If I Can Do It, Maybe You Can Too: How I Got Over One Bad Habit
Guys, don't get me wrong. I wanna put it out there at the beginning that I'm not some super amazing health guru. Of course I'm not. I'm just a regular schmo from Sedalia. But, I had pretty big personal milestone this summer, and I think it might be a good idea to talk about it. Maybe it'll be one of those little things that makes you think about your own situation.
I haven't actually mentioned this online before (I don't think so anyway), but I was a cigarette smoker off and on for several years. I picked it up early in college but didn't get too into it. I'd buy some, but looking back on it, half the time I wasn't really inhaling all that much, so... yeah. I was a stupid kid, like any other stupid kid.
In my thirties, I did give it up pretty much cold turkey. Then a boyfriend I was with was a smoker, and through no fault of his, I went back. He wasn't the Marlboro man or anything. It's not like he sat me down Clockwork Orange style and made me light up a pack of Pall Malls. He was doing it, and all I had to do was NOT do it, but... well. You know how these things go. I wasn't ready. Not really.
So anyway, I had a big upheaval in my life here not too long ago, maybe a couple years. I haven't made a big deal about it here, but I got a divorce and decided that I was going to start doing things and living life for me. Just for me, and that's it. If I want something, I've gotta do it, nobody's gonna do it for me. I was ready.
And one of those things I wanted to do was to quit smoking. I didn't have to convince myself this time. In times past, I'd always had to talk myself into it. I'd complain to myself about the smell, about the damage it was doing to my clothes, the cost, the health problems it was causing, etc. This time was different. I just didn't want to smoke anymore. That doesn't mean my body still didn't want the nicotine, though. So I decided I was going to be proactive and find ways to make it easier to quit.
I didn't want to plunk down a lot of change and get a prescription. I also didn't feel to good about patches. The first thing I decided to try is something that really worked - nicotine mints. You can get them in basically any store that has a pharmacy, I think. Don't need a prescription or special behind the counter access. They're not too expensive, about ten bucks for a bottle of mints. I started with 4 MG mints (which I learned is the amount of nicotine in half a cigarette) and paced myself. It was a little strange to get used to not going outside a lot, but I got used to that soon enough. It's not like I didn't have enough to do at work to keep me busy. I just had to do all my work without little five or ten minute breaks every hour or so. That helped to motivate me more when that time added up and I was done with my work a little earlier (don't worry about me, I'm salary, so no clocking in and out).
Eventually, moving on to the 2MG was even easier. I carried some mints in my bag in a little container NJ bought me at the St Louis Art Museum. It looks like one of those old fashioned snuff boxes. Just has mints in it.
I officially quit in June of 2022. I've thought about relapsing a couple times, but nothing serious enough to get close. And looking at it now, I still have some mints in my bag, and in a little bottle in the living room, but.... I haven't had regular mints in months. I probably had some every day until about five months ago. And even though NJ still smokes... it doesn't tempt me at all. After a while my body got used to not having it anymore, then my mind got used to it, and that was it.
I don't want to go back, and I won't. That's what I find the big key is. If you're trying to quit something (whether it's coffee or cigarettes or alcohol or chocolate or whatever), if you don't really want to stop doing it, it's not going to happen. If you know you should quit, but that little voice in the back of your head doesn't.... it won't happen. You know what I mean. You can tell yourself you have to, you've got a million reasons, everyone is on your side, etc - but if YOU don't want to, you're gonna go back.
But, look at it this way. I'm an idiot. I'm a regular schmo, like I said at the beginning. If I can do it, you can do it, because you're much smarter than me. And classier. And you smell great, too.
What's a bad habit you've quit over the years? How did you do it?