I unexpectedly stopped smoking 2 years ago. I never actually planned to stop. I was 16 when I started, I think just out of pure curiosity. I was growing up, trying to find my place in the world, attempting to smoke away my worries. At 22 I was smoking close to 2 packs a day, one during the day and one at night when I would go out for drinks and parties.
Even though I know all the consequences smoking has, I just told myself not to take life so seriously. In the end I did quit smoking for health reasons. I went to my doctor and told him I constantly had throat infections and severe colds. He told me it was completely normal to have 4 colds a year, his eyes widened in disbelief when I answered that I was having 4 colds a month. Do you smoke he said? I completely denied it was because of my addiction to cigarettes. When the smoking started burning holes in my tonsils and I had a raspy voice for 2 months, that's when I really decided to make a change.
Breaking Bad Habits
I quickly realised smoking was nothing more than a bad habit, most of the time it wasn't even about the nicotine for me. I smoked because I was in the presence of other smokers, because I was used to having it with my coffee or simply because I was outside! I clearly remember it would take me 2 cigarettes to get to the city, which meant 20 minutes in non smoking terms.
How I Quit
I decided to go cold turkey. I never transitioned from a lot to less, I went from 40 cigarettes a day to nothing. Even though that seems harsh, it really wasn't. I allowed myself to have a pack of cigarettes with me everywhere I went, just the thought of having them there was comforting to me: being able to pull one out whenever I wanted. I would lie if I told you I never smoked after that again, I did but only when I would be really upset about something, not because my body was crying for nicotine.
The Green Tea Solution
To tackle the smoking habit I tackled the habits that came with it. Instead of coffee or alcohol I would drink tea. This was around the time green tea was the solution to everything and I bought it. Green tea became a part of my daily routine. About a month or so into it I saw a huge difference in my health and appearance. Not only was my throat finally doing better, I just looked better overall. This tea was detoxing me big time. Looking back to it I clearly swapped my nicotine addiction for caffeine, but it worked and I was happy.
Suppressing the Urge
The most difficult part for me was suppressing the urge to smoke when I was out and about, alone or with my friends. Because I couldn't possibly lock myself up at home just for the sake of not smoking I would chew gum, normal gum. When your breath reeks of mint it makes cigarette smoke smell and taste really bad. It's like drinking juice after your just brushed your teeth.
This green tea revelation steered me towards a healthier living. I partied less, quit drinking alcohol for a while, and even found the motivation to do a sugar detox. You need to take in consideration that at this point in my life a lot of things were changing. I had just met my boyfriend, a lot of my friends moved away and it was better for my job not to have 'smoker' on my resume.
There was one time where I (thought I) started smoking again but I quickly lost the habit. I had just moved to another country and I was looking for comfort. Today, I am perfectly able to drink a cup of coffee, go out or drink alcohol without even thinking about smoking. I never understood why former smokers get so annoyed with smokers but now I do, it stinks and it makes your breath smell like something died in your stomach. I rarely allow people to smoke in my house now.
Before & After
I like that I quit smoking but I also miss how chilled out I was by it. I'm much more irritable now than I was before. I still walk around with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, you just never know! I bet they are so old even a smoker wouldn't want to smoke them. About that green tea habit, it died a while ago, I got tired of the taste and I never replaced it with anything else. Lots of people start eating their feelings once they stop smoking, I've been about the same weight for years now so that never really was an issue.
I hope my story was helpful or interesting for some of you. I didn't plan for it to be so long, most of you probably got bored along the way due to the lack of pictures!
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