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How Did I Quit Smoking? How Does That Relate to Quitting Booze?

by | Stop Drinking Alcohol | 3 comments

I think for me, quitting smoking was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done

Today I wanted to talk just a little bit off topic here.

I got a comment on YouTube.

This guy, I can’t pronounce your name, I think it’s Slovakian.

I’m not even going to try and pronounce it, I think I’m going to do it a disservice.

The guy says ” I hear you talking about quitting smoking in a few of your videos.  Can you take the time and make a video about you quit smoking?”

So, this is my video.

I started smoking when; I had my first cigarette when I was seven or eight years of age.

I think we stole a couple of my mothers’ cigarettes, myself and a mate, and we went around the back of the houses where we used to live in Halifax, in Yorkshire.

Snuck around to some waste ground and I can still see myself there and taste that first taste of the smoke going into my mouth.

I could smell the tobacco as it smelled then and that was for me it was like a big adventure.

It was part of the devilment of being a young kid and stuff.

I don’t think I ever, it wasn’t until I was in Ireland, when I was thirteen, maybe fourteen that I started to smoke properly.

I can remember exactly where I was as well when I first inhaled cigarette smoke for the first time.

It just made me cough to the amusement of everyone else that was around me.

But from them on I was really addicted to smoking.

We used to buy cigarettes in the local shop.

The Old Lady used to sell us these cigarettes.

“Separate cigarettes” they used to call them in Ireland.

Individual cigarettes for whatever they were at the time.

Penny or tuppence or whatever they were.

But obviously if she hadn’t had done that, we would have found it a lot harder to get our hands on cigarettes.

I basically smoked the same thing for maybe thirty years.

I smoked smoking for good, a year before I quit, no two years before I quit drinking

I was off the smoking for a couple of years before I quit.

I had quit, the year I quit drinking – for a year.

This is after I got stopped for drinking and driving.

I quit smoking as well.

There were no cigarettes, no alcohol and as soon as I started drinking again I sort of kid myself “yep, I know I can handle this now so I’ll drink when I smoke and I’ll smoke when I drink.”

Those two just fed off each other.

You tend to drink more because you want to smoke.

You smoke because you’re drinking.

So it didn’t take me long, it took me a year to quit then.

But all throughout my smoking life, I didn’t have the same relationship with cigarettes as I have with alcohol.

I never thought smoking was doing me much harm and smoking was just a part of my culture.

And I presumed that that’s the way my Father used to think about smoking. He used to smoke sixty a day, back in the day, when he did smoke.

And I presume that he thought, as the world did, you can look at the old advertisements and see, people going down to their Doctors.

When I was a kid I can remember my Doctor smoking, my family Doctor smoking in the Consultation Room with us, you know the ashtray beside him on the desk.

But the old advertisements for cigarette smoking, going down through the generations and everything was normal.

The same thing as what we think alcohol is now.

But for me growing up, it was always something that I didn’t want to do.

My Dad was always at me; my Mum was at me to stop smoking.

That it wasn’t going to do me any good.

You could see it around you that it was a big decline.

In the world now actually, smoking is on the increase

World-wide; because cigarette companies, although they – it’s on the decrease in the West, it’s on the increase in poorer countries – because they don’t have the same legal protection that we do.

They don’t have laws which are saying you can’t advertise here, you can’t advertise there.

I mean we’ve got laws now where you can’t advertise anyway near a school.

In some poorer countries, I presume that you can advertise right outside the school.

I watched a program a few months ago, about smoking, I think it was Singapore or Thailand, one of these poorer countries.

And there were children as young as six/seven who were addicted to smoking cigarettes.

And no laws there to protect them.

They could buy cigarettes wherever, whenever they wanted.

But getting back to my own cigarette problem

I tried to quit drinking, it must have been; I tried to quit smoking – so used to talking about drinking – it’s difficult to shift my mind – I tried to quit smoking a number of times so you know, at least a hundred times.

Sometimes for a day, sometimes for a couple of days, a week, I think before I stopped for ten months, that was the longest I’d ever done.

And now it’s a long time now, it’s probably seven years or something like that.  I think six or seven years.

Even though I liked the smell of the stuff, I don’t really, there’s no chance that I would ever smoke again the same thing as alcohol.

I tried to use patches.  I stuck a patch on myself and I felt sick with it, I couldn’t do that.

I took some pills at one stage that I got from the Doctor which worked.

And apparently, these were used for the first time in the Gulf War to help returning soldiers overcome their depression.

