Ask Ella — Addicted
I can’t believe how weak I am. I just don’t understand why I just can’t do this, no matter how badly I want to. I am a hard-core smoker and have been for 35 years. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve tried to quit, but I barely make it through one day.
Logically, I know the horrifying data. Our government has made it extremely inconvenient for me to continue this habit, and my kids are angry with me for being so selfish. The icing on the cake? My dear friend, Barb, just died of lung cancer. She smoked for at least as long as I have. I was physically sick and an emotional wreck thinking that “I may be next”. So how do I handle this? I have a cigarette! If this wasn’t the kick in the pants I needed, how am I ever going to deal with this?
Smoking is a complex habit. It’s so much more than a physical addiction. There’s a huge emotional weight attached to smoking. It’s therapy for some, as well as an association with daily routines and a nicotine dependence. A smoking addiction holds on tight to your body and your mind.
The bottom line: only you can make up your mind to fix this. Sure, there may be all kinds of help out there, and your friends and family will jump for joy and support you, but the buck stops with you. You’re the one who must walk away without a cigarette after a meal, or an upsetting phone call, or a coffee. You need to get through this tough part and be prepared to put in the work, and make no mistake: it is work.
On the bright side, help and support is out there. A few statistics from Health Canada: in 2008, 18 per cent of people smoked. In 1999, it was 25 per cent. That’s a lot of people who’ve quit. Another stat: approximately 50 per cent of daily smokers have tried to quit in the past 12 months. That’s huge! It shows the desperate desire to be rid of this dangerous habit and the hold it has, so you’re not alone.
This is your decision. Once you make up your mind to take the plunge, you don’t have to go it alone. Tell people. It will make it more real and harder to backtrack. Get help from your doctor, reading material and online support groups – whatever it takes. You’ll never regret your decision.
Readers may submit their questions to Ella at The CJN., e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. But Ella is not a professional counsellor. She brings to the questions posed by readers her unique brand of earthy wisdom. Her advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice. For serious problems, consult a professional.