And my world did not come crashing down all around me! Ever since I quit smoking, I’ve had the idea that I can never again touch a cigarette, for fear that I’d fall back into my habit. I think this is probably a pretty common fear for ex-smokers.
Another thing that many ex-smokers share is a continued love for the idea of a cigarette. I say idea because it’s easy, once the smokes are actually gone, to remember past experiences with cigarettes fondly. Oh, the positives of quitting definitely outweigh the occasional cravings when we catch a whiff. But we still think about what it’s like to smoke again. At least I do.
But I’ve never even come close to actually lighting up, due to this fear I mentioned above. Until recently, when I began to question this paranoia a little more. I haven’t touched a cigarette in a decade and a half; my addiction was most certainly a past tense. What harm would one measly cigarette make? I basically only wanted to do it out of curiosity, to see what happened. Would everything fall apart and overnight I’d be back to my old, gross, pack-and-a-half/day habit? Would it be an incredibly difficult test of will? Or would it be absolutely disgusting, as if I had never smoked a cigarette in my life?
Well I decided to find out. And I smoked a cigarette. Well, half of one anyway. And the first puff was…nasty. But I knew from past experience that the first puff was never the best, so I persisted. It didn’t get better with more puffs. It was nauseating, it make me choke and my hand smelled like ass for the next couple hours. It definitely shattered my romantic idealization of cigarettes. I felt like I was sucking on the exhaust pipe of a semi truck.
So I made it about half-way and I put it out. At this point, I knew I’d never smoke again. And there is nothing magical about smoking one cigarette that somehow turns you back into a smoker. If anything, it turned me into more of a non-smoker. For years, I described myself as a smoker who just didn’t smoke. I thought of myself as a smoker inside because I could still see myself enjoying the hell out of a cigarette, if I actually smoked one. I just never smoked one. But there is no doubt now, I am a non-smoker.
I never really missed them, not really. My life improved in so many ways that I couldn’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. I just had rose-colored glasses for memories of certain aspects of smoking. Like that first smoke in the morning with coffee.
I haven’t smoked in over 37 years, after having smoked 2-3 packs/day. My health is already precarious now, and if I started smoking again, it would be the end. I’d either die from the cigarettes, or my husband would kill me.
I “quit” four years ago. But I will smoke one on occasion after I’ve had a few drinks. I have a have pack of cigs sitting in my kitchen drawer. Think they’ve been sitting there since the beginning of this year.
Not gonna lie, at this point, I just smoke one because I like the dizzy-ing effects. :o
I quit a long time ago, then starting smoking butts when I went on business trips. My last business trip, about a year ago, I got carried away and managed to get myself hooked again, and I’ve been secretly doing e-cig since then. I’m working on re-quitting the e-cigs, but it’s no easier than it was getting off the butts. Lame.
Ambivalid, your experience sounds like mine with the first cig I smoked maybe 65 years ago. But stupidly, I persisted, got hooked and had a heart attack 51 years ago. Stopped then and have never restarted. I assume I would have the same experience you did, so why try?
I quit cold turkey (not intentionally–it just happened) back in 2002 after smoking a pack to two packs a day for about 10 years, but I will very occasionally still have a cigarette. None this year yet, to my memory, but I had a pack or two last year while going through stressful times (uncle’s funeral), then two total cigarettes the year before, a pack the year before that (while traveling; cigarettes are a good “currency” to have), etc. If someone offers me a cigarette socially, I’d probably join them, but none of my friends really smoke anymore. So, I like them every once in awhile, but I don’t feel the need to go back to the type of daily smoking I used to do. I enjoy the smell of fresh clothes and the taste of food too much. And they are just way too fucking expense here ($10-$12/pack for the brands I smoke.) I wouldn’t encourage anyone to play with fire cough and try to go back to socially smoking, but I don’t think a cigarette or two here and there effects everyone the same way. Some will relapse. Some don’t. Best not to roll the dice, I suppose.
I managed to quit on March 14, 2007 after my last cig @ around 6 pm. Smoked for 40+ years. Took a different route on my drive home. It was a tough grind but managed to do it and have not had one since.
So, 9.5 years and 35 + pounds later, I assure you, if I ever had half a cig I believe I’d be right back where I was. I still to this day LOVE the smell of fresh second hand smoke and I loved every cigarette I ever smoked!
I quit nine years ago this month, and I occasionally have a jones, mostly when stressed. But nothing’s ever pushed me far enough to actually light one up again. I couldn’t imagine going around smelling like smoke again. Or that taste in my mouth, ugh. I do have fond memories of that feeling that smoking gave me-- something to look forward to, that burn in my chest from the first puff, the social aspect, the relaxation after a good meal, etc. But I’d never actually put one in my mouth ever again.
My dad, on the other hand, who quit 22 years ago, recently told me that if he ever gets diagnosed with a life-ending illness is going right to the store and buying a carton. He misses it that much.
I did the same thing- 8 years quit and I picked up a pack during a really stressful time. Smoked maybe 4 and the rest of the pack is in my purse. I don’t have any real desire for them. They will probably be stale before I finish them.
I quit about nine years ago. About four years after quitting I had a major trauma that had someone handing me a cigarette, not knowing I’d quit. I smoked a little bit of it but it was really nasty and I felt bad enough already so I threw it out.
I used to dream about smoking and I’d wake up wishing for one. It’s just not worth it to try one more though.
I quit about 8 years ago, and I still get cravings, but I’m not risking it by lighting up just to test my resolve. Giving up once was hard enough, why would I go through that again? And if you have a pack of smokes in your kitchen and you still light up sometimes, then no, you didn’t “quit”.
Remember that grossness. I think for ex-smokers, it’s even more disgusting for us because we know how to take a long, deep drag. And the odor all over everything… it’s such a joke to think I ever used to duck out for a cig “without anyone knowing.”