If I can quit smoking, you certainly can!

I honestly believe I finally did it. After years trying to beat the habit, I finally am convinced that I made it. How I know? I passed a small group of smokers on my bike earlier today and I was disgusted with the smell. Me! I actually was relieved to know I don’t smoke anymore. As of today I quit 240 days ago and now I can’t even imagine myself being a smoker. And I was a chain smoker. I started smoking at 18. First twenty a day, then forty. During the days one was still allowed to smoke at work, I used to smoke 60 a day.

FunFact: Since January 2004 everybody in the Netherlands has a right to a smoke free working place. The smoke free hospitality business followed suit 4,5 years later, in July 2008. (Source: Kenniscentrum Horeca)

Oh boy! Those were the days! You could find full ashtrays in all the offices. It was completely normal to have a forgotten cigarette burning in the ashtray. Sometimes you even lit a new one, because you’d forgotten you had one lit already. During a 10 hour flight to New York you would spend the flight all fogged up because of the smoke. The chairs in the train had ashtrays built in. At birthdays a good hostess would put cigarettes on the table. Of all brands. Even better, the same thing happened during business meetings. Ever watched Mad Men? It paints a very accurate picture of how smoking was incorporated in every day life.

Tip: It is advisable to avoid the following series if you just quit smoking: Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire. Just saying.

The norm has changed through the years. I remember the enormous fuss about the smoke free hospitality law in 2007. Every restaurant or cafe owner was afraid of losing income because of it. Now, 8 years after the fact, we can’t even imagine enjoying our diner surrounded by smoke.

FunFact: Every year about 1 million Dutch smokers try to quit. Ex smokers have an average of 2,5 attempts before it finally works.  (Source: Trimbos)

Meisjes van vijftig is gestopt met roken. Echt waar!For me it has been a struggle for years. I surpassed the 2,5 attempts by far. -sidenote: how you get to try a half attempt? Does a half attempt even exist? – And no, although I honestly believe I made it, it wasn’t an easy road. I had trouble sleeping for a short period. Especially in the beginning, I used to dream about smoking. It took me the rest of the day to fight the urge to light one. And as every ex smoker can attest: there is no such thing as one cigarette. That one cigarette will always be the beginning of what will be a failed quitting attempt. Believe me, I’m an expert in failed quitting attempts. Every time I failed, it started with one cigarette. Really, that was all it took to fail: just the one cigarette. Because two days later I would ask my colleague another one. Next thing you know you are ashamed you asked one, so you buy a package. It will keep you sane for two weeks. Right!? But who was I really kidding. After two weeks I would be smoking twenty cigarettes again. After a month it will be forty. The shame is a bonus. The only reason I could do it now is because I didn’t give in to that one cigarette. In the beginning I was thinking about smoking all day long. But it got better after a week. After a month I had only moments that I wanted to smoke. It never lasted long, it passed. And I did feel stronger because of it, every time I didn’t lit one. Or asked one. Even if I really, really wanted to. Friday nights were rough for a bit longer though. The end of the working week. Relaxing with a book and a nice glass of wine. Those were my roughest moments. And they lasted for two more months. And now? It is only seldom I get the urge. Believe me, if I can quit smoking, you can too!

2 thoughts on “If I can quit smoking, you certainly can!

  1. Oeh heel knap hoor!!! Ik rook zelf niet, wel gedaan in mijn twintiger jaren maar ik kon er heel makkelijk weer van af. Mijn man is inmiddels al langer dan drie jaar gestopt met roken, na héél wat pogingen, ik weet hoe moeilijk het voor iemand kan zijn, ik heb hem ook zien vechten. En weer zien beginnen, helaas. Maar gelukkig na een aantal mislukte pogingen ook weer succes zien hebben met stoppen. Het heeft hem al duizenden euro´s gescheeld ;). Toen hij een paar maanden geleden 1000 dagen rookvrij was zijn we lekker uit eten gegaan…

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