Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No fire without a smoke?

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28:  A woman smokes a cig...

Its been more than one month now that I quit smoking. I always thought that I could quit anytime I wanted, that I am not addicted to nicotine ....and I was right. Maybe not! Only time will tell.

When people came to know about it, a lot of undeserved credit for being health conscious came my way. Although I knew this was not the primary reason for this decision (it was just a bonus), I didn't correct them right away as I didn’t wish to talk too much about the actual reason. But then my threshold to hear how new-age I am, how I am doing all the right things blah blah (I had recently joined a gym too) was crossed and I couldn’t hear it anymore. I had to clear the air. The real reason for quitting smoking came from the fact that my mom was visiting me. Its not that she doesn’t know about my smoking (although I am not sure if she has any clue about the details like since how long, how many a day, intermittent or continuous etc etc).

So you say why quit then? Well the thing is, even when I know she knows, I obviously cant smoke in front of her. Now given the fact that we were going to a spend a lot of time together during this trip of hers, it automatically meant that I would have had to refrain from smoking for long periods of time in a stretch. I was sure I would crave for smoking during those times (Ok I know I said before that I think I am not addicted …. but did I say not addicted psychologically??). I was sure not being able to smoke during those hours would make me irritable and probably I would end up being cross with her at some subconscious level. I didn’t want to take that chance. I didn’t want to run that risk of saying/doing something which would have made her feel bad especially in a faraway land where she has no one but me. I wanted the non smoking situation not to become a function of her presence but a restraint imposed by my own self. At that time,I didn’t know if I would be successful in actually quitting, but I wanted to try nevertheless. So I did (try), starting two weeks before she arrived.

So I have been holding my ground for sometime now (5 weeks now) and I am doing fine, although I would be lying if I said I never had those weak moments when I felt like giving in. But to my credit, these moments were rare and comfortably spaced. So I carried on with my self imposed non smoking condition. You know how they say that after quitting for some time, if you happen to have as much as one smoke, there is no chance of your continuing your resolve after that. Guess what, "they" are wrong. I happened to go for some drinks twice during these days (once with friends & once my MDs idea of managers meeting over drinks) … craved for a smoke each time and had a couple of them each time. (I don’t remember if I have ever had a drink without a smoke… yes I know I am a bad girl :P... or maybe i started smoking the same time when i accepted the idea of social drinking). So even after those couple of smokes, I havent gone back to it .. "it" being regular smoking, of course! And I am fine with those two aberrations.

Ok so all good, right? Actually no. In the wake of this non smoking existence, I have been faced with some problems. Now, if i don't suffer from the physical withdrawal symptoms, what on earth could be my problem, you ask?? Well....

The problem is that now I don’t know how to take my breaks during working hours . You see, for the last 7 years, since i have been working, taking a break was synonymous with going for a smoke. Now I just don’t know what to do. And surfing internet etc wouldn’t work because I need to get up from my seat at least once in 2-3 hours. Arghhh!

The problem is that I don’t know what to tell myself during long boring meetings to keep me going. The idea of lighting a cigarette as soon as the meeting is over used to work wonders for my motivation to make it through the meetings. I don’t have that anymore. Arghhhh!

The problem is that all my ideas of unwinding (e.g. after a long day at work, sitting in the balcony with a cup of tea or sitting on the floor watching TV or lying in the couch listening to music), all my ideas/fantasies of soothing moments of pleasure (like feeling the wind in my hair driving through the hills, feeling the warmth of tea after experiencing chilling cold in my bones during a windy winter day, sitting on a rock in a moonlit night on some secluded beach) invariably involved a smoking moment. Now these (even at the idea stage) feel incomplete. Arghhhhhhhhh!

I know, I know, the benefits far outweigh these silly sounding problems of mine. For starters if a guy (esp a prospective groom suggested by some family connection) now asks me about smoking, I can comfortably say NO … and unlike what i experienced in the past, avoid going through a tortuous predicament of choosing between telling him the truth and preventing this news from travelling back to my mother (You see at one point of time, my mother didn’t know. And I didn’t want her to know from someone else but me, if at all. And imagine that someone being connected to my family network in some way. It would have been scandalous to say the least).

I remember one such incident when I was really torn between these choices – going with the truth OR protecting my mother from a shocking discovery & the unnecessary gossip/ controversy in the family (You see, it was a family network alliance). 

So the guy asked me the dreaded question. I had to think really hard inspite of all the hard work put in my room mates (I used to stay in a PG then, full of such kind helping souls) in teaching me how to either clearly lie or tactfully evade the question. Anyway in that meeting, when the question was popped, I decided I couldn’t do either of the two (no lying – cos I thought what if this is really important to him? And no evading the question – simply because I suck at that big time). 

