Monday, 10 November 2008

“Sooner or later, everyone stops smoking”

Seeing as change is the new black (or is black the new change?) I've decided to make a few changes myself. Well actually only one but a momentous one all the same. As of Tuesday I am going off the smokes. Can I? Yes I can! There, I've said it out loud so there's no going back. I've tried before but that was always to appease other people so it was always doomed to fail. Doomed I tells ye, doomed. My heart wasn't in it to quit in the past. But my heart is now the main reason why I want to quit. Oh yes it supports me fully this time, bless it's little blackened arteries.

sniff sniff
gonna miss you
don't watch me cry.....
just close the door after you

I always loved smoking. Christ it was great, I mean really really great. From the first one in the morning to the last one at night and every one in between, I loved them all. I particularly loved the first one after breakfast oh and the first one after dinner and then again the first one during work. Ah fuck it, I loved them all. But loving smoking is like loving Courtney Love, that is to say volatile, abusive and likely to leave you dead on the floor. And whilst it's true that a 100% of all non-smokers die there really is no long term future in continuing this relationship.

So I'm quitting, on Tuesday, probably. No I definitely am. I have even booked an appointment with the expert nurse at my local quit smoking clinic. Wow I bet she has nothing good to say. I hope it's not going to be one of those sit round in a circle type things with a lot of wheezing people with yellowy fingers talking about how much they want to quit. That would be too depressing but pure blog gold all the same. Probably more yellow than gold.

I was about 13 maybe 14 when I first sucked at the smokey teat of a cigarette. An older boy had them, isn't it always an older boy? But he was my cousin from England and ergo I considered him glamorous and wanted to impress him. He offered it, a Silk Cut the lamest of all the cigarettes available, and in a moment of pure hedonism I took it. I was a nervous child and not known for making such rash and impetuous decisions. But it didn't end well as I found myself in the middle of a country road coughing and spluttering and assuming I was about to die. I didn't take another draw of a smoke again for about six or seven years. I also didn't make another rash or impetuous again, until I got engaged that is. Funnily enough that also had me coughing and spluttering and thinking I was gonna die too. Well not straight away.

Now, by this point I was a waiter and living the life of a waiter with no responsibilities and too much spare cash. Spare cash? All my cash was spare. I drank and I dabbled in many nefarious things but smoking hadn't been one of them. But one Friday night after a long double shift at the Hut of Pizzaness I tried again. I was in a superb mood having made great money. All my chums were in the bar, Lavery's, and the atmosphere was great. Being as flush as a turkey farmer at Christmas I splashed my hard earned loot on all and sundry. I was buying drinks and hot nuts the way rich Arabs but football teams and Rolls Royces.

One of my chums, a lady who I had more than a special interest in, offered me one of her Marlboros. Ooooh Marlboro reds were cool looking, everybody under 25 smoked them apart from hippies who smoked roll ups. Damn hippies. So for very sad and indeed pathetic reasons I took one and then another and then another. In the end she got cheesed off at my poaching her smokes so I bought a packet. And that, as they say, was that. I eventually tried them all, from Marlboro Reds to Marlboro Lights to Silk Cuts to Benson & Hedges to the ever popular Twenty Majors. There was even a spell on Berkley Superkings, the baseball sized smokes allowed for a longer smoke break. Ironically I settled on roll ups and I'm not even a hippy! Who'd a thought it!?

But I'm done with them now. It's not just the wheezing and coughing and inability to take a flight of stairs without needing a break half way through, although these are good enough reasons to stop nor is it the fear that comes from any slight twinge of my left arm it's something much less tangible than that. I hate the way the smokes own me. And they truly do fucking own me. I am smokings bitch, I'm it's gimp. It wakes me up and demands it's attention. It shouts at me when I get off the bus and after I eat. I love smoking but smoking doesn't love me. The smelly bastard.

There is nothing that makes you feel more of an addict more of a low life than ripping your house apart at three in the morning looking for a lost packet of smokes. And if you smoke you've done it. You go mental looking for them, down the couch, into every trouser and coat pocket, twice, under the bed, in the bed, into your vast collection of man bags, eventually ending up rooting through the ashtray for half smoked cigarettes that can be reignited for that one more hit of nicotine. It's so very ugly, so very tragic. I'm done with only going to coffee shops and bars and restaurants with good outdoor smoking areas. I want to go where I want to go to not where the smokes want me to go to.

But mainly I'd like to make it past sixty and for the men in my family that is now a bit of a trick. Some make it and some sadly haven't. I've got shit I need to be doing and smoking ain't gonna get me there. Still we had some good times together, I would be lying if I said otherwise. [Cut to a dream sequence of me and a giant smoke laughing and drinking together whilst watching football and at many gigs and down the pub with the chaps and crying together when times were hard].

Oh yes I loved smoking and I'm gonna miss it. But it's become a one sided relationship and it's taking advantage of my happy go lucky and easily lead nature.

So the next few weeks will be fun. I predict swearing, mood swings, tantrums and comfort eating. So no real change there then. Stay with me folks we could be in for a bumpy ride and all help will be appreciated. And if anybody wants to make me an offer for about 30 lighters and a few ashtrays let me know.

