After almost 25 years of smoking you would have thought that I’d be bored of it by now. Trouble is that I still enjoy it just as much as I always have, which is a bit of a shame really; it would have been ideal to have gone off them just as I decided to give up. Maybe I should smoke so much that I get sick of it and never want another one again? I’ve a sneaky feeling that wouldn’t work either.
So here is my (fully bullet-pointed) strategy
- Smoke rollies. Piece of piss this one – I already do smoke rollies. Done. Next.
- Now that I’m smoking rollies I can regulate the amount of nicotine I get from each ciggie. Want to cut down the amount of nicotine going into the system? Make them thinner and shorter. I should note here that my rollies have become objects of interest to smokers and non-smokers alike, on account of their miniscule dimensions. Seriously, I kid you not. One guy at work kept asking me to make one in front of him because he couldn’t believe how small I could roll (and smoke) them. Mind you, he was Irish. Says it all really. But anyway, having gradually reduced my rollies to pathetic little matchstick-sized stubs, I’ve cut my nicotine intake to almost nothing but I can still enjoy a trip to the cancer veranda.
- Cut down the nicotine intake but don’t cut down the number of times I go out for a ciggie. Important one this. I once tried to cut down by having fewer beagle breaks. Big mistake. It was clock-watching hell as I imagined the most awful withdrawal symptoms while counting down the seconds until the next opportunity to gasp down enough smoke to tide me over for the next hellish stint. By keeping to the same routine but gradually making them smaller over a few months my body didn’t even notice that it was getting less nicotine because it happened so gradually. Hee hee. Fooled it. Sucker.
- Find something else to do with my mouth. Fnar fnar. I tried gum – boring but quite effective. One morning, instead of going out for cigarettes, I went out and chewed some gum – just ordinary minty stuff. It seemed to work fairly well. I felt satisfied to some extent; obviously not as much as if I’d had a ciggy but it was better than nothing. The point of this is to provide a substitute for those moments when a ciggy is a lovely full stop on something you’ve been doing. For example, you’ve just put the final coat of paint on your doomsday machine and sent an email to the UN – it’s time to go outside and have a congratulatory smoke. These are my favourite ciggies – the ones I’ll miss the most, but at least I know that I don’t have to give up on these little celebrations totally. They’ll just be less smoky and more minty.
- Don’t chuck away my existing rollies. There is no feeling of panic quite like the panic that grips the heart when you discover you’ve left your rollies at home. When I came off my motorbike and realised I was about to get run over, an amazing calm came over me. In that split second, I just accepted that I was going to die and I didn’t even worry about it, let alone feel frightened. The last time I left my rollies at home I spent the day with a heart rate of a humming bird, enough nervous energy to power a small city and steam coming out of my ears. I spent the whole day either cadging fags off people or finding people I hadn’t already cadged fags off in order to cadge fags off them. In short – I don’t need to have that sort of panic in my life while I’m trying to give up. So relax – my rollies will be waiting for me if I need them, but I won’t.
- Don’t set a give-up date. I don’t want to have a specific date looming down on me. “Oh shit, only one week of smoking left – I’d better make the most of it”. Puff puff puff… and bingo – my nicotine levels are back up again. There is no point making my stupidly small roll-ups if I’m smoking 200 of them a day. No – best not to think about it. I’ll give up on the spur of the moment at a time that seems right. That’s the theory anyway. Will the day ever actually arrive? Well, quite frankly, yes. It has. Bugger.
There I was, having the second ciggy of the day, when I thought to myself “I’ve not noticed having either of these two ciggies. Why am I smoking if I don’t even notice that I’m doing it?”. Today is the day to give up. Oh fuck.
Let’s see how it goes.