Wednesday, September 26, 2007

4 Years Free

This week marks the 4th year I have been nicotine free.

During those 4 years, I have only had 1 puff from a lighted cigarette which was enough to cause a coughing fit and brought me close enough to want to barf the meal I had earlier. This was a far cry from my 3 pack a day habit back in 2003 before I decided to quit. Nowadays, I try to place myself upwind from any smokers around me to avoid having to deal with the nausea due to second hand smoke. I try not to be too militant about it but I generally try to arrange it so that any smokers with me would have a less than ideal opportunity to light up as long as I can help it.

Trying to quit smoking was not easy for me. In fact it was a hellish time in my life that I would never want to ever have to go through again. Heck … it was an experience that I wouldn’t even want to wish on my enemies. It took all of my will power to get me through those dark days into a smoke free life. It was one of the earlier milestones in life that proved to me that regardless what I think, I do have the will power to go through something that I have set myself up to. It didn’t have to take an outside intervention or big push from someone that got me to quit. It just took my realization that if I don’t quit, I would just get worse faster than I would get better.

My life has changed since I decide to stop smoking. Other than the obvious health benefits, the way I live out my daily routine had to be adapted to a smoke-free existence. I didn’t lose any of my smoking buddies but I had to met up with them in different situations instead of the habitual gathering around the ashtray bin for a group smoke. I stopped going out to clubs as I became more sensitized to the amount of second hand smoke in them (on top of being over the age group that one became seen as a troll in those places). I started to become more health conscious especially while trying to lose all that weight I gained after quitting the cancer stick.

Do I feel tempted to smoke? I would be lying if I said I don’t. There have been times that the temptation was so strong that I found myself very close to succumbing to it. There were so many reasons that I could make up to justify why I would be OK with lighting up just that once but then I remind myself of the hell that I went through to stop. Granted that the temptations come less and less as the years go by but it’s still there in the back of my mind patiently waiting for a moment of weakness. It is up to me to remain vigilant against the slide back into nicotine dependency.

Do I regret my years as a smoker? A part of me does but then there is this other part of me that takes it as a life learning experience. Being a smoker back then opened doors and social opportunities that I would have not got had I not smoke a cigarette in my life. I’ve met fellow smoker friends who I would have not gotten a chance to talk to had I not had to bum a light. There was a point in my life back then when I would equate the level of trust with the willingness to let someone bum a smoke. If I had never started smoking, I would have never had to go through an ordeal that proved to me the extant of what I was able to accomplish if only I put my mind to it.

What I tell people now is that if you don’t smoke, don’t start. It’s a hard habit to break and something that won’t provide any beneficial returns in the long run. For those who are currently smoking, I would just ask them to look at the reasons why they are smoking. Those reason may have long been moot so consider whether they still need to fulfill that reason by smoking. I have no problems with people who continue to smoke. I just wished that I could stand closer to these people and not feel like I need to puke at the first whiff of their breath. Wouldn’t it make more sense to be able to talk face to face instead of having to stand a few feet upwind from the smokers?


[danial][ma] said...

what a great milestones...congrats to you... :)
may you have a good health for the years to come...cheers!

Nickxandar said...