Seriously, how i did it....

This could be my longest entry on my blog because i feel it's about time i share this with you guys. I think this is by far, one of my life changing moments that i have not talked about to much people properly. And knowing that there are quite a number of readers reading, i'll try to make this know appropriate for all ages. Haha. This could probably the 'other side' of me that some of you might have not seen (those who have only met me recently) where for some who have knew me long time ago, just bear with me on this one. It is my blog after all. :P

I won't promise that what i'm going to blog about will work for you as it did for me but i'm just typing it out of my own experience. If you are a smoker and you really do feel like you're serious about quitting, get professional help immediately. Otherwise, just try using what i went through as guidelines. I just hope it'll help you as much as possible.

"Seriously, how did you manage to quit smoking?!"

Whenever someone asked that question, mixed emotions just begin to fill me. No doubt, i am happy when my friends asked me that 'cause i can proudly prove to them that i, Ronald Cheng managed to quit smoking. Then again, it doesn't make me exactly proud for people to know that i was once a smoker to begin with really. I still feel that that reason itself have already left a bad mark in my life. But the frustrating part is whenever that question pops up, i feel that i really can't do much to help them. I mean, i can only give them tips and advices on how i did it but i'd say that's probably only 20% of the whole process, the remaining 80% would be up to them on whether they really want to quit.

Over the past number of smoking years, i've made many friends easily. Good friends, bad friends, close friends, friends that bring you out just to grab a few puff of cigarettes with you then drop you home, friends that find you out just for your cigarettes (the most cheapskate people you can ever find!) and friends that just supply you with cigarettes whenever you hang out (every smoker's ideal friend...) Ah yes, friends will play a very important role in this whole quitting process which is why if you are being serious about quitting, you will need to start evaluating the people you usually hang around with. You'll find what i mean further down in this post later.

So with that, i'll start spilling the beans on how i picked up this stupid habit of mine before. I would assume the year would be around 2000 after the 1999 SEA Games. I was in Form 2 and that was the year where i decided that i didn't wanna be a goody-goody boy in school. No, i wanted to be someone. Like one of those seniors that's so cool to look up to. So i started acting rebellious. It wasn't hard for me to be rebellious anyway since my brother have already 'set the standard'...if you know what i mean. Haha...he never admits it anyway. So there i was, in Secondary 2 looking at the whole school like as if they owed me so much. I started being angry over small little things, trying to provoke people to start fights as much as i can. Soon enough, people began to notice me. The next thing i knew, i started loitering in school after school hours with people that the teachers always seemed have some issues with.

I could remember that it was one afternoon where I was at the infamous ‘back flat’ with a few people. One of them offered me a cigarette taken out from his pencil case. He knew I didn’t smoke in the first place so I turned him down but instead of putting it away, he insisted that I should give it a try. With that, curiosity started taking over. Clips of my grandma smoking started playing in my head (it sort of makes you feel that it’s not that big of a deal if YOUR grandma smokes ‘cause it somehow seems so natural) then all sorts of questions a non-smoker would think of starts filling my head.

“How does it taste like?”
“Will get I get addicted?”
“How exactly do you smoke these things?”
“How does it feel?”

Back then, most of the students were smoking this brand of cigarettes called Sampoerna". I’d say that would be one of the ‘user-friendly’ brands because of the deceiving sweet taste on the cigarette buds that makes you think it’s the safer choice of cigarettes to puff. But come to think about it, with the thought of ‘I think I look cool-er if I smoke’ back then, even if you gave me a crap flavoured cigarette, I’m sure I’d give it a puff all for the sake of being ‘cool’. I mean, who didn’t wanna be cool right? Tsk..
I really wonder now what was so cool about that?

As I mastered the skills of inhaling cancer sticks into my lungs, little did I know how addictive it could get. For once, I would never admit that I’m addicted to it. I would always give the reason that I’m just smoking 'for the fun of it' but after a year of doing so, I finally admitted that i was addicted to it. And no, I had no thoughts of stopping anytime soon then cause I’m like probably the third smoker in my class back then, say out of around 40 students? That itself made me feel like I’m 'special'. Pretty lame I know.

