Over the course of my life, I’ve managed to beat several addictions. From the trivial (such as managing to stop biting my nails last year) to the very serious (the likes of which I won’t go into now), there’s a great sense of pride and achievement to be derived from managing to give up doing something bad.
The observant amongst you may have noticed that I’ve been away recently: in glorious Pembrokeshire for a few days and then on England’s south coast over the weekend. Almost accidentally, these breaks from the routine became the perfect opportunity to tackle my last significant addiction.
I’ve made several unsuccessful attempts at giving up smoking in the past, but I’m not one of these people who is constantly trying to give up. Quite the opposite, in fact: I really, genuinely like smoking. Very rarely have I expressed any desire to stop doing it. But this, I think, describes exactly why I have failed to give up in the past: I didn’t really want to stop. Unlike previous attempts, I do now want to stop smoking, but not because I don’t like it anymore or because of the health warnings on the packaging or in the media. In fact, my giving up has nothing to do with smoking. It’s all to do with me, and the fact that I don’t want to be addicted anymore. This time, I didn’t give up because it’s killing me: I gave up simply because I wanted freedom from the addiction.
Going away meant that my usual routine was disrupted, and this successfully helped me complete the first stage of giving up: the part where you stop doing it. It was surprisingly easy: there’s enough natural beauty in Pembrokeshire to distract you from anything else. It was so easy, in fact, that I had proper time to prepare for the next stage: going back and continuing my life under the normal routine without smoking. This was also easier than I thought it would be: I’d managed a good few days and I was in no mood to stop there. I’m now into the next stage, where the target is to forget about smoking altogether, and to disassociate from it completely.
No gum, no patches, no hypnotherapy, maybe a few more mint humbugs than usual but, most importantly, no cigarettes. Today is the fourteenth day.