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So a week ago, I smoked my last cigarette.

I was never a massive smoker, not by any stretch of the imagination – not unless I was out and clubbing till the early hours of the morning anyway. but my habit did grow to an average of 10-15 cigarettes a day (and the odd cigar) – but that part of my life is now over – well, nearly – I’m still using NRT, but I’ll come onto that in a bit.

If I said that I’m quitting smoking because it’s bad for my health and that by not smoking i’m probably going to live for another ten or so years would probably be a lie. I’ve quit smoking for 2 reasons –

1. My boyfriend doesn’t smoke.

2. The financial aspect…

So, yeah I know what you’re thinking – you should do it for YOU, not for him!, but I am doing it for myself. My relationship is still in it’s infancy, and unlike any other gay relationship it’s moving at a very mature pace (but I’ll talk about relationships another night) – my point here is that I always felt uncomfortable as a smoker around non-smokers and It, for me was my catalyst to stop.

But at over £7.00 for a packet of cigarettes, they’re bloody expensive and frankly I’ve worked out that I’m going to save around £120 a month, which is £1440 a year – Just imagine what I can do with that? This is the thought that have kept me going over the last 7 days. My job doesn’t pay well and with the current economic climate, I don’t see that I’m ever going to earn much more – not for at least 5 years at least and this extra money can go to a holiday – a new computer and to finally pay some outstanding debts.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve got more energy that my breathing is better or anything like that – I haven’t felt any of these things.

What I can report though is that the first 3 days really are the worst. If you can get through that, you’re golden – The withdrawal from a cigarette is like a massive pressure in the chest. I don’t know if this is a psychosomatic pain or if it’s actually real, but as time goes on it becomes more and more concentrated  and I found myself becoming very irritable and sometimes really very emotional. This is where NRT is really helpful. I spoke in my last blog about the Nicorette QuickMist, so I wont go into that again (because I’ve just realised that I’ve probably repeated myself!)  But I did start using the patches.

As most people know the Nicotine patch basically feeds your body the nicotine that you’d normally get to keep your cravings at bay – and it works, I don’t crave a cigarette. The pressure in my chest – I’ve not had it. But patches don’t make you stop thinking about smoking. It’s more of a habit thing though – I’d finish work and on the walk home from the office, I’d light up – but I’m not doing that anymore – so the routine has changed – and this feeling is unexpected – I knew that I’d crave smoking without NRT and I did, terribly, but I don’t crave it now – and this is the importance of willpower.

I know that now that I don’t have a physical craving for a cigarette, the only reason that I’m not smoking is because I choose not to. This week, I had some terrible family news (which with respect to my family, I will keep private here) and when I found out at work, I had to go out, I’d run out of my spray and I wasn’t wearing a patch – My immediate thought was “I need a cigarette”, but I knew that if I had a cigarette at that moment, I’d have to buy a pack and that 1 would turn into 10 and then I’d have to start all over again. I didn’t want to do that.. So I went to boots and bought another spray, met my boyfriend for lunch and didn’t light up. And this is the embodiment of willpower. Even when things are tough and I’m feeling low. I make a choice – and it is because of this that I choose to now label myself a “non-smoker”

But that may have been the battle, for the war is far from over. I still rely on my NRT and I can say this as I tried an experiment today..

The Experiment

I’d been taking the patches for 3 days. each one feeding me 21mg of nicotine a day, so today I chose not to put one on – just to see if I noticed any difference in my behaviour and there was a slight change – even though I was helping my partner with furniture and being quite physical, I didn’t use the spray any more than I normally would, but as the day went on – particularly in the evening,  I found myself hanging on my partners each work and getting quite emotional and has he put it “narky”, now when I was a smoker, I’d still occasionally get emotional and “narky” with him, but my mood would go from that to being quite normal (for me) and I’d clock myself and be aware of my behaviour and I was mindful of my thoughts. I’m not sure whether leaving the patch off tomorrow will work. I’d got a bit of a stressful day ahead of my, so I’m probably going to try having a patch every other day. I don’t want to do a full course – I’ve ended my relationship with cigarettes. I now want to end my relationship with nicotine.