True Confessions: I Used to Smoke

I grew up in a "smoking" family. When I think of my mom I don't think of apple pie; I think of coffee and cigarettes. I would sneak cigarettes in high school. When I became an art student smoking became more habitual. As a young adult in the working world I started smoking everyday. It helped me relax and I loved the excuse of getting away from my desk. Most of my friends were smokers. My boyfriends always smoked. I was a faithful Marlboro Lights girl.

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There are other ways to be a badass besides smoking.

I eventually quit in 1996. My motivation was watching my mom experience breast cancer. It took me a few tries but I finally did it. I would listen to Stuart Wilde hypnosis tapes. I read many books on the topic and decided on trying the concept of giving up one cigarette a day. I started by giving up my "trigger cigarette" at 3:00 p.m. If I accomplished that goal I would treat myself. I would reward my good behavior with something I could afford to buy, go see a movie or maybe just do something enjoyable like taking a nap. Then I would move on to the next "trigger smoke" until I was able to quit completely. 

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One example of an image (although I do confess I love Lauren Bacall) that glamorized smoking.

I had a few relapses. I found that drinking made me want to have "just one". Of course, the next morning I would wake up with that "iron lung" feeling. Eventually, as I ate healthier I no longer craved cigarettes. The last time I smoked was with my dad at his 60th b-day. We shared some high quality cigars. 
If you are trying to quit try out these tips: 
  • Breathe deep. Maybe you don't really want a smoke but a deep breath. When you feel a craving coming on take three slow deep breathes. I would also recommend a regular yoga practice which will naturally include lots of deep healthy breathing. 
  • Hypnosis has helped many people quit smoking. Hypnosis aids in reducing the conflict of the body and the mind. Larry Garrett is one of Chicago's leading hypnotists.
  • Acupuncture can help reduce cravings for cigarettes. Acupuncture also helps with stress reduction and less stress equals less cigarettes. 
  • Get a new pick-me-up. A few ideas: calming essential oils (such as Roman chamomile, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang) vitamin B is great for stress, a stretch break, a cup of green tea, a small piece of dark chocolate or a phone call from a good friend.
  • Give it up. Often in life we have to give up something to get something. By giving up smoking what are you getting? A few possibilities might be a longer life, fresher breath, more energy and more money in your wallet. 
  • Do the Work. Here's a little question taken from Byron Katie's teachings: Who would you be without your story? Who would you be if you were not a smoker? Would you be someone with more energy? Someone with more money to spend on other things besides cigarettes?
  • Avoid situations that trigger cravings. You may have to retire your favorite bar stool for a while or talk less on the phone if talking on the phone is indeed a trigger for smoking. If one of your triggers is the em . . . after-sex-cigarette then perhaps you should burn sage or light incense or take a sip of water instead (you could probably stand to be hydrated anyway).

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