Are you a smoker? I was.
Every smoker has a similar story. No one intends on becoming addicted to cigarettes and many believe they never will… until they do. Anyone who smokes, or has ever smoked, is familiar with the reasons not to. So why is it so difficult to quit? And why do so many people still not want to?
Whether you are a smoker or not; if you think you might start or you wish a loved one would stop, I hope you can learn something from my experience. This is my personal story of the role that cigarettes played in my life, how I freed myself from addiction with very little effort, and how you and your loved ones can do the same! (with zero catches, patches or vapes!)
If you want to skip straight to the solution, then scroll down to “finding the key to freedom”
**Please note: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’ – this just means that if you buy something through one of them, I may receive a very small payment – with no added cost to you!**
Before the addiction
Growing up, my Grandfather was my hero. He was wise and witty and full of advice and stories but he was also very ill. Since before I was I born he suffered with various ailments and was on numerous medicines and inhalers. He kept a canister of oxygen in the kitchen cupboard and when he was struggling to breathe, often after just walking from one room to the next, he would go to the cupboard and breathe deeply into the mask.
It was common for our family to go out together over the weekend and we would often meet at a local pub. Of course, this was before the smoking ban and the pubs were full of smoke. My Grandad would sit to the back but he would still be breathing it in. I always used to think it must be so bad for him, especially when he started coughing or needed to bring oxygen with him. As a kid I would frown at anyone smoking near him and I hated coming home stinking of cigarettes.
My parents were non smokers, although my dad had smoked for years and quit when I was very young. I would ask them, and others who still smoked, why they did it. No one could give me an answer. I remember telling my auntie once that she should stop or she would turn into Grandad. She told me she could get hit by a bus tomorrow so why bother?
Me and Grandad checking out a wedding buffet!
After years of openly hating the smell and living with my grandfather’s poor health, my friends started smoking too.
One after the other, they went from the odd one, to smoking cigarettes daily. It became a weekly challenge – find enough money to buy over-priced cigarettes and then get the eldest looking of the group to brave the newsagents.
For awhile it was irritating when everyone would go outside at a house party to smoke, or I’d be surrounded by the smell. But then, I became fascinated by rolling. After all, Rizla says it’s an art, right?
After a few drunken attempts, I became pretty good at it and started rolling for the others. I loved the smell of the tobacco (and still do!) but still, I didn’t want to light it.
The fatal first
For some reason, when you’re 16, you’ve had a lot to drink and everyone else around you is doing something, you start feeling the need to do the same. So, eventually I tried a cigarette. I can’t remember the first taste or feeling but I imagine I probably coughed and went light headed. Obviously the experience couldn’t of been bad enough, because it wasn’t my last.
Soon, the odd drunken toke of a friend’s cigarette turned into smoking my own roll-ups. I started finding ways to buy tobacco, just like the others. At a particularly low point, a couple of us even turned to discarded fag buts – not our finest moment!
And so just like that. I was a addicted. My grandad’s illness had progressed since I was a child and he became bed-ridden. Too weak and without enough breath in him to do the simplest of tasks. He became dependant on my grandmother, no longer able to drive his beloved cars or even bath himself.
Many years before, he had been told that that his Emphysema was caused by various things, including working on a farm as a teenager. But certainly the years of smoking and second-hand smoke, had a huge part to play. There is no cure to the disease.
So, I smoked. I didn’t tell anyone in the family at first and like most teen smokers, naively believed they wouldn’t notice. Eventually I turned 18 and could buy my own, easy access to more cigarettes meant smoking more daily.
And then, I moved to France.
Cigarette and drink in hand in 2014
With smoking being the norm in France, living without anyone to hide it from and drinking much more, I started smoking 20 a day, minimum.
This was the year I openly smoked in front of my parents, and by the time I returned home in the winter, I was even smoking in the car and in front of my nan.
In the November of 2010, when I was 19, my grandfather was rushed into hospital. Not for the first time, his lungs just couldn’t cope, but this would be the last. After a night of trying to pull his own oxygen mask off while we stood helplessly around his frail body, he slipped away.
I couldn’t wait to get out of that hospital for a cigarette.
Eventually, I started to understand the “could get hit by a bus tomorrow anyway” mentality. I didn’t think I needed to quit, something was gonna get me in the end right? Why not be something I enjoyed?
I needed it for the stress, it went well with a pint of cider, it made me more social, it didn’t cost me much money anyway.
I decided I would never smoke if I was to fall pregnant one day. So, until I decided to become a mother, I could just keep puffing away, guilt free.