I'm back to work today so I will post some actual waiter related goodies tomorrow....

48 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

belfastyouthworker said...

welcome back from paris! well done manuel!!!! i'm so pleased, i have been an anti-smoking advocate for years! lavery's truly is the den of iniquity, i bet you were in the bunker? i have committed many a sin there

Manuel said...

byw: cheers! where you been at?

there was no "bunker" in my day....it was the back bar, the front bar, the middle bar and the attic. I'm so old I remember when the attic's dance floor was so small only 6 people could dance on it at one time....

paddy said...

good luck mate. Giving up smoking is easy - I've done it heaps of times.

Manuel said...

paddy: hahahahaha I like that one.....

Medbh said...

Oh, Manuel!
It's a big step but I promise, when you get out the otherside, you'll say it was a cakewalk.

Just remember that you're in charge, not the fucking smokes.

belfastyouthworker said...

wireless down for a few days, worst 72hours of my life, god it was like i was cut off from civilisation, had to drink twice as much wine to compensate

Medbh said...

Here, read David Sedaris' account of when he quit smoking. He was the biggest fiend, if he can do it, anyone can:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/05/080505fa_fact_sedaris?currentPage=1

Manuel said...

medbh: that's what my dad said too....

byw: hahahahaha not all bad then!

medbh: I will! cheers

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

You can do it. Each time you would have bought a pack of smokes put the money in a jar and your next trip to Paris you will be flying first class. Save an old shirt you wore when you smoked and don't wash it and when you have the urge to smoke take a whiff of it and you will see how disgusting it was.
Just a couple of ideas.Good going Manuel!

A.B. said...

Yes, you can do it. This is happy news. Time to reintroduce yourself to your lungs. :-)

(My bro just celebrated 5 years of no smoking)

five tomatoes said...

I am coming out of lurkerdom to congratulate you and wish you good luck!

Niall said...

good luck man, you can do it and other such positive remarks. just remember it wont be easy but time will prove prove you wise.

psychoknitter said...

This is one thing I'll say "Yes you can!" to! I have the same nasty habit and have tried a few times, but am going to go for it soon as well. Just remember, mind over matter, mind over matter....or get lots of chewing gum or whatever.

The Hangar Queen said...

Fair dues big fella.

When you begin to waver just think of that scene from The French Connection when Popeye Doyle mashes all the ash,cigs and beer dregs into a glass.

The imagine drinking it.

Sorted!

Crisatunity said...

I recently picked up smoking a (tobacco) pipe after quitting cigs for 12 years. It's awesome town.

e2wen~* said...

My parents tried several times but failed eventually. I really do hope you can do it. All the best!

MJ said...

Can I bum a fag?

tee hee.

Man bags...

Snigger.

Old Knudsen said...

this blog will be a right laugh....not! you quitter.

Rebecca said...

Dude. I hate the digging for a half or quarter, or just one fricken drag... especially when the nonsmoker partner can see! *shudders*

fatmammycat said...

Congratulations, I wrote an entire post dedicated to you today. You can do this Manuel, well done indeed.
I was a heavy smoked and I'm off them 6 years. It's not nearly as difficult as people would have you believe- not to take away from people who have struggled with it. You've just got to go at it the right way.

Martin said...

Give yourself every help you can.
I gave up seventeen years ago and have never looked back.
I used all of the following tools.

1 Nicotine patches.
2 Extra Strong Mints (I bought industrial sized packets, eat one and then inhahe fresh air)
3 Good Strong Coffee on tap.

Start smelling smokers, after a few days you will begin to realise how nasty their breath smells.

Good Luck!

harried_dad said...

my parents gave up after forty years of smoking. I can remember walking into the sitting room and not being able to see the other side of the room clearly. Dr told my dad that if he wanted to see another Xmas it was time to quit. Mum and dad did the hypnosis thing. Two sessions each and they havent looked back since. But as old k says i never figured you for a quitter.....

AnFearBui said...

Winter is the best time to give them up-standing outside in the cold & rain isn't fun.
I'm sure the smoking fraternity would give you guard of honour as you walk off towards once more virginal lungs but I wouldn't expect you to run the gauntlet of the wheezing & phlegm.

red leeroy said...

good Luck Manuel. Do it. Beat the evil bastards.

Red hair, Red face said...

NOOOO!! not another one! I'm sorry ,manuel, I will compose myself..... I'll give you the support you need

Becaus said...

Good Luck!! I've just quit myself, not from me wanting to though. Damn being a woman and pregnant!! Hope you can stick to it, just be sure to make a badge that says "I'm quitting smoking" so that all your customers know that you're not an evil hearted, moody asshole waiter!!

Manuel said...

steve: cheers steve....with the money I spent on smokes I hope to save enough to get to the US first class..

a.b: 5 years eh......crikey, well done him

five tomatoes: welcome and cheers for that. now lurk no more.....

niall: but I'm scared......

psychoknitter: we should do it together!

devin: nice! thank you.....

Conan Drumm said...

Well done, especially since you could have bought a heap of baccy a whole lot cheaper in Paree. Do it however best it works for you, I'd recommend not using gum or patches if you can avoid them, but by any means necessary. Yes, I used to. I stopped, just like that, so can you. Good luck.