So, as time went on and my addiction went stronger. A day without a cancer stick would make me feel cranky thus; I’d be really moody or even get angry for no particular reason. Heck, back then we were even using different brand of cigarettes as medicine. For example, if we have flu or blocked nose, we’d go for menthol-ish cigarettes. If we have coughs, we’d got for some light cigarettes. If there’s migraine / headache, a strong one like Marlboro Red would do the trick. Next thing i know, i'm smoking for 6 years. There are times while i was smoking back then, i would ask myself when exactly am i going to quit or what was so nice about the whole smoking thing. As a matter of fact, i really didn't enjoy smoking already but it's just the damn tar and nicotine that making me crave for more. I did want to quit but the furthest i would go without smoking would be either a day or two without a stick and then start puffing like mad. It was hard. I knew it was going to be hard but then again, nobody said it was going to be easy either.

After i came back from KL and through the period when my dad was being diagnosed with cancer, it sort of made me think a lot about life and it's value. Prior to my return, in my mind i've already set a number of things i needed to straighten out in my life and smoking was one of them. By the way, you don't need to have someone dying in your family *touchwood* or losing someone to make a turning point in life. You just need to initiate it yourself. With that, that would be my first advice (finally eh?) to you if you do want to quit smoking.

#1. Admit and reveal that you are a smoker and be very serious about it if you really want to quit.
I would find this really important because from what i've went through, even before i started the quitting process, something would just put me down saying i can't get through it. Then i would delay my quitting process or just give in to smoking again. DON'T! Never let your mind negotiate for you at all times. You must always have that 101% determination that you want to and will quit.

#2. Find the main purpose in life of why you wanted to quit.
My main one would be God. When i've decided to re-dedicate my life to Him, i felt that the whole smoking issue does not make me feel worthy to stand in His presence. So i made it a priority that i must quit this habit in order to serve Him. But this is my purpose. You can always find your own purpose. A good example i'd have would be quitting for your loved ones say your girlfriend or boyfriend. Picture them in your head each time you have the urge to smoke. Think of how disappointed they would be in you if you decide to put that stick into your mouth. There's so many purposes in life that can motivate you to quit. Just remember to remember that purpose you have. Get what i mean?

#3. Tell the people around your decision to quit smoking.
This is a must. You must tell everyone you know that you want to quit regardless of how they make fun of you or they'll support you because the moment you say it out, in some sense, it's like you've made a public vow. This will make people around you keep an eye on you. (Which is why you must admit or tell people you are a smoker in the first place. It'll make it easier for the whole process than to hide things) So say if after you have told people your decision to quit and you just so happen to get caught smoking, you will definitely feel the embarassment and could probably be called a liar, dirty liar, filthy dirty liar, etc. I'm sure you won't feel good about the insults. So in a way, it'll make you feel more cautious about whether there are people you know that's watching your every move, which makes the situation more harder for you to suck that cigarette. You'll end up getting frustrated which will also help the process.

#4. Change of environment.
When you've come to this stage of being serious about quitting, you will definitely need to change your environment temporarily. Do not under all circumstances go to a place where you've smoked a gazillion times before. I used to have lunch / lim-teh sessions in certain restaurants where i can happily smoke a cigarette after a meal without hesitating. When i started to quit, i totally stopped going to those places for months even if it required me to sacrifice the good food they had to offer. Once you're sure you can control your habit, you can return back to that place. But the best would be to avoid it totally until you've really quit.

#5. Start evaluating your friends.
Now when i say that i don't mean that you start judging your friends. I'm sure there are different friends around you. Friends that influence you easily or friends that you can rely on. As they are the people you see everyday, you'll need to start thinking which of your friends can really help you get through this process. I would strongly advice that you try cutting down activities with those friends who smoke as much as you. That does not mean you should abandon your friendship. Explain to them what your plans are and ask for their understanding for the decisions you have made. A true friend will definitely understand and help you get through this.

