It was only when I gave my addiction to nicotine a name that I was able to “conquer” it. And that’s exactly what I did. We had a raging battle and I won. I WAS THE VICTOR. But it’s hard to fight when you don’t know who your enemy is. So the first step was to recognise that this was not my friend, this ‘always in need of a fag’ (for those of you who weren’t brought up in Ireland “fag” means cigarette; nothing more, nothing less). No, not my friend at all. It wasn’t calming me down when something was bothering me. It wasn’t helping me to relax when the air was filled with tension. It certainly wasn’t consoling me when I got into my emotional moods. No, this guy, this EVIL MONSTER was the cause of it all. All it was doing was telling me “to go on and give myself a break” and have that fix that was going to temporarily stop the cravings, whispering in my ear that it was time for my hourly dose of nicotine. There on my shoulder, filling me up with lies, poisoning me with empty promises that all I needed right now was that smoke, that all would be ok once I lit up and inhaled those “lovely” toxic fumes.
So I had managed to pass step one. Step 2 was going to be a bit tricky. After all there was a war to wage. A bloody battle to be fought and won. I confronted my enemy by giving it its name – “Nicotine Monster” and had it out with him (he was sort of male). I first of all armed myself with a book, Alan Carr’s “The easy way to stop smoking”, read it from start to finish, smoking away while reading, me and my “public enemy no. 1”. Then I found out just how crafty this monster had been, all those years, I realised his sly and cunning ways by entering into single combat with him, found out all his strategies, faced him head on and said to him “This is one fight you are going to lose. You are not the only one here that has a mind of his own. Put that in you pipe and smoke it. See you on the other side, you great big b******s you”
It’s only amazing when the mind makes up its mind how it can work miracles. We fought and struggled together for days and days and probably weeks and months and his hold on me was each day diminishing. He clung on to my shoulders for dear life, petrified that he could possible lose. I kept shrugging him off telling him to get lost. “No, I wouldn’t like a cigarette now”. “No, that isn’t what I need right now, you great big blundering liar you” “No, I won’t eat the head off my children for the lack of your stupid nicotine” “Yes, I am rather enjoying feeling I can breathe again”. ” It’s fantastic to be in control for a change so bugger off Nicotine Monster, off with you, Skidaddle, Get LOST”
I was fairly nasty to him, I must admit but I kept telling myself that he deserved nothing less. He started becoming so insignificant after a while that I barely heard him at times despite the tapping on the shoulder and the weak voice coming fading in with his “Go go, one cigarette won’t harm you” and then he’d die down again, too weak to persist. And I’d say to him “I bet you say that to them all, luring them back to your ways, well l you can’t fool me, I’m not falling for that, there’s no such thing as the one cigarette. It would be the beginning of the end for me so No, thank you”.
I don’t think he has fully gone away. It’s hard to kill a bad thing or so they say. He’s somewhere around me just waiting for a weakness to show and then he’ll pounce. Little does he know that no such weakness will ever emerge. He’s finding it difficult to admit that the war is over and I WON. Poor little fella, you’d almost feel sorry for him. It’s pathetic that he has this need to make other people’s lives miserable by brain washing them into thinking they need nicotine.
So if there is anyone out there who is trying to give up the cigarettes, trying desperately to rid themselves of this poisonous substance why not give it a name, see it as a threat, find the strength in your mind to out-best it and be rid of it for once and for all. It’s almost that simple.