31 days is a long time. In my case, it was a month and a day: all of June plus 2nd July. I’d done well not smoking. I’d sought help, taken NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) and had overcome most of the usual triggers: alcohol, friends who smoke and cravings. I’d done well…
… and then I went for my big weekend of the year: Beatherder Festival.
If I’m honest, I’d planned on smoking. It’s a big weekend during which I’d have little sleep and tons of beer. I couldn’t not smoke, could I? Since the days leading up to me quitting, I knew, I knew, I’d smoke at Beatherder.
We were due to set off on the Friday lunch – I’d been given my 3rd day off so far for the Royal Wedding (I know, bizarre, but schools have taken them at different times). Then, trouble hit. Jui’s (my best mate) dad was taken into hospital with chest pains and Jess, my dog, collapsed in the morning, so that was a trip to the vet.
Thankfully, Jui’s dad was fine, and was kept in for observation only. Jess, though, was not so good. X-rays revealed a large tumour on her liver and I had to get her to Dewsbury immediately to have a CT scan. This also necessitated getting Sharon home as soon as possible whilst trying to not freak her out. I did OK at that but, in the end, had to drive up to BRI to get her and we all went off.
Anyway, Jui and Steve set off at about 5 and I stayed at home with Sharon on the Friday as Jess was in overnight. We got very, very drunk! What else was there to do?
On Saturday, we went and got Jess: she needed an operation to remove the tumour and is under the knife as I write. We brought home a deeply unhappy, hoarse, hurting and drugged Jessica and I went off to Beatherder after giving tons of thanks to Sharon for being alone with Jess until Sunday night.
I did well all day. I sucked on my inhalator furiously as I drank more and more cider in the hot summer sun. The people around were the usual mix of Beatherders: more friendly than odd, and some were very odd and very, very friendly. When the inhalator gave me hiccoughs, which it does now and again, I sucked on a dummy I’d brought, which has really helped.
By about 11, though, I knew I was going to give in. I worked for this; I deserved this; I was damned-well gonna enjoy this. I bought a pack of Marlboro Black, feverishly ripped open the cellophane, ruthlessly tore out the golden paper and ripped out a fag. I looked at it, held it to my lips and, already, began thinking of the thick, slick flow of warm smoke that would gently caress my throat as it wound its merry way into my sadistically grateful lungs. I lit up. I sucked. I inhaled. Veni, vidi, vici.
Vici? Erm, no. It was bloody awful! I felt immediately sick. My eyes crossed, my stomach churned and, I’m sure, I turned green.
Like an idiot, I persevered. By cigarette number 4 (yes, I am that thick, and I was only smoking half a fag at a time as they were so gross) the nausea had passed. Through the night, I smoked, maybe, another three. I didn’t enjoy any of them. I stank. My mouth tasted foul.
The next morning brought with it a touch of sadness but also a revelation: firstly, I was really annoyed that I’d smoked and, having not done so for over a month, had lit up; secondly, however, I was pleased – I may have smoked but the experience was so horrible, so gross, so unappealing, for the first time I’m truly confident that I can be an ex-smoker.
I may have smoked, but I don’t want to do it again.
Smoking helped me become an ex-smoker.
However, if you see Sharon, and if she asks, I only had 2 😉