I met with the Deakin University Smoke-Free Project Manager, Trish Ritchie the other day and over coffee realised I had moved from craving all the time to reflecting quite a lot on my years spent smoking. Thought I would share some of this with you, in no particular order…
Moving more during my work day. Getting up from my desk and heading to my ‘smokers corner’. Where strangely enough I would enjoy the fresh air. Being out and about and seeing life bustle around me. I miss socialising with smoking colleagues as well as meeting new people. Smokers always have an ice-breaker to initiate conversation (our habits) and we are often thrust into similar spaces so chatting is inevitable. It’s a great way to build your conversational skills. Smoking gave me permission to have that extra few minutes to tweet, call my Mum or have timeout to myself.
I feel guilty going for a walk. Crazy isn’t it. Never felt guilty ducking downstairs to smoke a ciggie – I was entitled to that. Needed it. Sometimes I didn’t want the cigarette – I just wanted to get away from my desk and clear my thoughts. So I have scheduled a walk in my calendar in the afternoon with some other colleagues. We can’t always make it, but it is really great when we do. A healthier option I guess. And I don’t miss feeling guilty puffing away and having ‘anti-smokers’ glare at me as they strolled by.
I’m grateful for:
I did the Mother’s Day Classic in Melbourne last weekend with my Mum, my daughters, my sister and her little boy. My Gran died of cancer, so we dedicated it to her. It was hard-hitting stuff being around so many people who had lost loved ones through this disease. It made me feel stupid for smoking for 25 years, and grateful to have quit. You block these things out when you smoke – you just don’t want to think that way. The addiction always wins.
I’m ashamed of:
I was such a rebel when I was 15. My school dress was a little shorter than everyone else, my attitude a bit stinkier. I was a straight A student who wanted to roll with the wild crew. And I did. Smoking was a direct result of my rebellious nature, but I realised some years down the track that I wasn’t smoking because I wanted to – I was smoking because I was addicted.
I’m ashamed to admit that I couldn’t quit for my daughters. They are now almost 14 and going on 16 years old. And I spent years saying:
“I’ll be there in a minute I’m just finishing my smoke”
“Can’t you wait, Mummy’s having a ciggie”
“I said, after my smoke”
The number of times my girls – aged 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 years would want to share something with me, tell me, show me, want to do something with me only to be made to feel that Mummy’s smoke came first. They would eventually poke their heads out the door and see me smoking and not even bother to ask me anything. The shame and sadness I feel for those lost moments is indescribable.
I felt like I lost my best friend 68 days ago. And that void lasted a few weeks. The void has gone now but you can’t turn back time. I wish I had done this years ago.