I don’t know if it worked with the depression but one of the side effects with this particular tablet was that it stopped them from smoking. So obviously they gave it out for that.

I hate taking stuff like that and I’ve never taken stuff like that, but obviously at this stage, with all the attempts that I’d tried I was willing to try anything, even putting some stupid pill in that nobody knows the side effects of these things, short term or long term.

Eventually when I stopped it was pure, just, cold turkey

Exactly the way as I stopped drinking.

It was a shift in mindset.

My son was smoking and I think that was probably one of the biggest reasons which made me want to quit long-term.

It goes back to the old saying from Victor Frankl.

This guy was a psychiatrist who was locked up in the Nazi concentration camps and he said “that if you give a man enough of a reason why; he will find any how.”

So if you give a man enough reason, give a person enough of a reason to do something then they’ll find any way of doing it, that they will do it, it’s not a question of will-power, it’s not a question of I can’t do it today or I can’t do it tomorrow or there these pressures or excuses.

Once a person has got the motivation to do it. That’s it. You’ll do it regardless of what your mind is telling you in the opposite way.

It’s exactly the same way with alcohol. You’ve got to find that motivation. If your motivation to drink, your motivation to smoke, is stronger than your motivation to quit, then you know, who’s going to win.

No matter what you say to yourself.

No matter the short term motivation that you get from geeing yourself up or anything like that.

If you don’t have the long-term motivation to do this, then you’re not going to do it, because you’ll find excuses for going back to what you really want to do.

So if you’re having trouble, you’re struggling with this, whatever it is in life that you are trying to stop doing.  Look for the motivation first, look for the reason why you’re doing it.

Sometimes it’s inside yourself.  More often than not it’s something outside of yourself that you are trying to achieve. For me, it was my Son.

A lot of people do this because of their children.

A lot of people can’t do it because they’ve got no children, but you have to find something else.

You’ve got to find that motivation, it can be your health, it can be your career, it can be your spiritual life, there are many different areas that are going to motivate some people that won’t motivate other people.

So you’ve got to find yours. Try and finds yours.

As I say, you know, quitting smoking was much more difficult for me down through the years

Whether that’s now,I think about it in those terms, because I tried to quit smoking so many times or -that’s what I think it was anyway.

Quitting smoking was much more difficult for me to achieve.

And I think that’s partially because I tried to quit smoking so many times and I perceive it as being a lot more difficult.

Because at the end of the day, I think in the first few days, I felt more cravings.

I felt more of a physical loss, this physical interior craving that I felt much more that quitting cigarettes than I did booze.

I can’t say that; the booze for me was a lot more psychological, it was a lot more about the outside world and what I was missing by not drinking.

So that’s it. That’s my journey with quitting smoking.

I’m off them six years.

I can walk into a room now and I still like the smell of cigarette smoke when it’s coming off the cigarette.

When its comes off a person – I can’t stand it.

When it comes off an ashtray – no.

Cigarette smoke, even the smell of tobacco – I still like that.

But there’s not a hope in hells chance I’m not going to put that into my body anymore.

I like the smell of a rose but I’m not going to eat the fecking thing.

That’s it for now.

If you have any comments or questions leave them down below. Give us a thumbs up, share.

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“Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how’

Until next time…
Stay safe
Keep the alcohol out of your mouth
Onwards and Upwards!

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  1. Jon Parry

    Hi Kevin

    Enjoyed the video I’ve often wondered about your smoking as well so I’m happy you covered that, I find alcohol and smoking also heavily linked in my life and I find it very easy to quit smoking when alcohol is out of the equation.

    I wonder if you might consider doing a video about alcohol and the immune system? This is one of my big motivations for quitting both alcohol and smoking I get sick way too often from bugs (colds, flu, stomach upsets) especially for an otherwise healthy man of 35. Iv always in my adult life been sick more often that others but since my son (now 4) went to nursery it’s ramped up to a new level often I don’t get through a month without feeling shite for at least a week and iv had alot of time off work.

    Often I would have some “medicinal” cider, beer or wine to get me through the illness but deep down I know it could only be making it worse.

    Anyway I’m 6 weeks af and im on my second cold of the quit and im hoping things are going to improve, what is your experience of catching bugs etc before and after you quit the poisen.

    Onwards and upwards


    • Kevin O'Hara

      It’s a good topic for a video. It’s on the list 🙂 Congrats on your 6 weeks free. Kevin

  2. George

    This is really inspiring. I have been trying to quit smoking but I always failed. I hope this time around, I will be able to get thru it successfully.


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