How Atheism (I) Helped Me (Myself) Quit Smoking

I started to smoke at 25, which was very stupid.  I was still up to my neck in christianity, but having considerable doubts.  I was in graduate school.  I was also being a very naughty girl, and somehow god wasn't helping me to be more "moral."  I would go into what I mean by "moral" now, but that will be for another post.  Suffice it to say, I was living in contradiction with my own value system.

The most interesting part about my decision to start smoking, is that I am a lifelong severe asthmatic.  There were multiple incidents of times that I would take a couple hits of my inhaler to open my lungs up enough to enjoy a cigarette.  I was in self destruct, miserable, depressed, and engaging in a slow suicide.  

I began to try to quit smoking approximately one year after I started.  I then decided it was foolish to be so self destructive.  I had some successes, and multiple relapses.  I confused my neurons so much that my moods were in a mess.  Ultimately, I kept going back to it, even after physiological withdrawal had ended.  

The title of my post is a bit misleading.  I am currently not smoking (for 3 weeks now.)  I don't keep my fingers crossed, because I've gone 6 months before.  What I have realized though, is that I want to live a really, really long time.  Since this life isn't a dress rehearsal as I believed for so long, something clicked inside of me two weeks ago, reminding me that I am in complete control of what toxins I take into my body.  If this is the only life I have, and it is a happy and rich life right now, then I don't want to negligently end it sooner than needed.  That single thought has prevented me from slipping many ties in the last few weeks.  

Many things in this life are not preventible.  But hell if I'm going to actively choose things that have a high likelihood of ending this fantastic and fleeting life that is finite.  I want to absorb each moment I can, and I simply don't have time to sneak out back for a smoke.  

All of the prayer, hope, faith, etc did nothing to get me to this point.  I needed to have a reason to live.  Having my life be something that ends without the possibility of heaven, rainbow bridge, etc makes each moment more valuable.

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Comment by Luara on August 17, 2013 at 6:54am

For myself, I tend to want to smoke when I am angry about something.

I tend to want to eat when I'm angry.

Maybe the appetite-suppressant aspects of smoking are powerful in preventing people from quitting.  The horror of getting fat :) 

Comment by Stephanie Morgan on August 17, 2013 at 1:56am

Allen Carr's Easy Way to Quit Smoking. I recommend this to anyone trying to quit, it changed my whole mindset, I quit for 4 days until I got drunk lol. About a month later I just quit, wasn't trying or anything, just thought about it a lot.

Comment by cbenhamcox on August 17, 2013 at 1:04am

Yes, nicotine is a powerful drug, and has been discovered to be a strong antidepressant.  For myself, I tend to want to smoke when I am angry about something.  Very true about the ditching of smoking friends!  None of my friends smoke anymore, and I find it a secret temptation, almost like I want to be "naughty" and break the "rules."  Leftovers from childhood indoctrination.  Today was rough, but I made it!

Comment by Michael Penn on August 16, 2013 at 10:34pm

Luara,

Here's what it is about smoking. Normally your peers get you into smoking and you smoke because they do. You are doing what your group does. It's the "in" thing to do. This is so regardless of your age. You identify. You are "one of them." Does smoking calm your nerves? Yes, if you haven't had had a cigarette in a while and the body craves nicotine. You smoke then and seem calm, but have forgotten that nicotine is a drug. Nicotine in your blood stream ran low and your body wanted more. You smoked again and solved the problem. At least until the body needs more nicotine. This is what smoking is all about. You become "hooked" on that nicotine and smoking is then a "habit."

Many claim they enjoy smoking. I used to, but then you switch brands a lot. Excuses are given for this, but the bottom line is that smoking often leaves you with a "bad taste." You seem to expect more than you get, but then discover that you simply cannot quit.

Don't hang around with your old smoking buddies anymore. They don't want you to quit really, (it makes them look bad) and if you did quit do you want them smoking in your car or your home? Not me.

I was determined and I ditched smoking buddies when I ditched the cigarettes. It wasn't that hard to do, and I have the added benefit of not having holes burned in everything.

Comment by Luara on August 16, 2013 at 10:35am

Ultimately, I kept going back to smoking, even after physiological withdrawal had ended. 

What is it about smoking that does this to people?  Are cigarettes soothing in times of stress?

I've smoked 1 cigarette in my life.

Comment by cbenhamcox on August 16, 2013 at 8:45am

Ha!  That's fantastic!  Not sure if you noticed in my posts, but I actually am a psychologist.  Side note, I puffed without inhaling for years and my buddy who introduced me to smoking also told me I wasn't doing it right!  I consider myself a relatively intelligent person and all, but being influenced by others is truly one of the worst consequences of my childhood indoctrination.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 16, 2013 at 7:33am

You may laugh, but this is a true story. 14 years ago I had the flu around Christmas time. I'm laying in bed alone half out of it mentally, and with breathing problems. A female voice from nowhere says "we cannot allow you to smoke any longer because smoking is going to kill you." From that very time and into my recovery from the flu, I found that I could not inhale a cigarette.

Inhaling or not, I continued to puff on cigarettes while drinking my beer on weekends. At work I told my female boss this, and she laughed at me. She told me that it all meant that I had NOT quit smoking. This reminded me of when I had started smoking 35 years prior and my date laughed at me saying I didn't even know how to smoke. Thinking it was "sexy", I was determined to learn how.

So, I quit smoking then, but the first 6 months had me wanting a cigarette because of the smell of tobacco. Being around smokers was tough, so I quit hanging around them. The desire to smoke left totally after 6 months, and today I can't stand to even be around a smoker. It's hard to breath around cigarette smoke so I avoid it.

Notice the story here. I'm laughed at by a female and become determined to smoke. A female voice from nowhere tells me when I'm sick that "we" cannot allow you to smoke any longer. Finally when I still puffed cigarettes a female laughs at me again and says it all means I have not quit smoking. I was guided through it here, and a psychologist would have a field day with this information.

Bizarre as it sounds, this is the story of my smoking from start to finish. Even after 14 years now a few idiots tell me there is still time for me to go back to smoking. Why would they think I would want to? It's a health hazard and cigarette smoke smells very crappy. There's nothing "sexy' about it. Smoke just makes you stink!

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