#6. Get busy.
Back then when i was still smoking, i'd always think what would i be doing if i'm not smoking? Fact is, there are tonnes of things out there for you to enjoy rather than just puffing up those sticks. Get yourself involve with activities. Get your schedules as pack as it can for the first few months that'll help get your mind off this whole quitting process. You'll find it easier to get through. Do more physical activites to get you super tired that makes you feel like you don't even have that strength to go look for cigarettes to smoke...that sort of thing.

#7. Cutting down on cigarettes / Changing the brand of your favourite cigarettes to a least favourite.
I didn't say that i totally stopped smoking overnight did i? I started by cutting down on the amount of cigarettes i smoked. I would usually make my own 'quota' first. For example, for the first week i'd allow myself to smoke 10 sticks. How or when, it doesn't matter as long as i do not exceed my 'quota'. If i do, i'll minus one out from the next week which gives me a cigarette less to smoke for the following week. As i go on, when i feel that i'm ready to cut down, i'll change my favourite brand of cigarettes to another brand that i don't really like and at the same time still reducing the number of cigarettes too. My last pack was a women's brand of cigarettes and my last 'quota' was 1 stick a day. I used to have a bad habit of smoking before and after a meal, usually a stick each but when i reached that quota, you should've seen me smoking half a stick before a meal and then relighting that same stick after i've finished my meal. I looked quite stupid. But the main point here is to reduce the amount of nicotine and tar intake in your body as much as possible over a certain period.

#8. Never carry lighter around with you.
Somehow a smoker would feel it's worth spending money on cigarettes more than on a lighter. If you have a lighter, the chances of you getting tempted to buy a pack of cigarette is much higher compared to you buying a lighter if you have a pack of cigarette. It's the mentality really. But then again, if you're serious on this, you shouldn't be close to holding even a stick of cigarette in the first place. Dispose all lighters in your room/car immediately. That includes your expensive zippos. Or if it makes you feel a bit better, give them away.

#9. Find a few people to monitor you regularly and also a few you want to impress.
I've had one or two people whom i wanted to impressed and at the same time whom i look up to to monitor me on a regular basis. They'll call me up and just check on my condition whether i've smoked for the day or how i was coping with it and just throw me a few advices here and there. The more naggier the person is, the better. Trust me, with people like that to check on you every single day, i'm sure you'd rather be sucking on a lollipop than to suck on a cigarette.

#10. Replace the urge to smoke with something else.
For me whenever i felt like i needed to smoke, i prayed. If you're not really a religious person, i guess the ideal way would be chewing a piece of gum or go with nicotine gum / nicotine patch. This is one of the many common ways where i'm sure you have heard from a lot of places or television. But did you really try it? :P

I guess that would be my "Top 10 ways on how i manage to quit smoking". I'm sure there are much more effective ways to quit but that was how i did it. I would honestly say 90% was to allow Him to just work in me and have a good amount of faith in it. And i'm happy with where i am today. It's almost been a year since my last cigarette, i don't get tempted with friends who smoke, and i can sit with smokers and not have the urge to smoke anymore. In fact, i hate cigarettes now. I've tried puffing one up recently and the taste just totally digust me the moment i taste it. If you're a smoker who really want to quit and manage to read this far, then i wish you the best of luck in quitting. Do feel free and ask me more questions. I'll try to answer them out of experience. But again, i would really advise you to seek professional help if you're dead serious about this.

If you're not a smoker and you're still reading this, my advice would be don't ever pick that habit up. It'll be one of the most regretful decision you'll ever make in your life. I'm not kidding! Most of the smokers that are addicted now really want to quit but find it so hard to. So why jump into a pool of crap when people are trying to swim out of it? Haha..

In Him


Ratsnrop said…
Two thumbs up for you, Ron! *salute*
Thank You for this Very Valuable and Interresting Post.

Hope we stay in touch !

If You would Like to Share on Something...let me know

Regards, Roger B.

Roger Baillargeon
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josh said…
Anonymous said…
oi, guess my questions inspired u to write this on your blog ehh?
Somemore display our getting-high photo!! Ha ha

THANKS for advises that you gave and maybe that advises will motivates more foolish people to quit.

Even though I missed those days we smokes & chatted, we could have do it without the poison! ;)

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