My no smoking anniversary

Phil asked me to do a write up about the agonies of stopping smoking. Well, agony’s the right word, it was BAD! My first attempt lasted all of oooh, 20 minutes. I’d finished the Allen Carr book on the Friday night some time in late November, all excited about waking up a non smoker on the Saturday morning. So up I got, put my tobacco and lighter on the shelf, put the ashtray in the dishwasher, made myself a cup of tea, then retrieved the tobacco and lighter from the shelf, the ashtray from the dishwasher and rolled myself a cigarette. Oops, well, I was going to the pub that night, obviously I couldn’t give up that day. But I’d been up for 20 minutes, so it was a good practice run.

I read the Allen Carr book again a couple of weeks later and finished it on the train to work one Friday morning (3 December, not that the date’s ingrained in my head or anything) and decided that was it, I wasn’t going to smoke anymore. It’s only a couple of minutes’ walk from the tube to my building and every step I took I was thinking “want a cigarette, want a cigarette”. I paused outside the building and thought, oh, just one last one? Then I decided that if I really wanted one later then I’d have my usual mid-morning one. My boss went out for his usual cup of tea around 11-ish and again I thought, hmm, shall I go and have a cigarette? Na, I’ll wait until lunchtime. Lunchtime came and I thought I’ll see if I can go all lunchtime without having one. Walking out of the building at 1 o’clock and not immediately lighting up was HARD! I’d left my tobacco and lighter in my desk so it wasn’t too easy for me. I came back from lunch and resisted my end of lunchtime cigarette, feeling very pleased with myself. Mid-afternoon came and went and still I hadn’t given in. I was meeting some friends in the pub that evening. Fuck, how am I going to go a whole evening drinking and not smoking?!! Eek!! I left my tobacco and lighter in my desk and went off to the pub and announced that I’d given up smoking. When, they asked? Today. Yikes, you’re brave they said. Although I don’t think they said yikes, as I don’t think anyone actually says that in real life, only on blogs. I breezed through the pub although I did get some strange looks when I started sniffing the ashtray and felt very pleased with myself. This giving up smoking’s quite easy really I thought as I went home feeling smug.

Saturday morning, eek! I WANT A CIGARETTE!!! I spent most of the day pacing around the front room and lying on the sofa biting a cushion chanting I want a cigarette. Blimey, could have sworn Allen Carr said something about no withdrawal symptoms. Lying git. (Shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, I know.) I spent the whole weekend obsessed with smoking and reading smoking cessation websites. Monday morning I said to my workmate that if I was acting a little strangely it’s because I’ve stopped smoking and feel weird.

The next couple of weeks I suffered from severe insomnia, waking up at 3 and not being able to get back to sleep ’til just before my alarm went off at 7. Not good. I found though that instead of lying there feeling pissed off because I couldn’t sleep, that if I got up and made a cup of tea, then I could drop off a bit easier.

I continued being obsessed about smoking/not smoking until Christmas Day when I ponced a roll up off the barman and kept it in my pocket while I pondered over whether to smoke it or not until I thought fuck it, I’m smoking it. And I went outside in my friend’s garden and smoked it and bloody hell, that was good!

Then I smoked on and off for a couple of days until I was back to my usual 15/20 a day (although more at the time because it was Christmas and a lot of drinking going on) and decided that I would stop again when I went back to work on 3 January. Every cigarette I had in that week I hated but I couldn’t stop, I was addicted again. Bollocks. But I got a feeling of deja vu when I was on the train on 3 January and thought right that’s it, no more smoking. And this time I didn’t obsess over it, I didn’t make a big deal of it, I just got on with it and apart from a few very minor cravings (which still happen now and again) it was surprisingly easy, I must have not undone all the good work I’d put in by stopping for three weeks before Christmas.

So thank you Mr Carr for writing that book and motivating me to stop smoking. Apart from the cravings, lightheadedness, dizziness, insomnia, feeling like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and not being able to think about anything except for smoking, I can now breathe properly, don’t cough all day, have no nicotine stains on my fingers (yuk!), have cleaner teeth, brighter skin, get a huge kick out of asking for a no smoking table in a restaurant, have the freedom to go anywhere I like and not think “can I smoke in there?”, hangovers are 95% better, I now have a sense of smell after being convinced that I was born without one (it’s not always a good thing though!) and I am going to do a half marathon this year.

Oh yes, I recommend stopping to all smokers.  In fact, I recommend that smokers take up smoking, just so you can feel the benefits of stopping.

Happy no smoking anniversary to me, yah!

I have been quit for 1 Year, 13 hours, 50 minutes and 2 seconds (365 days). I have saved £548.36 by not smoking 5,483 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Weeks, 5 Days and 55 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 1/3/2006 08:45

Yes I’m sad, I’ve still got my counter going, but I’m not obsessed, honest 🙂


  • Congrats!!!! I never smoked, but am hooked on food that is not good for me.

  • Well done on not smoking for a year – I’ve seen how hard it is to pack in from all my mates who have quit or are trying 🙂

  • Great stuff I really enjoyed reading that. I smoked for 14 years about 20 a day. I was a disgusting addict in that if I ran out of cigarettes I would even get used butts from my ashtray and smoke them yeuuuch!!!!

    Quitting (3 years ago) for me was awful. I was physically sick on a number of occasions in the first week. I obsessed about it not only to myself but to my friends who quite frankly got pissed off with me. The thing I miss most about it was the social side of it, at fag breaks in our little group. I would hate to be a smoker now with all the new laws and the general anti smoking attitude etc.

    Thanks for posting that cheers and well done. 🙂

  • Thank you my fellow bloggers 🙂

    Phil, think I would have gone back to smoking if it had made me that ill!

    I don’t miss anything about it, good riddance 🙂

    (ok, I do miss it now and then…)

  • 🙂 well done………..again.

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