At 11pm on August the 10th 2011, I lit my last cigarette and there was nothing celebratory about it. In past quit campaigns, I had always made out that my last cigarette was a big deal, an emotional break from something I was going to miss.
Not this time.
I did however, feel a slight pang of guilt. The night before, I had seen my wife and children leave to spend a week with my mother in law. We had agreed to this, because we both knew I needed to confront the nicotine demon alone.
The reason for my guilt?
They had left with the expectation, this day was to the be first day of my quit campaign, yet I found myself still smoking at 11 pm. I say only slight guilt, simply because I had never declared when in the day I would quit.
As strange as it may sound, I needed one last day alone with the smokes before giving them up. If I hadn’t, the nicotine demon would have relentlessly reminded me, I should have allowed myself at least one last day of relaxation and private contemplation before quitting.
Aside from sitting outside, alone in the dark, I don’t specifically remember the act of smoking my last cigarette. I do however, remember feeling, for the first time in my life, I was genuinely eager to see the end of my addiction. This was despite knowing, the next five days of my cold turkey quit campaign were going to be painful.
You see, I also knew the journey I was about to embark on was a healing one. My addiction was comparable to a broken arm. In time, the pain of withdrawal would end and I would return to a better place. I was about to undergo a campaign to restore my life, repair my brain and regain my freedom. My previous failure had only served to strengthen my resolve.
This time, I was physically, emotionally and intellectually prepared.
To assist me with the cravings, I had at my disposal forty chocolate paddle pops, four packets of chocolate biscuits, two boxes of savory shapes, two packets of salami sticks, several packets of lollies, several bottles of soft drink and some fruit, just in case I wanted something healthy.
That’s a lot of dopamine inducing alternatives to cigarettes.
I also had the entire “Entourage,” television series to entertain me. I didn’t need to be anywhere and I didn’t need to go anywhere. This time round I had all bases covered and it was time to begin my life as an ex smoker.
My last goodbye to a twenty year addiction, was most definitely an uncompassionate one.