Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Smoke-Free Zone

It's been precisely one month since I last smoked a cigarette. This should be a source of pride for me but I feel strangely underwhelmed by it. Judging by the amount of literature and quitting aids on the market I imagined that I was embarking on a mission that would take me to the deepest, darkest depths of my soul. Okay, that might not be a very deep or dark place but I thought it would be far more difficult than it actually has been. Having said that, it's not as if I'm out of the woods yet. I still want cigarettes occasionally and I would very much like it if I completely forgot what I loved about them in the first place.

My main issue, the reason I'm feeling underwhelmed, is that I am, so far, not feeling the beneficial effects of a smoke-free life. I feel that I'm missing out by not smoking. My chest doesn't wheeze, that's true. I've probably saved a nice bit of cash and will continue to do so. And I've put on a few pounds and am enjoying my food more. These are good things. But what about the freedom that I'm supposed to feel once I've broken my nicotine shackles? Where's the euphoria?

Don't tell me it doesn't exist 'cos I've seen the adverts. Full of healthy looking people wearing unbearably smug grins. They're saying:

"We've experienced something smokers and the never-have-smoked cannot have felt. So nerr. We worked really hard for this, we struggled like you can't imagine and this is our reward. Just look at me enjoying this grape. Mmm."

And that experience, I imagined, was a Nirvana of some kind. Well, why not? I've read/heard/absorbed through osmosis the idea that giving up smoking is supposed to be more difficult than giving up smack. Well, I've never had to give up smack but I have seen Trainspotting and it looks far tougher than anything I've been through in the past month. At no point have I found myself puking out of any orifice and I've definitely not seen any dead babies crawling across my ceiling. It was too easy. I feel that I've cheated and been cheated.

There is one more stage, though, that won't be so easy. The reason I gave up smoking in the first place was that it was an initial stage in my getting fitter. Now I have to get fit. I've been putting it off but I've honestly been waiting for the weather to get better so I can jog or cycle in daylight without getting wet or too cold. I'll start in a couple of weeks, okay?

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