Every now and again I get a bee in my bonnet about smoking. The hacking cough, the thick mucus, the stinky hair and clothes. Every now and then I decide enough is enough and it’s time to quit. Given my current economic situation – unemployed hobo – and my limited resources, I’ve decided now to quit smoking, once and for all.
Like most idiotic teenagers I started smoking at a young age, the desire to fit in with my group of friends out weighing the knowledge of smoking related health conditions. There was no excuse for someone in my generation to start smoking. Our parents generation didn’t know of the health problems smoking created, but my generation did. I remember being in year 11 at High School – on one of the rare days I actually turned up – and getting an A on a report I’d written on the health related issues of smoking.
I’d written about the PR angle, how back in the 30′s and 40′s the glamour girls of the silver the screen were always seen smoking, how the tough men were never without a cigarette clamped between their teeth, through to the realities of smoking and the now known health issues associated. I remember my teacher writing a note on the paper that said “if there’s one person in here I’m not worried about taking up smoking it’s you, you’ve got your head on straight and you see through the hype”.
6 months later I was working at a local Supermarket, smoking like a chimney with the intention of quitting at 21. Today I’m 40, and I’m still trying to get rid of the damn things.
One of the outcomes of my discussion over the weekend about setting goals has been the realisation that it is time to quit smoking. Whenever I quit smoking I feel powerful for a couple of days, and then I begin to waver. I begin to think “shit I can’t do this FOREVER”. I can’t go the rest of my life without a cigarette, what the hell am I going to do?
Why going without a cigarette for the rest of my life is such a problem I don’t know. What I do know is that it is the way I unravel the work I’ve done. Not just with smoking, but with everything. Look to the future and fail the present so to speak.
It’s the same with losing weight. I set a goal, lose half of it, think “awesome” and next thing I know it’s a container of dip and a packet of Doritos while watching television, washed down with Cola or Wine.
Forever seems to me to be the one thought I can have to wipe out the work I’ve already put into what I’m doing.
So I’ve elected to quit smoking. There’s a line in a movie I love called “Dead Again”. The character is a psychotherapist played by Robin Williams whose now working as a shelf packer in a supermarket. When the lead character says “I’m trying to quit” the Dr says “there is no try, there is do or don’t, but try is a load of shit. Try gives you permission to fail. Do or Don’t there is no try”.
I try a lot. I try this and that, and that over there. Sometimes I do, but mostly I try. I find trying to be trying. It never really gets you anywhere. Hamster in a wheel type of thinking.
So I’m quitting or I’ve quit depending on the time you read this. What I want to know is how others have done it. How others have gone past the cravings and the random and strange fear that swells when you realise you’re achieving what you’ve set out to do. How others combat the old thinking when trying to instal new and better thinking.
I guess the point to this post is if you have a goal you want to achieve, giving up is never an option. Being aware of your own past limitations is all well and good, but they can’t be allowed to dictate your responses the next time.
I’m going the cold turkey route for this exercise. Yes it is forever – at least that’s the goal – but I’m going to take it a day at a time. Nothing else matters in my world right now, but right here. Given the unemployed hobo status and the uncertainty of so many areas of my life, I can only imagine taking control of one aspect will help me do the same in others.