Published on March 3, 2014 | by Edwige Dubois0
Freedom from nicotine
I feel slightly nostalgic when I think of me and my dear friend the cigarette. We use to be inseparable. She was my smell, she was part of my identity and she was integrated to both my routine and my social life. It was a long–term relationship and I am still mourning.
The pressure is high while I’m writing this blog piece because it makes it frighteningly official that I quit smoking!
The French stereotype of the elegant women wearing a large hat and sunglasses, caught in a swirl of smoke with the cigarette slightly caressing her lower lip is a very misleading image promoted by movies and adverts.
It’s a pretty ugly thing to smoke, and it’s especially disgraceful when we do this down smile grimace when taking a puff.
After I had just quit, I had this freaky habit of breathing in other people’s smoke. The smell would trigger emotional memories and I would dive into past feelings for a few seconds, looking back at my old smoker self.
I don’t miss nicotine dependence or smelling like an ashtray. I don’t miss the cigarette you smoke in a hurry walking to the tube station or the one you light up and the bus arrives two seconds later (I use to feign lighting a cigarette for the bus to come but it never worked!)
The frustrating feeling that your meal is not complete if you don’t have a cigarette afterwards or that you need to smoke to de-stress is a fallacy.
I think I am detached from smoking now because I have identified what emotions or thoughts would trigger the cigarette call, and I want to release them rather than repressing them.
It’s been very tough but my life is much more fulfilling without smoking and I can’t turn back anymore.
Also, why would I continue buying cigarettes – to the benefit of big tobacco companies – if it doesn’t help me with my anxiety and stress?
I always knew that smoking was bad for me; that it was damaging my lungs and skin as well as increasing my chances of having heart attacks, but I did not have this clear vision on my toxicity.
The e-cigarette helped me to reduce my consumption and to eventually quit, but even if it might be healthier, there is still nicotine and the addiction is what makes us reliable consumers. We also need to be careful not to shift from one addiction to the other.
Instead of compensating for my anxiety with tobacco, I started to explore meditation, which is a much cheaper option. I do believe that if everyone were meditating, consumerism would slowly disappear.
When you meditate you basically do nothing; you observe, you let go the thoughts, and you focus. The teachings I receive from the practice help me to overcome the daily temptation of smoking.
Smoking is only a distraction from being in total acceptance with oneself.