Quitting with support.

I think one of the reasons I haven’t managed to successfully quit smoking in the past is because I’ve always gone at it alone. It can be a very lonely experience trying to quit smoking. In the past I’ve felt isolated and confused, angry and distraught. Unfortunately the people closest to me get the brunt of this. It is something that is worrying me as my quit smoking date is fast approaching.

I’ve decided this time I’m pulling out all the stops and I’ll be visiting the local quit smoking service. They run drop-ins and groups which are free. This is something I’ve never considered before but I am definitely going to try it. I will stop at nothing now to finally quit. This has gone on for far too long and the potential consequences if I continue to smoke are too great to ignore.

Several people have told me that I will need some kind of plan which is something I’ve never considered. I’ve just jumped in feet first and hoped for the best without any thought as to what I should be doing to keep smoke free. Hopefully the quit smoking service will have a few tips or ideas that I may have overlooked.

Has any one out there had experience of these quit smoking support groups? Apparently my local surgery offers a stop smoking support group and they also have a smoking cessation adviser so maybe registering with them will provide me with someone to be accountable to as well as someone to call on for support. I’m not letting pride get in the way of my quitting this time. It’s no easy task to give up smoking and anyone who says it is can come and visit me in a couple of weeks time. By then I should be either moderately unhinged or even full-on psychotic!

Playing the health lottery.

I’ve been playing the health lottery for a while now. No not the cash winning prize draw held weekly for anyone who buys a ticket but the lottery I’ve been playing with my health virtually all my adult life. The top five causes of premature death in England and Wales are cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and liver disease. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing the first four of those.

This doesn’t look good for someone like me who has been smoking for a long time and has had difficulty quitting. It’s not helped by my inactive lifestyle and heavy ‘social’ boozing. (I always feel better when I add the ‘social’ tag to any of my maladaptive coping strategies.)

I don’t like the idea of being an addict (nicotine). Labels such as ‘addict’ are synonymous with negative social stereotypes and conjures up an image of a morally deficient or weak willed character. I’m sure all addicts aren’t and I don’t think I am either. When I put my mind to doing something I generally do it well and I try to do the best I can for my family.

Perhaps giving up smoking would be the best I could do for my family under the circumstances. I know I am slightly overweight, I’m the wrong side of 40 and I have slightly high blood pressure. This puts me in a high risk category of ill-health, disability or even premature death. Despite my awareness my previous attempts to quit smoking would suggests I’m lacking in ‘something’ but it’s definitely not my desire to quit!

I think that something may be asking for professional help. I’ve never asked before. I’ve just jumped in feet first and ridden the cold turkey train. Friends and colleagues have mentioned it to me several times – the local stop smoking service that is. But what can they tell me? I know smoking is doing me in and I know I need to stop so what can they add to that?!?!?

I’ve always been a proud Cornishman who stands on his own two feet and I generally don’t ask for help with personal issues, it’s not how I was raised. This time I think I will! This time I must quit…for good! Whats the worst that could happen? Winning the aforementioned (ill)health lottery I guess!

My Quit-Smoking Journey

Well I’ve decided I’m quitting smoking…again.  It’s possibly the easiest thing in the world to think about quitting. I’ve thought about it effortlessly for a number of years now. Actually quitting is a another story. This blog is intended to provide me with a constructive distraction – an activity which I hope will benefit myself and hopefully others. I’ve never ‘blogged’ before but I have tried to quit smoking on my own several times without success. I have been a smoker for all my adult (and teenage) life and it’s something I’ve wanted to quit for a number of years. It really does bother me and it also bothers my wife and children. It even bothers people at work! Being one of the few smokers left at the workplace I often get disapproving looks when I sneak off for a fag break.

I have difficulty with moderate physical tasks often becoming breathless and tired. I quite possibly need to look at other areas of my life like my drinking habits and my diet but I really feel that smoking is the major change I need to address first. It’s going to be tough. I’ve looked at all sorts of statistics and they don’t exactly fill me with confidence however, with the right support and advice I’m sure I can do it. Other people have and it’s changed their lives for the better so why should I be any different?

Please follow and comment especially if you have a story involving quitting. I will be updating this blog a couple of times a week. Any comments or support will be greatly appreciated. I tend to say it how it is and I like to be honest. I think honesty is the key when addressing any negative behavior or addiction.

Giving up…..everything?!?!?!

Well it’s nearly Christmas and already the build up to it is providing excellent ‘camouflage’ for people like me who are pretty much drunk all year round. I welcome the way Christmas makes it socially acceptable to drink excessively at unusual times of the day. At work I can get wasted every lunchtime because people keep going to the pub for an afternoon ‘Christmas drink’. However, drinking presents unique challenges for someone who is trying, or will be trying to give up smoking in the New Year.

giphy

A large part of my social life revolves around the dubious social dynamics of the ‘local boozer’. The pub is a hub of lively debate on random topics that we all know very little about such as ‘Brexit’ or what species would win in a fight between a badger and a mongoose. In all honesty I know and care very little about any of the typical half-cut pub trivia. What I am concerned about is how I take reasonable steps to maintain abstinence from smoking when I know that a few beers and a pointless confab with one of the locals will set me up for a fag in the freezing cold!

