Axl Rose and the Holy Grail

So far, so good. I can just about deal with this healthy thing – we’ve been non-smokers for a week now after going cold turkey. I’ve smoked on and off since I was a teenager, so high time to bloody quit before I trigger some terrifying lung disease. I won’t lie – I’m thinking about smoking a LOT, I even had a dream last night about drinking wine and chain smoking, complete with the sense of failure and guilt so when I woke up and realised I was still very much on the wagon I felt really good. Now that it’s Friday, the little devil on my shoulder is whispering to me how lovely it’d be to meet up with B on my way home at the pub near Kew Green with the lovely heated booths in the beer garden, park ourselves there and have some drinks and ……….the inevitable cigarettes that’d go with those.

Bloody hell, I have always been of the opinion that quitting smoking is easy (probably because my habit has been on/off and I’ve therefore frequently “quit” or just not felt like it unless I’ve been out), but this is actually pretty HARD! I suspect that’s because of the finality of it this time. I mean, I’m pushing 40 here (just over a month to go) and it’s therefore time to stop f*cking around and get serious. It’s that or age prematurely and stink, as well as possibly dying too young and in much too painful a way.

So, to keep myself on the straight and narrow (eesh – that does NOT sound like me!!) I’m going to walk the 5 kilometres home from work as a warm-up and then head out for a run of just over the same distance. I’ve been out twice already this week and to my delight discovered I could keep running AND feel good, without feeling like my lungs were on fire or on the verge of keeling over which is what running often feels like when you’re a slave to the damn tobacco sticks.

There are only ever advantages to quitting (or ideally never freakin’ start in the first place, which would have been best of all) and I know that even in those instances where I think I love to smoke, the cigarettes do NOTHING to enhance whatever experience. If B and I were to head to a heated beer garden this evening to have a few drinks, it wouldn’t be the cigarettes making the evening – it would be hanging out with my best friend in a cosy setting and enjoying a good wine that’d be the lovely parts. It’s just that my brain is still making that association and I’m genuinely finding it difficult to break the pattern there, even though I bloody KNOW on a more rational level (and let’s face it, addiction isn’t rational) that it’s all an illusion.

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I know in my heart, and remember so clearly, all those Saturday and Sunday mornings when I’ve woken up with a hangover and with that smoker’s headache and wished I hadn’t drunk quite so much wine and not smoked quite so many cigarettes. I also know in my heart, and remember so clearly, all those Saturday and Sunday mornings when I’ve bounced out of bed at 6-7am and headed out for a long run, enjoying the quiet streets and the mist caressing the Thames just as west London begins to come to life, and the feeling of gratitude at feeling so good, strong and healthy.

Really, a combination of the two would be perfect, wouldn’t it? Go for that long, weekend run on Saturday, then indulge my inner Axl Rose in the evening. If I for a moment thought I could stick to it, that’s what I’d do. I mean, that’s got to be the Holy Grail for every smoker wanting to quit yet still have that little “treat” every so often?

We shall see, but January will have to remain dry and smoke-free.

 

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