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Smoking Cessation Message Board

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Hi, my name is Tim and I am 25. I quit smoking for a year from December 2004 to December 2005 and haven't smoked much at all since then. I am about to embark on a two year quit, just psyching myself up for it. I thought it would be good to share my experiences and possibly get some feedback on my rant.

I was a part time smoker who got my nicotine hit through smoking joints (marijuna mixed with tobacco). When I started I thought, well its got marijuana in it so theres no way it can be as bad as cigarette. However, it is of course much worse because you are smoking tobacco without a filter mixed with an agent which perhaps helps the nicotine stick to your lungs so you get a better hit off it. Anyone agree with that?

Anyway, when I started suddenly my life seemed to improve and it seemed this happiness and confidence (and good looks!) seemed to spring out of nowhere and I was very content indeed. I thought, "oh i could quit anytime, I only smoke a little bit" so I did (a long time before 2005, when I was 15/16) and it was a very miserable experience. I wondered why I was so unhappy and why everyone was being so nasty to me.

Of course it was the effect the nicotine had had on my brain, having permenantly changed it (thanks nicotine!) but I did not realise this at the time. About 6 months later I learned that a cigarette or a spliff would always take these blues away. So I started smoking again, much more frequently than before and my life went back to being enjoyable again. Over the next seven or eight years I started smoking more and more until I was at the point where I was smoking many marijuana/tobacco joints every day with my pot smoking buddies (2001).

My dad quit smoking before I was born, my mum has never smoked in her life. When I was kid I really could not understand why my dad was so unhappy and spiteful towards me and everyone else it seemed. I just could not understand it. It did not make sense to me. it really upset me many times over. It makes perfect sense to me now. I think this lack of understanding and is a very very destructive thing.

OK so back to 2001 and I decided that enough was enough and I REALLY wanted to stop, even just for a while to see what it was like and how i would cope. I tried a week of just smoking pot without any nicotine and that is when I realised that I was only smoking joints for the tobacco. A few months after this I made up my mind that I had to stop because smoking was killing me and had taken over my life. The thought of breathing in this brain controlling hot white smoke directly into my lungs all day every day year after year just became too much for me to cope with. I briefly tried patches but found them horrendous.

My initial strategy was to gradually cut down very very slowly to nothing. My habit had been increasing ever since I had started so this seemed like the obvious starting point. During the rest of 2001 and 2002 this is what I did. It was fairly difficult, I became much more confrontational, it strained my friendships with my pot smoking buddies, but I stuck with it.

At the end 2002 I decided I needed a more precise strategy and came up with this: Go for a certain amount of time without any nicotine. Once I had done this amount of time, the next challenge would be to go for double the amount of time without. i.e

an eigth of a week
a quarter of a week
half a week
1 week
2 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
16 weeks
etc etc

This really made it much easier because I could look forward to rewarding myself with nicotine as much as I liked after I had done each length of time and it was up to me when I started the next. I gradually did this during late 2002/2003 and got up to 16 weeks. I gradually learned how to cope with not smoking like this and also learnt that were quite a few benefits to not smoking: When I was not smoking I realised that I became much more focused, concentrated and made far fewer mistakes in work and study, I could get many more constructive things done and possibly became more intelligent! I must admit though that I did develop quite a caffeine habit.

Anyway in December 2003 I decided that I was going to go for the year. This was a golden goal for me, something I really wanted to say I had done. During the first 6 months I was lucky enough to meet someone else who had also recently quit smoking. This helped loads, I am not sure I could have done it without him.

We played pool and went for beers and it made it so easy. However, I graduated in July 2004 and we went our separate ways. I got a job in a new city and had to meet lots of new people. Fortunately most of the new people I moved in with did not smoke, but it was still very difficult. However I stuck with it. There were points where I got really depressed and felt there was nobody my wavelength i could talk to but I lasted out until Christmas and made the year.

My main worries now are that I won't ever meet girlfriend material because my social circle is so limited now and my attitude has changed so much. I hate drinking, because without the nicotine, it just makes me feel ill. If I did ever meet someone I liked I think she would get so annoyed with me after a while she would get just tell me to get lost.

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