Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Congratulations - Stars Banners Drum Roll Please

Yea, you guessed it or maybe you didn't, because no one else gets so excited about ......... wait for it, no not the bathrooms - TWO YEARS SMOKE FREE. I know thousands, if not millions of people have given up smoking with no fanfare or blow by blow account of the torture, but this is huge for me.

When I sat down on Saturday the 4th of May 2013 at around 17h30 with a Cappuccino and my last cigarette... it was the best cigarette I EVER smoked - as I type this I can taste it and feel it between my lips and fingers as I inhale deeply and just enjoy every last draw. OK, I am back to 2015 and as I was saying when I sat down that day there was no reason to believe that I was giving up smoking for good and that I would succeed. I was NEVER going to give up smoking EVER and then I did. I somehow knew that I was going to give up for good and that I was going to succeed. It did however take me five days to write about the end of an era on my blog and from then on I was determined not to fail.

The time was right and it was a long time coming. I first started thinking about it just before my birthday in 2012 when I was doing a Sevens List, which was an online thing at the time. It's a list of goals instead of New Year Resolutions, the reality... it was just a different name for News Resolutions, because Resolutions are cheesy and stupid and no one sticks to them and I never stuck out my Sevens List either - I had given up before I had even typed them out.

Then when I landed up in hospital with an abcess in my jaw and I was too sick to smoke {the first time ever in my smoking life that I was too sick to smoke}, I started giving it a lot of thought, but at the same time knew I would never give up - I loved smoking far too much. I still do and the other night I had a dream about smoking and dreamt that I was at a stage that I could have a smoke and be OK - that is NEVER going to happen. If I have one I am going to be 40 plus again, but yes I STILL have those smoking dreams.

I have to say that these past couple of months I have finally felt healthy and I have felt that spurt of energy people talk about, but it is nothing to write home about and it has to do more with changing my diet than anything else. In November and December I was the heaviest I have ever been and the unhealthiest. Not only was I overweight (still am, but not as bad), but I was so bloated, I think my brain was even swollen and that was because I turned to stodge, and chips and biscuits and sweets and every unhealthy thing you can think of to help with the habit and cravings. About ten days before we went away, I realised that I had to do something as I was out of breath without even exerting myself and just felt awful and went on a detox and then cut out sugar and gluten from January and tried to eat as clean as possible. I feel better now although for the past two weekends I have been eating junk, because it has just been easier with these builders here from early in the morning until after 6 or 7 at night -every weekend.

I haven't saved any money from not smoking perhaps because I didn't take the money and put it in a smoking jar as suggested by the Kickbutt Program. Lets face it we hardly use cash these days in the age of plastic and you can't swipe your debit card in the opening of a jar and drawing cash to put in a jar is just not practical or economical. Besides that any savings and more went straight to my stodge pot of comfort foods and medical bills. As my smoking journey progressed so did my medical journey of weird and wonderful illnesses. I am definitely not knocking the Kickbutt Program, because it has just enough psycho mumbo jumbo to get you through the first six weeks at least. Although there are a couple of points I totally disagree with like thinking of yourself as a non smoker and avoiding smokers in the beginning, it is a very realistic program as far as honesty in side effects and ease of giving up - it is not easy and not a walk in the park. It is a physical and mental addiction and you feel worse long before you feel better. The cravings don't go away, I still crave two years later and you cannot avoid smokers forever. Avoiding them in the beginning is just going to increase your chances of sucumbing to the temptation when suddenly surrounded by the smokers you have been avoiding. I am not a non smoker, I will always be a smoker, a smoker that no longer smokes, but like any addiction and habit, I can start again at any time. I have to always be aware of that and fight the urge everyday.

Maybe it is because I love smoking and really enjoyed it that I feel this way, but I do hate the smell of smoke now - not the smell of a lit cigarette, unless it is one of those cheap nasty strong brands, but that stale old smell that clings to everything and lingers behind you long after you have stumped it out. I have an irrational fear of fire and because of that I never emptied ashtrays at night, I would leave them overflowing until I was sure that there was not a tiny spark ready to burn down the house, sometimes pouring water over the ashtray and cigarette stubs - oh my word you know how that smells. I would smoke my cigarettes right up to and past the filter, because for one reason, as stupid as it is, I didn't want to waste cigarettes, because you know those times you run out and almost climb the wall craving for a cigarette and you don't have - like smoking every inch of the cigarette is going to solve that problem and the other reason was so I knew the cigarette was dead when I put it out - there was nothing left to burn.

Can you believe the brown filter cigarette in the picture above and the two below are toy cigarettes - crazy hey. Chad's friend bought them (years ago) when I was still a smoker. I always thought toy and sweet cigarettes were banned from South Africa. How bad are these photos from my very first blackberry almost as bad as the cigarettes

Well I made 2 years smoke free and I think it is true that it takes 2 years before you feel the benefits of giving up - obviously depending on how long you have been smoking for.  I hope I don't jinx this, because I am scheduling this post,because I know I won't have time to do it on Monday evening - sometimes it is not so much as too busy to blog, but lack of motivation, mainly because there is something better on TV to watch than hash out my life in a blog post.

This is why I disagree about calling myself a non smoker - I am a smoker that no longer smokes, but could so easily start again at any time. EEEEEEEEEEkkkkkkkkkkkk I hope not - having these builders around is not helping, although they smoke outside there is this constant smell of freshly lit cigarettes all the time, which could be why I am craving so badly.

I don't do it often enough, but when it comes to my non smoking I always give myself a well done and massive congratulatory pat on the back and salute.

Oh and in case you are wondering where I get my Tickers from - they are from Ticker Club. I decided to make a new one for this post, with a new design, because I have come from those huge dark clouds of smoke to almost fresh and flowery. My health and my quitting journey. There are Tickers for all events and no this is not a sponsored post, just a sharing fun stuff link.

As long as I stick to my one and only tip, which is NOT to give in to that one nagging craving I should be OK, because just one will lead to another and another and another.

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