Sunday, October 1, 2006

Day 1/The Day/The Big Day/Cold Turkey Day/Quit Day

My real age is 23 [on paper its 22]. The first time when I smoked was when I was 12. The first time I inhaled a cigarette [instead of just puffing] was the same year - 12. I would buy a couple of Gold Leaf cigarettes, and cycle away in some fields close to my residence area. Each day I bought a new pack of matches [Rs.1] and threw them away. For me there was no peer pressure to smoke. I guess I just wanted to do "something bad". It was the same time when I had developed that annoying little moustache, and of course, my voicebox grew in size so that it became an Adam's apple.

The first time I was suspected of smoking was when I was 14. My mother found a cigarette in a cassette cover and a smashed matchbox in my school bag's pocket that I had forgotten to throw away. I always had a pack of mint candies [HOEST] and in time my mother realised what the purpose of these candies was.

When I was 16, my being a smoker was no secret in the house. For one, the bathroom always smelt of smoke [I didn't bother going to the fields by then]. In school, I had classfellows who wouldn't stand next to me because I smelt of smoke. Of course, I used the school washrooms to smoke. One day I got late for my English class and my teacher, Hasan Shikoh, came after me and found me on the way. He detected the smoke immediately. Thank goodness he didn't make too much of a fuss. That was my closest call to being caught smoking in school.

The same year, my mother, upon realising I was becoming a hardcore smoker, got really upset. She came to my room and lit up a cigarette and said, "If you continue to smoke, I will take up smoking as well." I snatched the cigarette from her and promised her I would quit. That was the first time I tried to quit. It was also the most successful attempt because I stayed clean for a good 3 months.

The reason why I started smoking again was extremely stupid, but hey, I was a teenager with raging hormones! I used to work part-time everyday after school and there was this girl who was my age, did charity work in the same hospital, was filthy rich, and had taken up smoking very recently. Indeed, she was of the opinion that smoking is really cool. So when I got my first chance to be in a locked room with her, it was to smoke. She smoked Dunhills, so I had to get a Marlboro pack for me. There it was. I was a smoker again.

I didn't bother to be secretive about it. I made my peace with my mother, a caffeine addict, by telling her "I would quit smoking if you can stop being addicted to tea." She usually needs two huge mugs of tea every morning to get out of bed.

So its been 11 years since I've been a smoker. My lifestyle includes cigarettes in everything. And the biggest reason for me to stay a smoker: nicotine addiction. Most non-smokers don't understand nicotine addiction. Every human being has a certain level of nicotine in their blood - even people who don't smoke. When a person smokes, he or she actually increases the level of nicotine required in their blood. Now each time when the nicotine goes lower than that level he has become accustomed to, he craves cigarettes. Its what they call a physical [or biological] dependence [not just psychological].

And its been 7 years since I've been trying to quit. Most smokers plan to quit at one time or another, but they keep postponing. I've done that a lot, but I've also tried to set a Quit Day and quit smoking a number of times. Hardly any time did I go beyond 2 weeks without lighting up again.

The fact is, I'm HEAVILY addicted to nicotine. I can get rid of cigarettes and all psychological reasons for smoking [eg. talking over the phone and nothing to hold in my hand], but the moment I stop using Nicotine gum [Nicorette] or Nicotine lozenges [Nicotinell], I go back to smoking.

Despite all this, I'm trying to quit smoking again. And today is the Day 1 where I go cold turkey - cutting off cigarettes completely. I had three cigarettes the day before, in an attempt to cut down before the Quit Day. I don't have any reason why this attempt would be successful, especially because all my close friends here are smokers - 6 people : all smokers. The first week is the hardest, and then each day is hard - any setback could throw me back at smoking. And with the semester taking its toll with assignments, projects, group meetings for research papers etc., I really have to learn how to use my will power efficiently. But quitting smoking is something that needs to be done. And for now, I'm determined to make it happen.


Anonymous said...

Smoking Cessation:

farhan said...

if u were in chicago u could make money while doing it

Tiang said...

Hey there!
I shall leave my very first comment in your blog now...

I'm pretty sure that you are able to quit smoking really soon =)

All the best!

Anonymous said...

hmmmm, impressive... i doubt u remember me tho... i met u like once in 1st yr.. anyway, i gotta forward the link to this post to some of my friends....

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