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An honest confessionBack to Quit Smoking Index

On a hot summers evening,  I was standing on the busy Park Street crossing, with one of my old buddies. Surgeon by profession, he had been a smoker since the days we attended Medical School together. As we waited for the pedestrian light to go green, he lit up for the fourth time in less than 3 quarters of an hour we had been together. The red light changed and Mr. Steam Engine and I crossed over. Once on the Planetarium footpath I couldn't help remarking "In our Medical College days you used to smoke maybe half a pack a day, but now you have become a non stop chimney." He smiled and curtly cut back, "You Psychiatrists cant even dream about the amount of stress we Surgeons are under."

Both of us being doctors knew very well that Nicotine in the inhaled smoke stimulated Adrenaline secretion.- the fight or flight hormone. Prolonged exposure to Adrenaline, as all smokers are, compounds all the effects of stress and forms a vicious cycle whereby more stress leads to more craving and intake of cigarettes, leading to more adrenaline, leading to more symptoms of stress and more cigarettes again. I was just going to ask him to go back to his Physiology textbook and restudy the Physiologic effects of Nicotine, but before I could do that my chimney pal started of with a rapid fire round.............I know what you are going to say...... MI  .....CVA......Bronchogenic CA......I don't give a rats arse for all this common Medical Bull..... All of us are going to die one day anyway.........One of these speeding cars could have made me history.....

All that this vocal violence invoked from me was the simple reply "Ya, you could have become a hit and run case but you didn't because you stopped for the pedestrian green light. Instead of arguing for the sake of arguing why cant you be man enough and accept that your mind has become a slave to your bodily instincts."

Before I could properly finish he started of again Rapid fire round no.2 ......Who isn't a slave....... thirst....... hunger  ..... sleep ....... sex........U, me, he, she are all slaves........Blah, blah, blah.....

I was looking forward to a relaxing evening at the Fine Arts Academy  where "Galileo" was playing and I didn't want to spoil it over an argument with an obstinate smoking surgeon. So as we settled into our seats I mumbled "Forget it, my mistake, I should never have started this." As we sat mesmerized watching Galileo we forgot all about our argument and we didn't talk further about anything even remotely related to tobacco.

Early next morning my sleep was short circuited by the telephone. This couldn't be the ward matron cause I wasn't on call, then what could it possibly be? Well here was my buddy on the phone complaining that I had stolen his nights sleep by talking crap about the mind being a slave to the body. Still in a trance I couldn't even recall what he was talking about, so I told him to shut up and go to sleep and again hit the pillow.

At breakfast the door bell rings and who do we have. You guessed it, the surgeon of course. With our second cup of coffee finished I was still waiting for him to bring up what was on his mind. As he got ready to light up he mumbled something about me being right. Just to savor the moment a bit I begged pardon, this time he yelled at me "Alright, alright you were right, I have become a slave to this 3 inch white oncostick." Then he added softly "But did you notice that for three whole hours at a stretch while watching Galileo I didn't have a single puff."

Honestly I didn't cause I was too busy doing what I should have been doing. Watching the play that is. But I said "Of course I did", cause I knew that my buddy had already overcome the most important barrier while quitting smoking and I did not want to dishearten him.....

Overcoming the barrier 

To acknowledge that one is living a life on the terms dictated by tobacco smoke. 

To acknowledge that ones freedom has been sacrificed on the alter of a habit.

You will be astonished to know that 60% of smokers genuinely want to give up, but they cant.

Cause our masculine egos (females inclusive) prevents us from accepting the fact that we have become slaves to a habit that we ourselves had started. We love believing that we can quit the habit any time we want to, but we are only fooling ourselves and sinking further into quicksand. Before solving a problem we have to acknowledge that the problem exists and if we don't do that well you cant win battles with shadows. But if you are brave enough to accept that cigarettes are impinging on your freedom to be whatever you could be then the journey form base camp to the first summit is already done.

We are all born free. Freedom is as basic to our psychological integrity as food and water are to our physical being. Most smokers know every reason that exists in the book to quit, but they don't cause they manage to satisfy the basic instinct of freedom by logics and rational frames which are flawed at their very root like .....all of us have to die (But all of us don't commit suicide).....everybody is a slave to hunger and thirst (Unlike tobacco smoke, food and water aid us to survive, how can smokers be blind to mix up survival instincts with suicidal ones).....the argument can go on. 

My chimney friend in a matter of 2 months was able to overthrow what he once believed to be the insurmountable ruler of his senses and instincts. He could not tolerate the fact that his freedom was being impinged upon so he revolted and successfully did what most smokers hope to do one day.

All you have to do is accept the fact that the smoke you inhale is impinging on your freedom to function to your fullest potential. Once you do that half the battle has been won the other half we will win together by religiously following the fortnightly articles that will appear in this space.

Article Index

End of the Poisoned Path

Classifying the Dead End

A Puff full of Poison

A friend in need is a friend indeed

To be or Not To Be

You Can Make The Difference

It Pays To Know In Advance

The Final Countdown

Stamp it Out

Those Who Were Born Free Can Break Freeeee...