One of my biggest fears about quitting, had been that as a non smoker, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a beer or social occasion. After all, for the best part of two decades, any social event I attended involved binge drinking and smoking at least two to three packets of cigarettes.
One of the critical lessons learnt during my last quit smoking attempt, was that to have any real chance of success, I had to take control over my own healing process. I had to pick my battles and choose when to tackle my triggers. So, for the first few weeks of my quit campaign I avoided all social occasions involving alcohol and interaction with smokers. I knew, to break down the social trigger I would require a great deal of strength, will and concentration.
As such, it took two whole months for me to feel I was ready to attended my first real social shenanigan. My sisters thirtieth birthday party.
The process of breaking down triggers is never easy. As soon as I opened my first beer, the cravings began and for at least the first two hours, I could not stop thinking or talking about my quit smoking campaign.
Thankfully, none who attended the party smoked, at least within eye sight. This fact not only allowed such a critical step to become a little easier, it also allowed me to participate in and discover a whole new social experience. I had no need to excuse myself from conversations with non smokers, as I had no need to skulk away for a quick cigarette.
As the night wore on, the obsessive thinking gradually broke down. Conversations became more engaging and more socially relevant as the cravings returned to a less elevated state. I discovered that I could now begin to build and explore new relationships with a more active and engaging group of people.
Since that night, I have had several social outings with both smokers and non smokers. I have found that since quitting, I no longer binge drink and simply prefer the company of non smokers.
I love the fact, I no longer have to stand outside and have conversations between coughs, while trying to socialize and feed an addiction at the same time. I also appreciate the fact, beer tastes better and if I do decide to drink it, I can spend my money on the quality stuff, rather then the cheap swill I used to drink as a smoker.
For all my fears prior to quitting, it turns out, I can now have a much more rewarding social experience as a non smoker, than I ever could as a smoker.