"As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule to never smoke when asleep, and never refrain from smoking while awake." ~ Mark Twain (American Author).
No one likes a quitter, yet I have quit doing a lot of stuff over the past 16 months. One of the last items on the "things to figure out prior to going to Africa" list was to give up my love affair with my bestie, cigarettes. Given the very short length of time before my departure date (21 days, holy fuck), I had almost succumb to the fact that this goal would not be reached and started figuring out how many packs of cigarettes I would need to bring with me for my two month trip. Then I thought, well, I guess I could actually try or something instead of just hoping to wake up one morning a non-smoker.
I have always smoked. My older sister has frequently commented that I was likely born with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I quit once for four years - between 2000-2004 - which was a major accomplishment that sucked almost every single day. I did not drink any alcohol for three of those four years, knowing it would completely derail my non-smoking super powers. That sucked even more because I quite enjoy drunkenness. I have smoked with vigor since reigniting my love affair in 2004 and have spent all of my days since basking in the warm glow of cigarette embers. Until now.
Many months ago, my naturopath suggested I try hypnosis and acupuncture to quit smoking, so I put those suggestions on the "when I'm ready" shelf to become dusty and forgotten. Very spontaneously, I recently yanked them off the shelf for inspection and made an appointment at the clinic for hypnosis. Hypnosis is something I have never totally understood despite my best efforts in researching it and talking to a variety of therapists that use it as part of their practice. It's a mystery to me. I have a few friends who have successfully quit smoking using hypnosis and I've listen to them describe their experience with the whole thing and this has not proven to clear up any of my questions. What I've learned since being hypnotized last Monday is, I don't have to understand everything so I should get the fuck over it and just let it be.
Over the past 144 smokeless hours, I have not freaked out or wanted to kill anyone. I have not been cranky, irritable, anxiety ridden or certifiably insane. I have felt strangely at peace with myself and the world. It's not like the hypnosis erased my memory nor did it eliminate all cravings for cigarettes. Rather, it's like it made being smokeless okay. I think to myself, oh yeah, smoking, that's what I'd like to do right now and then I think, hmmmm, I don't do that anymore so I should go do something else instead. I've been on approximately 20 zillion walks since I quit and listening to loud music (and car dancing) has become an integral part of my non-smoking success. I've had one acupuncture session and that made me feel light and calm. Ridiculous, eh?
My worldview tells me that nothing can be this easy but, here I am, not smoking after being hypnotized for 40 minutes. Go fucking figure. I have no idea how long the hypnosis spell will last but, as of right now, I am no longer calculating how many packs of cigarettes I need to bring to Africa. Weird.