to survive the races I needed to cut down or better yet quit.
14Oct2007 800pm. I lit my last cigarette. After I finished the stick, I got my remaining cigs, soaked it in water then it threw away with my lighter. It was a big production number for me. A dramatic gesture to end my smoking habit.
14Oct2007 930pm. I left the house to buy another pack. I chain smoked 5or 6 I think and promised to really quit the next day. While I was smoking I strategized. I knew needed a tool to help me quit smoking. I also wanted to make sure that I won’t end up on an eating binge. While I smoked, I decided I will make a journal to help me cope. I also started cutting out power words and striking images from magazines to help me keep focused and motivated.
The ideas was whenever I get the urge to smoke, I will pull out the journal, find a power/motivational word and write in the journal to distract myself. I will also log the number of days, hours and minutes I have not smoked so that I will have milestones. I’m sharing some of my journal entries here with you.
Its been 8months and 6days since I officially quit smoking.
Here are some of my sticking to the quitting game tips:
1. I identified my smoking triggers and devised ways to avoid them. I really sat down and wrote down the things that makes we want to light up.
2. Smoking is dangerous to your health. It makes you stink. It can lead to cancer. Your second hand smoke is killing your friends. All abstract. I needed something concrete to hold on to. I needed a better hook. I failed several times because my goal then was to just quit smoking because it was bad bad bad. I was able to stick to the quitting game this time because I had a bigger plan and more concrete reason. I wanted to run longer and faster. Shallow? Maybe, but I dont really care, the important thing was that it worked for me.
3. I made a plan. I knew that it was going to be stressful and I devised ways to cope with the stress. My coping mechanism was keeping a journal. Luckily, this worked for me. There are lots of ways to cope with stress … apart from smoking.
4. I forgave myself everytime I slipped. So I lit up … it doesn’t mean I can’t go on anymore. It certainly doesn’t mean that I have to quit quitting.
5. I tested my selfcontrol one step at a time. Going out again with my friends who smoke and watching them smoke and not light up was very hard for me. I still celebrate every minute that I am able to stay away from smoking.