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.