So I came up with this – “I used to but I have quit now” After a split second when my conscience told me that what I had just uttered amounted to lying, I added – “but I am very prone to start again anytime”…. Ha! Make sense out of that!! Yes, I was crazy back then too. 

How did the guy respond, you ask?? Well he kept quiet…. of course! But in his defense, who could make anything out of that confused statement. Plus i know for sure, he didn’t have a slow wit - How did i know? Heres how - I thought of having a little fun with him before ending the meeting (once I figured at some point during our meeting that this alliance is not going to work out cos smoking was a big deal to him. Again, can you blame him?). 

So I asked him – “What if all goes well, we decide to marry and on the big day I come to you and tell you that I have started again” He just smiled so I had to force the realization upon him that the question wasn't meant to be rhetorical and I was expecting an answer. He smiled again. I asked again. After 3-4 times of repeating this, he finally said – “I will give you the light. Now wasnt that sweet and funny both? Why, you ask? Well.. let me remind you that he was not ok with smoking in the first place(even a past association with it) and now imagine / visualize him on the eventful day, holding the light for me after I pull out my cigarette from that little shiny black bag which came as a part of my classy wedding ensemble :P

And I digress.

Anyway I cant say how long I am going to last in this. Afterall this is my first ... before this i never even thought of quitting...yes , not even once.

Give up on not giving up on my ability to sustain?? I don’t think so.

I am sure I was a fire.....even before i embraced the smoke.

30 comments:

Saroj Thakur said...

A very Happy B'day to a girl who has the courage to say it open and aloud what others would hide under the carpet. Three cheers to you dear!

I Walk Alone!!! said...

Hats off on being so very open and upfront... Happy that you are trying and trying your best... Carry on girl... I am sure you will make it :)

Wish you a happy and healthy life ;)

Jhayu said...

I'm just asking (this is something I have absolutely no knowledge of), does it still count as a one month quit if you did light up a couple of times in between?

Anyhoo, if you decide to continue to stay quit, the best of luck to you. If not, good on you, mate. (talk about confusing statements)

Also, I'm hoping, Gina, that you didn't blogroll me just because I blogrolled you.

Che said...

1) I am proud of you. I dunno why. I am always proud of people who quit something. Smoking, drinking, gambling, working and so on.

2) I think you should have married that dude. He would have lit your fire and what not!

WV: otsnoghg

zombie said...

Great going dudette!!!!! And no - smoking in between doesn't mean you haven't quit. If you can control something that controlled your life and tame it to such an extent as to reduce it to the time when you just get a drink or two-it definitely means you have succeeded !

Anand said...

Bravo, have to agree with Zombie's comment, the real test is when you smoke one cig. and yet hold off from giving in completely.

M Squared said...

Congratulations, for you have proven on the scale of will and determination against one of the indulgent sins.

Now you wont sing, 'Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fikr ko dhuyein mein udata chala gaya', which also happens to be my fav song...haha

Sad, I can never come on Che's 'proud list'...as I am Sinner Maximus :D

Do I make sense? I guess I dont need to....my cigs are over, so my fingertips are acting on their own...lol

Neo said...

Wow!! Trying to Quit... i know how tough that can be... i was a smoker.. a regular chain smoker.. been smoking since the last 10 years and then April this year i decided to quit... i haven't touched even a single one so far and it's been 4 month... i hope you kick the butt as well :) All the best.

Paradox Philic said...

Thankyou dear readers for all your encouraging words....
This adds to my motivation of sticking to my resolve, even more!!

Paradox Philic said...

@ Saroj Mam - Thankyou for your wishes. You made my day with your kind words :)

Paradox Philic said...

@ I walk alone - I like being open & upfront, but i am not sure the rest of the world likes it too...

Many a times i have witnessed situations where people are just not receptive to "open & upfront".. and even if they do hear you out they often misinterpret the idea behind it all.

But thats life i guess!

Thankyou for your confidence in me. Its a morale booster for sure :)

Paradox Philic said...

@ Jhayu - Well .. you are right in raising that question. I did too... to my own self. And then i decided that it was "regular smoking" that i was trying to quit. It was the habit that i was trying to break. And a couple of smokes here and there do not constitute a habit, right?

About blogrolling...well if i comment on your blog that implies that i read it, right? Now if i read it, isnt it obvious that i would want to be notified whenever its updated? And what better way to do it than blogroll you? (Bookmarking, feeds etc etc ... are not my thing... I am too technologically challenged for that!)...


I hope i answered your question. I know you are usually an intelligent person (So i will not be swayed by this one off lapse-of-reason moment) :P

Paradox Philic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paradox Philic said...

@ Che - Hugsssssss
By the way i aspire to make you proud of me for the 4th one in your list ...working :P :P

And well about marrying that dude....now now...u don't read the full post, do you? Didn't i mention that the guy was not ok with smoking hence the verdict of no-good alliance was from his side (You see, I am blessed with strong preceptors so i could tell without him having to state it...thats all!)
So not much i could do there even if i believe you when you say that he could lit my fire and what not ....
:P :P

Paradox Philic said...

