Friday, September 17, 2004

giving it up

so ... i don't know why but i decided it was about time i started to give up smoking
notice the clause there ... not actually give it up ...just started to ... well it is a start

it is as hard as they it is
i tried to do it at greenbelt ... my theory was that if i could manage without it there then i would never again be able to say 'ooo i had a really bad stressful day i need a cigarette' ... i could not imagine any day being more stressfull than a day working at greenbelt

i went from wednesday morning until about mid morning friday ... (may have coincided with the point wher ewe open the gates and the pressure starts to mount to that point and i just cracked ... or maybe i am just a big girls blouse and have no staying power) ... and i felt such a failure ... i stayed smoking a little ... i had reduced it drastically but i was smoking

so when i got home i made the rule that i would no longer smoke in the house ... at all ... now i have managed to stick with that and it does help ... our study is on the first floor of the house so it means i create a space where i can fight the urge and usually say to myself 'wait until i have finished what i am doing' ... by which time i have forgotten the urge ... but i still end up having one eventually

the other thing i do is that if i want a cigarette i made the rule that at that moment i will say no ... do something first ... load the dishwasher ... or something like that ... if i still want one then thats ok ... often i don't ...but often i still do ...

now in a lot of ways that is working ... i have on average reduced to below ten a day ... cigarettes not packets :) ... i can smoke three or four during a meeting in a bar or an evening out ... and if i am drinking then i lose the willpower to resist anything ... it's as if i am ok at home where i have made these rules and have a bit of a controlled space but anywhere else requires too much control and the moment my concentration is on something else i lose it and think sod it (so true of so many things :) ... in some ways my strategy is working ... my cigarettes don't stay with me wherever i go in the house they stay by the back door (calling to me) ... and that means i am breaking patterns ... i no longer sit at my computer and write and smoke ... i have even managed to leave the house without them sometimes (as long as it is only ten minutes ... kidding ... i have managed two hours) ... so i am moving in the right direction

i do want to stop ... applying the principle of honest writing (which i try to do but have avoided certain subjects for fear of banging on about issues ... so honest avoidance then! ) ... i started smoking because at that point in my life i was being physically abused by my father and sexually abused by a member of staff at my school ... i got onto a train to return to my school and was very upset and a friend gave me a cigarette to see if it helped ... oh the irony ... swapping one prison for another ... well he was right it did help ... trouble is it helped for a very long time ... it has always helped ... when in doubt light a cigarette ... when i am bored light a cigarette ... when i am angry light a cigarette ... when i am happy hey let's celebrate by lighting a cigarette ... well you get the idea ... classic addict

and i guess compared to what i could have got into it was the better of the evils out there ... but i want it to stop now ... it links me with that past ... emotionally it takes me right back into that point of my life where i needed something to take away the sting of living ... it is like a daily reminder that i can't cope without this drug, this crutch this thing, this stuff ... the proud part of me is ashamed that i need it ... the real part of me is angry that i couldn't manage all those years without it ... and more than anything else i finally want to do this for me

i have always found it ironic that living through the last 25 odd years of my life in the company of christians ... they invariably honed in on this evil smoking thing ... made it the issue ... and all the time they were banging on about the smoking i was desperate to use the line ... 'ha you think that's a problem you should have seen what drove me to them - if you only knew what is really wrong' ... thing is i guess that's why i allowed them to make it an issue ... why i got involved in the fight ... why i defended my right to smoke ... the thin end of the wedge ... the tip of the iceberg ... let's see how you do arguing this one with me and i am guessing you would not really cope with the real serious issue so let's just stay here in the nice easy zone of 'smoking wrong or right you decide' ... hmmm i guess i could have said something ... but then i guess they could have shuddup once in awhile

my fear now is that having started such a concerted effort i could very easily fail ...and it would be so difficult to fail now ... no correction ... it would then be so difficult to start the process again ... i would look at this attempt and think well i tried that and it failed so what's the point ... making it more pressure not to fail ...making me want a cigarette so badly :)

maybe this is what i need therapy for ...everything else is fine ... getting there and dealing with it ... but smoking will need hypnotherapy ... a two hour weekly therapist session ...patches ... cold turkey ...dark rooms ...rubber walls

this drug is not good ... smoking since i was about 14 ... i could do with trying the second half of my life without this cage

new book coming soon ... the agony of the long distance smoker


Kathryn said...

Of course you can do could ever accuse you of not doing the things you set out to. Here's an encouraging/admiring hug, to be taken with alcohol but without nicotine, at home. If smoking helped as a diversionary tactic, I'd say it was an addiction worth developing...If conquering it means another hurdle cleared between you and the past, that's even more worthwhile.
Lots of positive thoughts, (maybe even the odd prayer if you're agreeable)and hope for a stress free time so the need diminishes

Sally said...

Steve I love you for your honesty. We are all addicts in some ways. I could simply take out the word 'cigarette' and insert 'chocolate'..when happy, buy chocolate! When sad, buy it goes on, which is why a few years ago I was eight and a half stone, and now I am..well, larger!! I think, how hard must it be to say, (you know, the little voice in your ehad, at least one of them...) no, you won't buy any chocolate today, it's not good for you, you don't need it, you're not even hungry, you want to lose weight, you want to prove you have the willpower to have control over what you put in your mouth (stop it!) and yet I can't, I fail miserably, when I stop for petrol, when I go to M&S for a sandwich, large bars of chocolate just push their way into my hands, and I am eating them before I leave the shop: it's very complex this addiction thing. You should see how mucy chocolate I eat during a weekend in Bristol visiting my parents!I don't drink or smoke but I come from a family or smokers and alcoholics, I think God was looking after me when he made me with an intense dislike of alcohol...
Nicotine is said to be one of the hardest addictions to beat, harder than heroine - when I was a Press Officer for the National Pharmaceutical Association I used to write their Smoking Cessation campaigns! Love yourself, don't be too hard on yourself, and I know you'll get there...sorry this was supposed to be a comment, not a whole blog!!!xxx