How [The Hell] Did I Quit Smoking?

So… I quit smoking. It has been almost six month since then, though, but still I quit smoking. I don’t mean to sound dramatic but it is a big deal, for me. It took me almost 12 years to do it, if I leave out some attempts that failed pretty fast.

I didn’t try nicotine patches or any nicotine replacement for that matter. I didn’t go to therapy, I didn’t try any meditation methods or calling Allen Carr, I didn’t even read his book. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself for some kind of a hero and I don’t think that I’m so special. I really don’t, I’m just surprised.

I’m, still, not really sure what made me stop, what was the real reason for me giving up on something that, perhaps, was an integral part of me. Just to make it clear I’ve started smoking when I was 14 years old, I quit at the age of 27. As I was saying, I’m not sure what happened in this exact moment or day, or even month. This is the story as I recall it today.

I was downstairs smoking, during a lunch break at work; it was the last cigarette in the pack. It’s so far now, but I swear that I remember her (this last cigarette) staring at me, while burning slowly and quietly, and I was staring right back at her and in this particular moment, as if we had a silent understanding that it’s the last time we are going to see each other, or any member of her nicotine family, I put it out, crashed the empty box, threw it to the garbage and went back upstairs – never looking back.

Even after six month I’m haunted by the question “Why did I quit?” I always believed that I had (or suffered) a great passion towards smoking. Well not always, as I said, since the age of 14. I really felt that smoking was filling a critical part in my life especially during social events, boredom and as a great way to deal with awkward moments. But the truth is that I believed, genuinely, that I love it – I love it after a good meal, or even just a normal dinner, I love it after a good workout and practically it didn’t matter for what reasons I loved it, I just did.

If we really must find the reason, I would have to say that I did it from fitness reasons and for fitness’ sake. On January I returned to work out (as if there was something to return from), it has been a while since I worked out in a serious manner. The last time was actually almost a year before that, working with the ‘Freeletics’ app, and that was mainly to lose some weight before my wedding (not that I was fat). And before that I tried Crossfit for a few month (really enjoyed it but it was very expensive).

To make a point, you might say that I wasn’t in a good shape so my wife and I decided to register to the gym. In Hebrew there is a common saying that goes like this “To eat with your eyes”, which practically means that you will take something that you don’t really need just because you can, it’s right in front of you. So the day we registered to the gym I “ate with my eyes” buying the double membership, allowing me to enter the swimming pool as well. It’s probably important to mention that I used to swim for 8 years when I was younger. Actually I quit swimming at the age of 14, just a short period of time before I started smoking. So I started working out, at first it was just a few times a week, splitting my time between the gym and the pool, nothing too crazy.

After a short while I felt that I’m having hard time breathing during my swim practices, nothing to be worried about but it wasn’t fun. I wasn’t suffocating, but I felt like I was an anchor trying to float. Every breath was a blessing. So, geniusly, I decided to reduce smoking, to smoke 10 cigarettes a day instead of 20 (I used to smoke a full box per day). You must start at some point, right? I never really made it through those reducing cigarettes drills. Every cigarette that I had was so “heavenly” that I was already waiting for the next one. I started counting time, I became an expert in strategy and in making great excuses. When I was playing this game called “reducing” I really understood how addicted I am. It wasn’t only fun for me anymore, I needed it.

So I had to do something, and I did. I admit that there were moments that I really wanted to smoke a cigarette; there are still moments like that. And yet, I never thought of backing off and to be honest I never even thought that it’s too hard for me and that I must smoke at this very moment. Eventually it went quite easily, easier then I could ever expect it to be or wish it to be.

I actually started to write this 105 days after I quit. Yes, I keep track, I even got an app called ‘Smoke Free’ that shows me how many cigarettes I didn’t smoke since I quit, how much money did I save and how much healthier I am (statistically I guess). Since I quit, I feel much better, I work out better, I live a better life and I get to save some money on the way, so it isn’t too bad uh?

I don’t like to tell people how easy this can be if they will only believe in their selves but I really think that every each one of us can achieve tough goals that we set to ourselves trying our best, not quitting.





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