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close-up photo of a pack of cigarettes

This is what happens on a typical day for me. Cigarettes completely controlled my life, my every thought, my every moment, my every desire, and all my free time. They were in control, I was not. Only after I quit did I realize how much they actually did control me and how much freedom was in store for me afterwards. It truly is a whole new life.

But this is exactly what it was like:

When you're a heavy smoker, that's all you are. That's all you become, and really, nothing else matters besides using tobacco. Your life is basically one cigarette break after another. Yes, you can go about your daily life, at your job or at home, but every thought in your head is controlled by nicotine.

Within the first 5 seconds of waking up, I thought about smoking. Sometimes I lit up, sometimes I didn't. But it was always right away within minutes.

Some people say, "Smoking in the morning is gross!" That's true, except the addiction doesn't care. I smoked in my apartment, and I lived alone. I didn't care about the smell, my addiction convinced me of that. It suppressed my appetite, and there were times I didn't even eat anything until the afternoon hours. I felt horrible! But I was addicted, and I knew it.

My whole day was trying to find a moment to light up.

I would smoke on the way to the bus, after I got off, and maybe even another time before I got to where I was headed. Then another one as soon as I had the chance. More on the way home. It was just an endless cycle. It wasn't even fun anymore. There certainly wasn't any moderation. That was long gone.

I couldn't even hangout with anyone or they would be considered "major events" in my head and I'd convince myself to smoke.

Even if I was hanging out with people who didn't, I was willing to risk it all and light up in front of them and go back to square one JUST so I could "enjoy my day." But I wasn't enjoying my day, I was starting all over and having to go through all the physical withdrawal once again.

If I was drinking at home, or going to the bars with friends, I could easily smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in a matter of four or five hours. It's not that hard. As a pack a day smoker, I was just smoking them one right after the other, as if it were normal and not unusual.

My friends gave up on talking to me about quitting because sooner or later, I would always go back to it. It was probably laughable to them. Yes, for the most part they understood, but why relapse so many times?

I was truly addicted, that's why.

The reason I relapsed so many times is because I was "forgetting the negative." Once you get past a few days, you begin to miss smoking. You forget about why you quit, and how awful it was. You begin to only remember the good times, and how much fun you had. And then BOOM! A relapse occurs. Not because I wanted to, but because my mind convinced me of all doubt that smoking was the best thing to do at that moment in time.

You can't cut back because you'll think about it even more. You probably don't eat the most healthiest of foods. Your whole day is consumed with thoughts about it.

And you know what?

It's all a complete lie.

photo of an opened pack of cigarettes

I've relapsed for the dumbest reasons: because of a first date, because new music from my favorite artist came out, because there was a big event coming in a few days, or I had a rough night at work. I've even relapsed over a new music video. How dumb is that? Pretty dumb. To think of starting all over and having to go through all the physical withdrawal again JUST because I got excited over a new music video. It's terrible!

Nicotine will wait for those moments, that's for certain.

It will wait until you're vulnerable, and either hitting a high or low peak, and then strike. That's how it works.

If you're like me, you've basically had one at every moment in your life, and there isn't a single part of your life that hasn't been exposed to cigarettes. That's how nicotine strikes. If you've lived every happy moment, or every sad moment with a cigarette in your hand, nicotine will remind you of that once you quit.

If you quit and you get upset over something, it will remind you that you used to smoke when you were upset, and that it would take the stress away (even though it wouldn't).

If you're super excited about something and you want to celebrate, it will remind you that you used to inhale in honor of that joy and it would make the moment cooler (even though it wouldn't).

Every emotional thought has involved smoking in one way or another, good or bad. That's why it's important to understand that it's a lie and it's just the addiction talking, nothing else.


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