Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My Confession


Back in October, I started to write a daily diary of my new fitness regime and broadcast to all (four) of you that I had stopped smoking and was back in the gym and also out road running! I then promised to keep you updated as the days went on...

If anyone was following the blog at that stage (and this is where I begin to hope that perhaps there were actually only four readers, or less), well, I fell off the 'non smoking wagon; and indeed the 'exercise wagon' as well. I fell off the 'non smoking wagon' the day after my last blog post on Day 6 of my fitness regime. I did then run on Day 7 & Day 8, but then stopped.

As you can imagine, I felt just a tad embarrassed. I had made the bold, or some would probably say, stupid announcement on the World Wide Web that I had stopped smoking and started running and getting fit again and was setting myself up for a fall - which is precisely what happened.

Extremely frustrating. Having done six days without a cigarette I had, according to the 'Non Smoking Timelines' that are put out by the NHS, Quit and others, broken the back of the physical addiction by getting that far. So why did I start again? Why, considering how good I was feeling physically and psychologically would I ever have dreamed of starting again? The answer is 'addiction'. Note that I said that having done six days smoke free, I should have broken the back of the 'physical' addiction. However, there are two sides to any substance addiction - physical and mental. After six days, the physical addiction, if not broken, was certainly getting there. However the mental side of any addiction is the part that is' cunning, baffling and powerful..'

I can't actually now remember what was the precise excuse I gave for lighting up again on Day 7. I have a feeling that it might have been watching my beloved football team, Manchester City live on TV. Now any City supporter would tell you that watching our team is enough to drive anyone to nicotine, drink or whatever... but that is no excuse. What I suspect really happened was that the little monster sitting on my shoulder said something along the lines of;

"You're doing really well. You always enjoy a cigarette whilst watching football. One cigarette won't matter - just one. Then you can have a run tomorrow and it will all be forgotten."

However, of course it wasn't one cigarette. Having got nicotine back into my body with that first one, I wanted more and lit another soon afterwards. From then on, I was hooked again and whilst I kept up the running for two more days, my heart had gone out of it. I knew that smoking would win.

I am perhaps giving the impression that I am a hugely heavy smoker. I am not. I maybe smoke 10 roll ups a day. Often it is less, occasionally more, but then I might on some days go  until 4pm before I have my first cigarette of the day. However, it does not sit well with me. I only started smoking in 1998, when I was 39 - yes, really! I was trying to give up alcohol at the time and I picked up one of my wife's menthol cigarettes just to 'have something' and that was it. I was a smoker from then on.

I have not had an alcoholic drink for some years now, but the smoking has stayed. I am conscious that at the back of my mind, I know that for me, it is more important that I do not start drinking again. That is just a fact of life for me and I am now comfortable in my sobriety. However, it remains that I hate the fact that I smoke.

Anyway, I haven't had a cigarette since Saturday evening and I have done two good gym sessions, yesterday and today and yes, I do feel better already. This time though, that's it. I am NOT going to keep a diary and set myself up for a fall again. I am just going to enjoy the rest of my day, hopefully smoke free. When tomorrow comes, I will set out to do the same again, but that is for tomorrow.

Sometimes, this life stuff is complicated. Or perhaps life is simple and I am complicated!

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