The title of today’s post is an attempt to fool you all into believing that this is another post where I have a go at myself, whereas in fact it’s one of the ones where I brag myself silly.
Unfortunately it’s another milestone post, but for once I make no apology for this, because it’s a milestone I’m very, very proud of.
On July 5th 2000 I gave up cigarettes.
I’d done it before. In 1978 I gave them up, and was off them for a year. In 1983 I got hypnotised, and stayed off them for three and a half years. Each time, though, I went back. I’d have just one some day at a party or something, then another about six weeks later, then one just four weeks later, and gradually I’d be back to my normal quota.
Which was about 40 a day. I didn’t realise how bad I was until I gave them up on that wonderful day ten years ago, because every time I told someone I was off them they would stare at me and say “You‘re off cigarettes?”. Apparently I was a legend among smokers, an Olympian superman, a role-model whose smoking achievements made them gasp (and then cough wildly and lung-churningly).
I did it by reading “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking” and found that, to my surprise, it was an easy way to stop smoking. He tells you to continue smoking while you’rer reading the book, and late on July 4th 2000 I read the last page, stubbed out the last fag, and went overnight from 40 to zero, rather like several cars that I’ve owned.
And of course it would have been useless if I hadn’t been really ready to give them up, and of course it wasn’t all beer and skittles (though it was a lot more beer, I found myself drinking much quicker when I didn’ t keep stopping to smoke), and of course I dreamt a lot that I was back on them (which was one of the reasons I’d gone back on them in the 80s, but this time when I dreamt I was back on them, which was always at a football match for some reason, I’d burst awake in horror shouting “no, wait, that doesn’t count”), and of course I realise that this sentence has gone on nearly as long as I’ve been off cigarettes, so I’m going to stop it now.
In other words, I can’t pretend to smokers that giving them up is dead simple (Mrs Tin reckons that my first, biggest, bout of depression the following February was a last desperate attempt by my mind to get me back on them, which is possible, the addiction is much more mental than physical). What I can say, though, is that it’s easier that you’re afraid it’s going to be.
Anyway, there you go. Ten years today, and I’ve just realised that I’ve been smiling most of the time I’ve been typing this.
Three cheers for Tinman, I deserve it.