I need a strategy! I doubt anyone will care if I never go down the pub again, in fact many people will welcome the idea! This giving up smoking is actually looking more life changing than I initially imagined…..it had better be worth it!

Quitting….gradually?

I’ve often thought about quitting gradually. But that to me says I’m not really ready to quit. I know that if I am still in the throws and grip of addiction that as soon as I get down the boozer and get slightly oiled, I’m going to hit the fags with a big stick! I would just be kidding myself.

Many people have said to me that the only way to quit is just to stop and that means cold turkey. Well I’ve started to cut down anyway just to see how I feel. I am still aiming to give up completely come New Years Day so I guess this is sort of a dress rehearsal to see what sort of physical reactions and cravings I get.

I didn’t smoke till after I had breakfast and got ready and I managed not to have the fag in the car on the way to work.

james-dean-smoking

I aim to schedule my fag breaks one every two hours instead of the usual one every hour or so depending on my workload. If my workload is heavy I tend to smoke more as I feel stressed which of course is extremely counter productive. Not to mention all the looks and raised eyebrows I always seem to get when I slope off for a quick smoke. There are only two of us in the office now who smoke.

We are quite literally a dying breed! I bet James Dean never had this problem!

Last day of real work.

Well not only is it the weekend but Christmas is rapidly approaching and so is…..AHHHH New Year’s Eve! Upon which I will be embarking on my new fag free existence. I’ve already started stressing about it and as a result I’m smoking even more! Someone at work offered some advice, she said “start making a smoking diary up to when you actually give up, that way the Doctor or local stop smoking service will be able to determine how much nicotine replacement therapy you’ll need like patches or chewing gum.”

That’s all very well until I get down the boozer and smoke like a bloody chimney, and diary’s and well my general ability to communicate tends to deteriorate directly in proportion with how much alcohol I consume so I can’t guarantee the accuracy of any such record. I may just tell the Doctor or therapist that I smoke bloody  loads, more than I can actually count to and that way they’ll have me looking like a very badly made patchwork quilt with all the patches they’ll be sticking to me.

They’ll probably have to stick a very strong one over my mouth and perhaps use them like duct tape to tie my hands behind my back! Can you get nicotine patches on a roll? That’s not a bad idea, nicotine bandages maybe, hey I might have something here!

mummy-1

Anyway on a brighter note, today was probably the last day that anything gets done at work as next week it’s the usual office parties, mundane festivities and generally doing nothing of real consequence. Next week we’re all getting paid to drift peacefully toward the Christmas break. I have an excel spreadsheet which I may tweak by moving stuff around or changing the colour of the column headers or summink. It’s always handy to have a spreadsheet open on your desktop so people think you’re actually doing something. And it’s the office Christmas night out next Friday where we all get pissed and share each other’s fags!

It’s that time of year…again!

Ahhhh! the ‘voices’ they’ve started early this year and they’re not just ‘in my head’. Well in truth they’ve been around for a long time, actually they never go away! But they seem to get louder this time of year. They keep telling me “it’s time to quit…for good!” It’s on the radio, the TV and all over social media, it’s relentless.

Maybe this is an indication that I really need to do it this time! It’s not made any easier as it’s a popular talking point among friends – “what are your New Year Resolutions?” I don’t even bother to tell my friends I’m giving up smoking – they’re bored of that one, so I just make something up, something I’ve never had a problem with. I’ve said it so many times it’s just embarrassing!

But this time…this time it’s different (I think). I’m not getting any younger and I’m starting to feel the negative effects of just a few quick fags, well a few sometimes but it depends on circumstances. I don’t even know how much a moderate smoker smokes or indeed if I fall into that category, I always said I was a ‘social smoker’ but that’s nonsense really. All I know is I’m ready for a life changing challenge….or a train crash!!! 😩

I have all the tips, I’ve seen all the graphically disturbing images (yawn) and I’ve heard all the jokes (groan)…all I need now is…well it’s like this….in the past my New Year contract with myself to give up smoking had a conditional list of sub-clauses. (N.B. anyone of these conditions could happen, are happening and indeed have happened or maybe are about to happen or maybe they did happen and now I’m reliving that ‘happening’. Oh and this list of sub-clauses is by no means exhaustive).

The section of ‘understandable exceptions’ include and are not limited to – smoking when stressed, smoking while drinking, smoking when the missus is giving me shit, smoking after seeing someone on the television smoking, smoking after eating and the list goes on.  Also just having what is technically known as the ‘odd fag’. Oh, and smoking while driving. That’s more of a personal thing but it helps me focus, otherwise I would probably crash! I am taking this quitting smoking thing seriously but determination must be tempered with reasonableness!

Well…maybe my approach to this ‘giving up smoking’ thing needs to be looked at…we’ll come back to it later; meanwhile I’m off for a umm quick fag! This blogging about giving up smoking is quite stressful! Countdown to NYE….22 1/2 days or thereabouts…