@ Zombie - Feels good to know that there are friends around to support you :)

And by the way, I know you mean it all in a good way, but still i just want to mention that i don't think Smoking controlled me or my life in any way :) I was habitual to it yes, but not possessed (I could stay without it in a stretch for 2 weeks straight when i used to visit my mothers house in the hills)... And habitual too only not because i couldn't move away from it but just the for the fact that i never felt the need to try moving away.

Paradox Philic said...

@ Anand - Yup i feel the same way.

Maybe your quitting the habit acted as a trigger somewhere...... Although i see people quitting all around me, it never has as much as even brought an idea to my head let alone actually trying to implement the idea of quitting. But then you have always been special :)

So thank you my disciple... guess this is one of those role reversal moments :D

Paradox Philic said...

@ M Squared - I just love the randomness of the expression in this ...

Aww.....you dont have to feel bad even if you never make it to Che's "proud-list" ... ...you already figure in so many others. :D

Paradox Philic said...

@ Neo - 10 years...wow!! I read about how you hated the smell & stubbed the cig as soon as u lit it up after months of quitting.... Bravo!!

P.S. - Do you know that i am a college senior of yours?

Zubin said...

I really don't have any advice on this issue. (being the nice NON-SMOKER guy that I am..!! :D )
But I really appreciate your honesty with everything you say..or do.
The occasional ones don't count btw. So you are clear..! :p

You know what the real test would be? Someone smoking the hell out of his/her ciggs right in front of you. :p

Best of luck with it, May you be the best quitter in the world.. :p (smoking-wise) :)

Paradox Philic said...

@ Zubin - I am glad to know that honesty is still appreciated :)

And thankyou for validating my theory of a couple of cig here and there not qualifying as falling off the wagon. Thankyou for clearing me :)

And thats the real test...sticking to your guns after you are reminded of how pleasurable lighting of cigs used to be...
Sitting through a conversation or so while the other person throws full blown smoke rings at your face isn't that tough in comparison to the above. Take it from a smoker! :P

Best quitter ... lol... lets see my dear, lets see! Let some water pass under the bridge....

Mez said...

I loved the way you spoke your mind.


My frd happened to do a study for a cig brand and the end-result was...a freaked out set of smokers & non-smokers who hadn't even imagined the enormity of problems smokin cud cause.

U mite know it all superficially but trust me..it's not doin good to you. And u know it well..so why not get rid of it gradually. Do i make some sense...errr, i know not much to the addiction factor in u.

:)

Btw blogrollin ya

Che said...

Ha early retirement? did you just win a lottery or did you rob a bank? i am hoping for latter, i always wanted to be friends with a bank robber. You never know when I might need one.

Oh I read the whole post :P but did you read the last few words of my comment :(

And you are wrong about Jhayu. He is usually an un-intelligent person

Paradox Philic said...

@ Mez - Thankyou :) I am glad you liked it.

Yup i know about the health hazards et al resulting from this vice....but thanks for reinforcing the realisation :)

And what kind of study was that? Tell me more... You said cig brand, so i automatically assumed some study to help the cig makers... guess that wasnt it.

Thanks for the blogroll... I am honoured :)

Paradox Philic said...

@ Che - Yup why not?? You know there are easier ways to achieve that than robbing a bank... one of the privileges of belonging to the fairer sex! :P :P

Dont get it??? Well i am planning to marry a rich guy you see :D

Abt the last few words of your comment - What else do you think i was responding to??

About Jhayu - ummmm.... i think i will hold my verdict for some more data to come my way :D

Jhayu said...

To start off, Yeah, I guess you are right, that doesn't constitute a habit.

And secondly, I'm afraid I need to ask the question simply because I'm fed up of the whole you-scratch-my-back nonsense that seems to rule the whole damn world. Glad to see that had nothing to do with it.

And you know, Che is kinda right, I do tend to act like a bumbling 3-year old most of the time. I do, though, have my rare moments otherwise.

mez said...

It's 11:30 pm..i have noone to talk to...and am passin time reading ur older posts. Thoroughly enjoyin :)

Paradox Philic said...

@ Jhayu - Dont worry...I dont scratch anybody's back :P

:) @ rare moments!

Paradox Philic said...

@ Mez - Glad that my you enjoyed reading the posts :)

vinay said...

wow! smokin seems to be such good fun as you have described it.... makes me reaaaallly wanna try it once....:)...but heck, i know i will reach a point when i would want to withdraw.... as i have observed with most of my friends.... (this health bug has really started to bite india, i tell you - oh and the nos. suggest too...cigarette is on a decline...esp in the western world)...

so well, i guess i ll avoid it for the time being..and all the best to you for folowing the same resolve !:)

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