Caught lighting up again!
In 2015, I realised I was going to be turning 24 and would have been a smoker for 6 years. Something about that length of time for someone still so young didn’t sit well with me.
I was working in Italy now, and the cigarettes were CHEAP. So cheap in fact that I had swapped my beloved tobacco for pre-made cigs. I was smoking at least 20 a day and more when I was drinking. I found myself making excuses to pop back to the smoking area at work just to have 5 minutes ‘to myself’. Not only was I smoking more but I was letting it become a reason for procrastination.
Finding the key to freedom
A friend of mine had recently quit smoking back in the UK and I was so impressed, I had to know how she did it. She was the kind of smoker that if she had her last cigarette before bed, then stayed awake longer than she expected; she would need to go out for another ‘final’ cigarette.
She told me that all I needed was a book.
One man was going to tell me the secret and free me of addiction- Allen Carr– no, not ‘chatty man’ Alan Carr, another one.
I ordered it out of interest and read the cover before leaving it on a shelf for weeks.
“It’s fine if you don’t read it all in one go.” my friend told me. “You have to be ready. You absolutely can’t stop smoking while you’re reading, you have to wait until the end anyway, so take your time” she reassured me that it wasn’t so scary to just read the book, I wasn’t giving anything up just yet, was I? I should take it one chapter at a time.
So I did.
And I put it down again.
After finding the first half really interesting, the fear set it. As irrational as it was, I wasn’t ready to part with my daily doses of nicotine.
I rang my friend again. “I did the the same, it’s part of the process, there’s no rush if you’re going to quit for the rest of your life”
This really resonated with me. I wasn’t giving up, I was taking my time to free myself from something that had no real benefits. If it took a while but the effects lasted a life time, then that was surely worth it?
The final cigarette
I told a few of my work mates what I was reading and that I was nearly at the end. Some of them smokers themselves, they were encouraging. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who were supportive and nervous energy built as I finished the last chapter. By the time I put the book down, I was genuinely excited.
This was it! The moment of freedom. I was breaking a 6 year addiction and in return I was going to feel fantastic, save money and stop smelling like an ashtray.
The final stage of the easyway method is to choose your favourite cigarette of the day to be your last. I went for the classic, ‘after dinner smoke’.
I sat down with friends for food, had a couple of glasses of wine and once my plate was cleared, I lit up. I had barely finished it when I stubbed it out, triumphantly, in the ashtray. This was it. I was going to be a non-smoker.
That night I had a few more drinks – if I could go without, while drinking, then I could survive any situation, right?
For a couple of days after, I felt a little more stressed than usual. My tolerance levels were lower and I could tell my body was craving the nicotine.
After only a short time it felt normal not to light up. For weeks afterwards, I enjoyed sitting close to people that were smoking, but I still didn’t have my own.
I started to feel differences. I couldn’t believe the smell of stale smoke on other people. I could taste more, my morning cough disappeared completely and my lung capacity improved.
The final final cigarette
Months later, after a particularly grim night of Whetherspoon’s cocktail pitchers and fried chicken, I asked a friend for cigarette. I lit up, but Allen Carr’s words cut through the drunken haze and I remembered to really think about what I was doing.
Before I could smoke half of it, I stubbed it out and vowed not to ruin my track record again. And I still haven’t.
I would be lying if I said that it hadn’t crossed my mind from time to time. There has been the odd occasions when I’ve thought I could enjoy a quick toke but then I remember the easyway techniques that taught me see cigarettes for what they really are.
I won’t tell you how terrible they are and how much damage they are doing to your body. I don’t have any graphic photos of blackened lungs and neither does Allen Carr. He doesn’t use fear tactics or tell you off. He simply gives you the facts and the tools you need to free yourself from addiction.
After all, why do we call it ‘quitting’ when we’re not denying ourselves anything worth having?
Are you ready?
If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking, you’re sick of overpriced techniques that don’t work, you want to get off the vape or if you’re just curious, then buy Allen Carr’s easyway and start reading. Don’t rush it, this is your journey and your choice, whether it takes 2 weeks or 2 years, you’re making steps towards being free for the rest of your life.
So how does it work!?
If you’ve already quit and are struggling to stay off them, or maybe your addiction is alcohol, over-spending, gambling, Caffeine or even food – then Allen has book to help you! But don’t just take my word for it, grab a copy, and see for yourself.
Have you ever tried to quit smoking? Maybe you want to but you’re not yet sold on the book? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have!