In the past, when presented with a dilemma, the first thing I would do is light a smoke.
Something great happened around the fifth week of my quit smoking campaign. I had at some point, stopped continuously thinking about smoking and the fact I was no longer a smoker.
For the first time in twenty odd years, I had experienced large gaps of time without a single thought or craving for cigarettes. I had actually started to experience periods of time where being a non smoker, could actually be a comfortable way to live.
I remember thinking, my quit smoking campaign was pretty well, in the bag.
Reality checks have a tendency to hit you like a brick. The fact is, a quit of five weeks is still a very young quit and whilst I had felt better than ever, there was still a lot of healing to be had, and in keeping with tradition, that healing had to be hard.
One of my more difficult challenges had come a week later when my two year old son, Jackson, unexpectedly fell ill with pneumonia. I am sure most, if not all parents, would understand why such an event could present itself as a major threat to a quit smoking campaign.
In the past, when presented with a dilemma, the first thing I would do is light a smoke. Simply because, it would help me think my way through to a solution. Today of course, I am all the more wiser and know, smoking only ever served to keep my nicotine cravings from getting in the way. Thankfully, I had been armed with that knowledge prior to starting my quit campaign and could confidently resist the urge to smoke.
Still, it was unpleasant and the first of many craves headed my way.
That night I faced a lot of triggers, some worse then others. Each trigger would present a wall of craves lasting anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, and at times, they nearly felt as bad as the craves I experienced during the first few days of my quit.
I craved on seeing the smokers outside the emergency room.
I craved during the long frustrating wait to see a doctor.
I craved after seeing the doctor and being told to wait some more.
I craved after seeing my son finally admitted into a temporary bed.
I craved after seeing my son scream in pain while the doctor made his third attempt to insert a cannula.
I craved during my drive home to get some clothes for myself and my wife.
I craved after being told on my return that we would have to transfer to a hospital across town.
I craved while waiting for hours to be admitted into the second hospital.
I craved upon seeing my son screaming again, as they re did the cannula due to the first one having dried out while waiting.
For hours, I craved and craved and craved and craved and craved and craved.
Needless to say, that night I had consumed a lot of chocolate, gum and chupa chups.
Thankfully, by mid morning the relentless barrage of cravings had ended and I returned to a state of normality. I still had cravings of course, only they were at a level more familiar to a sixth week quitter.
Four days later, we left the hospital with my son in good health and as far as my quit was concerned, I had left with the incredible feeling of being better then ever.