Silverstar said...

Just remember one thing: Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.

The ex used to smoke, and we had a couple of friends who were also a smoking man and his non-smoking wife. I always made the ex take care of his own ash trays because it made me nauseous. I don't think the man friend was too happy when he was bitching about his wife not emptying the ashtrays, and I told him it was a disgusting habit, and his wife probably got nauseous like I did. And it was his responsibility to clean up after himself. I guess I should be grateful my mother blew smoke in my face while pinning my hair when I was a kid. Turned me off smoking forever.

Sweetchuck said...

This is news to me. Fair play and that but you'd better ask that nurse for some drugs, valium perhaps.

A.C said...

German woman fails in Beer Mug World Record attempt

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/3413645/German-woman-fails-in-Beer-Mug-World-Record-attempt.html

sheepworrier said...

Fair play Manuel. I gave up for the marathon and regretted going back on them again - its true you really do have to want to give them up, for yourself.

Btw, its not as difficult as you think - last through the first week's cravings and that's pretty much it. Find something to entertain yourself as well - learn the guitar or something.

Manuel said...

crisatunity: welcome! oh I hope you're right....

e2wen-*: welcome! dad went off them after smoking pretty much all his life.....he;s much much happier now....

mj: hahahahahahaha thank you for that

old k: ha!

rebecca: I know what you mean....

fmc: you are the first person to say that! Thank you. Everybody says it;s soooo hard, and I expect it to be but someone telling you it;s do able gives me hope....

martin: cheers dude.....

dad: I'm no quitter.....I am a chooser and right now I'm choosing not to smoke...

anfearbui: I cant take the sitting outside anymore.....it's just mental

red leeroy: cheers man.

red hair red face: cheers dude...

becaus: woah! but being a "an evil hearted, moody asshole waiter!!" is my whole act

Manuel said...

conan: cheers mate.....I was actually standing with a huge pouch of tobacco in my hand at oner point but put it down and walked away....

silverstar: yeah LMM will be pleased.....

sweetchuck: yeah.....best avoid me for a while....

a.c: bwahaha weird.....

sheepo: cheers man, you are now the second person to say that.....

gimme a minute said...

What Fmc said in her post.

And all the best with it.

daisy mae said...

yay manuel! and congratulations!

whenever i quit something "bad" - generally for health reasons as somehow i'm not as young and resilient as i used to be - i try to find something to "replace" it when i'm in the middle of cravings.

most of the time i just go out for a short walk, telling myself that walking is better for me than (insert vice here), and generally feel better. sometimes reading or writing, or just doing something that isn't related to my craving helps.

for me i have to avoid situations where i might be tempted - but i've found that when i tell my friends why i'm not going to the bar, they understand, and are actually more supportive than you'd think.

you'll do well with this - who knows, in a few years you may be out running, too ;)

Tony said...

Yes, good luck...I've actually been off them for 2 1/2 months now. Don't know why this time it stuck, but I'm still not smoking. Even went out drinking and didn't smoke - that was the big test. The nic gum helps a lot...early on I actually ripped my house apart looking for one piece of nic gum!

psychoknitter said...

I don't want to harp on about it or anything - but as someone else said it IS doable. When I've attempted quitting in the past the worst thing was when people would tell me I couldn't do it. Would we tell that to our friends who are trying to get pregnant or pass a final? "oh please, you'll NEVER have a baby!" "study as much as you want, but I know you'll fail!"

The one time I quit for a long period of time it was really mind over matter, and I started jogging (which I hate). Feeling my lungs get stronger was the best motivation to keep me off the damn things. High stress is what got me back on them, now I just need to find a way to deal with that better!

Michelle said...

I will be off cigarettes 10 years this coming Christmas Day (but who's counting?). Don't think I'm not tempted to celebrate by lighting up one of my beloved Marlboro Lights...! But I won't, and yes, please do find something to replace them besides food, I think I gained 40 pounds after quitting. Good luck, I know you can do it!

Meg said...

I quit today. So know that there's a girl in Milwaukee, WI, alternatively cursing the sky and wishing Manuel the best of luck. :)

Manuel said...

gimme: cheers.....

daisy: as much as I loved smoking it really has held me back....and hell I would like to do some running........maybe

tony: cheers....better gum than smokes eh?

psychoknitter: my stress and your stress are not comparable by any stretch of the imagination....

michele: dad put on loads after quitting.....we call him sumo daddy now....

meg: welcome! come back and share from time to time eh....best of luck to you too.....

The Idle Wanderer said...

Good luck to you. I went back to the dark side. Might try again one day!

Manuel said...

the idler: liverpool?

jen said...

Best of luck with it, Manuel.

Himself has been smoking since he was 12. That's 26 years of gunk in his lungs and it worries me silly sometimes. One day he'll give up but he's got to want to do it. Nagging, I've discovered, just doesn't quite cut it :-)

Manuel said...

jen: Cheers. this is the first time I've actually wanted to go off them. I had always done it for other people.....

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Manuel said...

i smell spam......sniff sniff sniff

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