Smoking was a great pleasure for me for many years. As an extremely shy person, the act of smoking allowed me to actively engage with others while sharing a common pass-time. In school, it provided a necessary break from the stress of achieving while being able to bond with my classmates. At the office, I had my smoking buddies, and each day around the same time we would meet outside and catch up.
While smoking cigarettes does not necessarily alter your reality like alcohol or drugs, it does change the chemical composition of your brain. Some may argue that it was the joint social activity that decreases social anxiety and fights depression, for me it felt like it was really the chemical agents and deep breath that kept me sane. Or so I thought.
After quitting, I realised that sanity was possible without nicotine. Yes people, it is possible to live a healthy and happy life without your crutch: cigarettes. In fact, once the withdrawal symptoms subsided it was actually much less stressful without nicotine addiction. While I my daily work-family stress did not change, I had one less thing to worry. As a non-smoker, I no longer had to tailor my schedule around my addiction. Wow, freedom. Without the crutch, I was able to focus on the anxiety and depression and deal with it instead of hiding behind something else. Smoking was in fact only adding to the problem. Why didn’t I listen before now? Wow, what freedom. Although, it can be painful at first, to truly feel life, it was and is worth it. Quit smoking and regain control of your life.
And, what you will realise after a while of being smoke-free is that your altered smokers brain chemistry eventually goes back to your true state. It just takes time. So don’t give up, hang in there and persist in your efforts. Smoking is like a wizard putting a veil over your eyes. Persist in being a non-smoker and you will begin to wonder how you ever were so foolish.