I smoked for 38 years but it took me a moment to stop. No, it is not a joke; yet at the same time it is not completely as simple as that. This is my story.
Everything started with my first kiss. Yes, he was a smoker, and in addition to all the pleasures that a kiss can give there was a new to me irresistible masculine aroma which made the kiss unforgettable. Being haunted by the strong impression of the smell and the taste of a cigarette, and in desperate attempt to retrieve, at least, something of that date on a physical level, I stepped onto the forbidden territory and lit MY cigarette.
Now, looking back and realizing with astonishment that I smoked two thirds of my life, I experience mixed feeling about smoking. On the one hand, I probably could have bought a house instead of all packets of cigarettes. Or I would not have felt awkward when, at times, my voice would become so husky and low that I was not able to speak to my pupils normally without stopping “for a breather”. On the other hand, I had a lot of new pleasures from smoking after the reason for the first try faded away. The strongest one was the deep understanding of what REAL ADDICTION was about, and I enjoyed living with something that was beyond my control. Also many times during a day a cigarette was like a sorbet between the two courses – it would serve as a finishing line for one project and at the same time it would open the gates for the next step. (Now instead I make a deep breath!)
I became addicted straight away; I did not have any second thoughts about giving up. I enjoyed smoking in the company, with my boyfriends and on my own. I never smoked walking along the streets but when I felt like smoking I would find a bench in the park or in some yard and have my cigarette as a reward, a push, and a break or as my drug.
When I was fifty, my life slowed down. I was content with where and how I lived, the pressures of work were in the past; I did not have any major money problems. That was the time when I discovered that a crouching thought in my mind raised its head and asked me a question: “Are you tired of smoking?” When I started considering this question I also realised that my smoking lacked the sparkles of the first love or true companion and only had bare habitual properties. That day changed my life.
The child was born. I realized I wanted to let smoking rest in peace. But how? The place where addiction has its root is not easily reachable.
According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) it is at the level of IDENTITY. “Who am I to whom it is important what I do?” This level is the highest in NLP theory. Even without the theory I knew for certain how it is enormously difficult to stop drinking, taking drugs or smoking. I decided to talk to myself and discuss the possible ways of giving up smoking. I knew it had to be something special, and it could only be something that I myself would agree with myself about myself.
It took me a year to consider everything about my obsession with smoking and work out a plan, two months to implement the plan, then …only a moment to stop.
During the two months I expressed my deepest gratitude to thousands of cigarettes that I had smoked, I thanked God for everything related to the cigarettes in my life. I also waved a farewell to all that like a retiring person says good buy to his colleagues.
In 2005 on February the twelfth at five o’clock in the afternoon I had my last cigarette and promised God I would not smoke again. I haven’t smoked since.
The problem of giving up smoking is the concern of many smokers, doctors, researchers and politicians. It is global, local and, what is the most important, individual problem. Unfortunately, under the burden of life pressure a human being has “no time to stand and stare” inside of himself. It takes a moment to extinguish the last cigarette but it takes a lot of time to get ready for that. However, this final journey is worth making.