From the day I was born I was surrounded by cigarettes.
It was a life of second-hand smoke, a constant odor lingering everywhere you go as its seeped deep in your clothing, and a thickening hatred growing daily towards smoking.
I would beg my parents to quit, I would heckle them about how bad it was to smoke and that they were going to die pretty much every time they would light up a smoke.
At night I would sneak into the living room while they were sleeping and would break all their cigarettes into pieces, leaving a disaster in the ashtray for when they woke up. I know a few times they did try to quit but where not 100% in it as alcohol was still a big factor in their lives and alcohol can bring the worst out in a smoker.
Throughout my childhood I would spend a lot of time with my grandparents, who were also heavy smokers and at this time let me remind you, it was normal to smoke indoors, restaurants had smoking and non-smoking sections, it was almost impossible to get away from it.
It was unfortunate that my grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have a lung removed and go through a painful process to recovery. It was something very scary and traumatic for me, my grandma and I were very close and I spent a lot of my days with her, It was more than heartbreaking to watch what she was going through at such young age, not fully understanding what exactly was going on, or going to happen. As a child, I told myself I would never smoke, I seriously felt as if it was tearing my family and life apart and had such hatred towards it.
However, at around the age of 11, I slowly started to break and give up on all around life. I was angry that I was lied to about my dad, I was angry that my “perfect home” was broken and no longer a family, I was hurt that my grandma, the nicest lady in the world, was suffering from cancer and battling for her recovery, I was angry that everywhere I looked was a ciggerette and no one seemed to care the harm it was doing , I was angry watching people in my family drink their lives away , I was just angry and sad and gave up and completleye gave in to my surroundings, sneaking a ciggerette here and there and painfully failing at inhailing but by the time I was 13 I was a full on nicotine addict.
When I did decide to go to school, I would be easily found at the smokers pit in between periods, lunch breaks, before and after school…Basically, if you saw me at any given time, chances where I had a cigarette in hand…
It was actually very easy to get cigarettes at such a young age, my mom and grandpa always bought cartons of cigarettes, they where always in plain view and easy access , so I would alternate between the both of them, I would scavenge money from around the house and go halfers on packs with friends, to making money for myself and getting my older friends to buy packs for me . It is sad how easy it can be for us to get access.
It became the biggest addiction in my life,
I had two horrible addictions to cocaine and ecstasy and was able to quit doing those one day no problem, cold turkey and as I was able to do some here and there, I never got that need or want for them the way I did for nicotine.
For some reason though, smoking, seemed impossible.
I tried to quit a few times and the longest I was able to go was 6 months, but then one day I had asked to have a couple puffs off someone’s cigarette which became a regular habit to asking for a smoke myself daily. It only led me to buy my own packs again and being full force into smoking again.
I honestly told myself, that’s it I’m just a smoker for life, I accept it.
It was the biggest anxiety relief for me when I was having attacks, and when I was working nights for a while my anxiety was extremely increased at and outside of work .i couldn’t be outside in the most beautiful days of summer in Vancouver due to my anxiety and being around crowds. I was smoking even more just to calm down.
I was seriously starting to feel like my life was being taken control of by cigarettes…
This is where it begins … on HOW I QUIT SMOKING …
Like they say, when your ready, you will quit, and that’s absolutely true…
When I first tried to quit the other times, I was not really in it 100%, I was still drinking, still doing drugs and kept finding my way to cigarettes.
I honestly had no self-love at that time, I was so depressed and honestly had no care towards life, and as I had been on antidepressants before and I found they only made me worse. In a way, I felt smoking was all I had.
I was able to cut back extremely, I quit working nights and put myself into a completely stress-free environment, I would only smoke if I drank or had a bad anxiety attack which was happening less.
I started to include a much healthier diet to my life and started to exercise more. I am blessed to live in the heart of English Bay in Vancouver so I like to take advantage of the seawall on most days.
I was then introduced to a few plant-based products from a company called ItWorks, I had seen a friend living her life with so much happiness and positivity , I felt that I wanted and deserved the same , I was so sick of living bitter and depressed and was looking for a more natural way to deal with stress and felt I had nothing to lose, with the few steps I had taken thus far I had already started to feel a major positivity and mood boost.
I started to develop self-love in myself and developed self-value.
With feeling this great and being more active I was starting to notice that my smoking was decreasing!
The Confianza I was using from ItWorks replaced the need of a cigarette in a stressful time.
so smoking was now mainly just a social or drinking action at this point, which I was already starting to rewarding myself for.
But deep down I still was angry with myself, for the majority of the time I would try to hide my smoking habits from my boyfriend, feeling ashamed that I hadn’t been able to nip it in the butt,
Around this time, the smell was starting to really turn me off more than ever, my lungs felt heavy and held me back during exercising, feeling I could never give it my all due to the lack of oxygen I was getting and would have to stop to “ cough up a lung”
I was 27 years old and realized I was smoking for longer than 10 years, to think of being a smoker for the rest of my life started to scare me, I’m so young and I’m already starting to feel symptoms and held back from the tobacco , what am i going to be like when I’m 40? 50? 60? Would I even be alive?
One day I was walking by a construction site ( many to come across here in Vancouver ) and I saw a flag lady standing on the street smoking.
I noticed her teeth were a very brown and yellowish color and looked as if they were falling out.
Her cough sounded as if the inside of her lungs were disintegrating with the pressure of a cough, Her face looked very weathered and aged with spotting and discoloration, which tends to happen with a long time smoker.
At that time I was worried about my skin, it was starting to wrinkle BAD, it was so dry and dehydrated and was starting to get extremely blotchy with brown spots, and discolorations.. when I saw this ladies face .. at that moment I saw myself 10 years from now… Maybe even 5…. I was so shocked and scared and it was literally like reality slapped me across the face… I threw the cigarette i was smoking to the ground, and NEVER touched another again.
It will be 2 years in August that I have quit smoking and I have never felt better!
My anxiety was decreased, realizing a lot of it was caused due to the craving of nicotine, my skin was calming down and starting to look healthy again and my overall health increased and I felt good about myself as a person and with life..It’s probably the proudest moments of my life as its honestly something I thought I would never be able to accomplish, and by quitting smoking, I now know that I can honestly do anything if I work hard at it and truly want it and so can you.
When you have self-love and treat yourself with respect and with a value .. you start to see so much more to life, you do deserve the good life, you are a good person, it just starts with one simple step at a time.
You are unstoppable.