Call me Simon and here is my story.
It may sound funny, weird or you may even call it melodramatic but a small smoking area inside an airport helped me quit smoking.
I travel twice a year. One is for business and the other one is for my annual vacation. One thing I have always observed is that the smoking area (a very small room) provided by airports are becoming smaller and filthier.
6 months ago before I quit, I was on a business trip. While waiting for my next flight, I was smoking inside one of these booths provided by the airport. Inside this small room you could hardly see one another because of the thick smoke.
I was observing the people around inside me and the people outside the cubicle. The passersby were observing us like animals inside a cage in a zoo. I then realized how stupid I was all these years. I felt pity not only for myself but for the other smokers around me as well.
As soon as I got out of the cubicle I could smell myself like a burning cigarette. My shirt was still expelling some smoke caught up inside the smoking room. The people I met was trying to get away from me as far as they could.
When I got back to the waiting area, again I pitied myself. How could such a simple addiction have control over me making me do things against my will. Going inside that smoking box is insanity yet we smokers go inside it because we have to take our dose of nicotine.
After five years of traveling and going inside that smoking room I finally contemplated what is happening to my life. How could I allow myself to be controlled by a substance for 19 years.
I was in the verge of tears. Within this moment of contemplation a strong desire for me to quit was born.
How My Smoking Career Started
I am a pack a day smoker and I smoked for 19 years. I was in first year High School when I lit my very first cigarette.
I remember vividly how I accepted the offer from one of my classmates. I took the cigarette, plugged it into my mouth and lit it.
I felt high after a few puffs but it only lasted a few seconds, after that I felt numbness in my body and felt dizzy and sick. I vowed never to repeat lighting a cigarette again.
My classmate laughed and he said smoking will make you mature and turn you into a real man.
I won’t forget those words and I could still hear it clearly now as I write.
The second cigarette gave me the same experience and threw it after a few puffs.
The funny thing is I keep on trying to smoke even if it doesn’t feel good. It tastes bad and it makes me feel sick.
Maybe I was trying to prove I was a real man or maybe I was just trying to get along with the group I was with.
Finally my fifth stick gave me a boost without making me feel sick. I can now inhale as much smoke as I can and exhale it feeling satisfied. And for the first time in my life I felt like a real man.
Not knowing that the worst has just started.
High School days passed quickly. It became a normal routine smoking 4 – 5 cigarettes a day at school. My parents were non-smokers so I was pretty sure I would get the sermon of my life if ever they found out I was smoking.
So I never smoked at home.
After finishing High School I noticed certain negative things happening to me. My teeth were becoming darker, my fingers became yellowish and I easily become irritable if I want to smoke but I am unable to do so.
When I got my license to smoke in front of my parents right after graduation form High School I was already regretting why I smoked at the first place.
So I told myself, since High School is over, it’s time to quit.
The Truth Untold I Can No Longer Quit
But reality bit me like a frost. I couldn’t quit, whatever I did I just couldn’t control myself not to smoke. I was addicted and I was hooked. The cigarette manufacturers have won!
I felt something bad without the cigarettes. Something I can’t explain and I believed that the cigarettes were driving this bad feelings away.
Since then the real man I was portraying disappeared and what followed is a helpless man dependent on nicotine.
As I went on with my life as a smoker horrible things began to happen along the way. I always coughing, I could hardly breathe whenever I do something energetic and I always have trouble breathing at night. I could also feel people were avoiding me.
When I stepped into college I was smoking half pack a day and as soon as I finished college I was finishing one pack a day.
Years passed by quickly in the corporate world. My latest job enabled me to travel once a year to meet with my fellow Sales and Marketing Managers assigned in various state and countries.
It was during those years that I felt guilty smoking inside a small room filled with smoke and being there without a valid reason except for being an addict. And it was during my last travel six months ago that I decided to do something to stop this stupidity.
During my contemplation at the airport I realized I was not the man I am. I am not a weakling wherein I have to give in each time my body urges me to have a doze of nicotine.
So I stood up I went to the rest room to wash my stinking face. I could still recall the faces of the passersby looking at us-smiling and laughing. They looked at us like insects inside a box. I promised myself I will never enter that filthy room again.
I Commit Myself to Become a Non-Smoker
From that day on my journey in becoming a non-smoker began. After five months of struggle and trying out different ways to quit I finally achieved my goal.
I extinguished my final cigarette a month ago. I am now returning back the favor in sharing my experience in this blog in the hope that one of you will quit smoking after reading my story.
Every ex-smoker has their own story. The experience of Rudy motivated me lot. I thought quitting was easy but it is not and we have to have our own fair share in going through the withdrawal stage.
Maintaining your motivation at the very end is a crucial thing you must do in order to succeed. Your strong desire on the other hand will tell on how long will it take before you stop your addiction.
Going back you don’t need to be a real man to smoke. Smokers are nothing but nicotine addicts. They are weaklings, sorry to say this, because a real man has the strength and courage to quit his addiction and that I know for sure.
Keep in mind that this is your life we are talking about and trust me quitting smoking is really worth it!
Thank you Simon for sharing this wonderful story.