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Quit Smoking Stories

How I Started Smoking

Till the time I turned 21, I was a non smoker. I was in my final year of graduation and since my house was quite far off from the university I decided to stay at my college hostel. There I made many friends and by the time I left the hostel I was a regular smoker. I don't know since when my friends started smoking but if I try and recall, from the numerous experiences and talks that we shared it seems they started in their teens. There can be many reasons why people get hooked to smoking. As for me, there never was peer pressure or anything that made me pick up the habit. It was rather my choice.

As I was the only non smoker in our group, at late night my friends used to come to my room to smoke. Since, we were in a very strict girl's hostel we used to wait till our warden and most of the other girls slept. Till today, I don't know why my friends made it a point to come and smoke in my room especially when they knew that I don't smoke. Anyways, meeting late night at my room became a routine; we use to chat, binge on eatables, then they began their smoking. It was on one such night I told my friend that I want to try smoking. My friends never forced me in fact they warned me that it is not good and that they wanted to kick the habit but are helpless as they are already hooked. And stupid me, rather than asking them to quit smoking, I wanted to try it myself.

The more I knew it was bad, the more I wanted to try. I had tried before but I never inhaled or rather I would say I didn't know how to inhale, so for me it was the same smoking or not smoking. However, this time I really wanted to inhale and experience the effect. I asked my friends to teach me how it is actually done. Initially they hesitated but later on they gave in to my request. To begin our lesson, I lighted the cigarette, and was so excited that I started puffing too quickly and when I tried to inhale, I coughed badly. Then one of my friend told me to slow down, take in the smoke and feel it going down the throat to the chest and then to slowly breathe it out again. After this coaching I was successful, I could really feel the smoke going in and coming out, I was so happy but a little dizzy, but then the kick felt so good. Till today I remember that first kick I got.

From thence, I began smoking every night. It was so exciting besides the kick; we were doing something which no one in the hostel dared to do. So, we felt kind of powerful and the boss of the hostel. It had been 4 years since that night and sadly I am not proud to say that I am a regular smoker today. I don't smoke heavily but I do smoke 5 to 6 sticks a day and sometimes even a pack. I began to depend on it so much so that I started my day with smoke and even my body systems got synchronized with it. I feel my day is not complete or something is lacking if it doesn't start with a smoke. It became my reliever when I was tense or depressed.

Gradually I began to see the ill effects of smoking. I felt breathless when I played badminton and could not play for long as I used to and my skin had become dry and I looked so worn out but again I blamed it on myself stating that I don't take care of it and ignored the fact that it was cigarettes which was actually causing it. I couldn't allow the thought of quit smoking to enter my mind as I knew that it had become part of my life. However, when I began to feel a pain in my chest I was forced to think. I was thinking of the worst possible things which can happen. So I decided, this time I will quit smoking.

I quit smoking for about a week which helped my chest and sore throat to come back to normal. Unfortunately, the memory of the first kick I got from smoking began to haunt me. I felt so tempted to feel that kind of kick again that I could not resist myself. I went out and bought just one stick as I was not planning to smoke more than that. However, that one stick was so powerful that with that one stick I was back to square one. Since then I tried more than 5 times to quit smoking but couldn't. I was even ashamed now to tell my friends that I am planning to quit smoking.

So this time I just started to quit again without telling anyone. Everyday, I still feel like smoking and remember the joy it brings me. I am diverting my mind as much as possible. I drink lots of water and juices as I need to wash away the nicotine stain from my system. I take chewing gum whenever the urge to smoke hits me. I avoid going to places where smokers will be around, so, I started a new and a healthy habit of going to places where smoking is prohibited like library, museums, church etc. I try to stay active as much as possible and thus plays badminton, volley ball etc. I would also like to mention a very important person who guided me till now and helped me when I am on the verge of lighting another tempting stick; he is none-other than our local pastor. Being with him and in the midst of spiritual people can really help you and make you strong. Last but not the least, will power is very important as you are the one who's going to quit smoking, you need to have strong will to stop doing something which harms your body.

It's been just a month since I quit but this time I am sure, taking one day at a time I will say goodbye forever to cigarettes. I look forward to meeting my friends as I had been avoiding them for the past one month as I thought I will relapse in their company. But now I feel strong enough and I want to meet them and also see the surprise on their face when they will see with their own eyes that I have finally quit smoking. This time I will not get influenced by them rather I will influence them to quit smoking forever.

Maria Taylor
San Francisco, California



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