Sunday, June 30, 2013

How I Quit Smoking

I quit smoking for good back in 1999 after smoking for about a decade.  This is a story I tell smokers when I am hanging outside with them while they finish up a cigarette.

I had developed some sort of lung infection, bronchitis or somesuch, but I kept on smoking even though I was sick. Smoking in that condition was unpleasant as I was deeply congested. I soon associated smoking with retching.

Eventually I became so ill that I was bedridden.  To relieve my symptoms, I took the over-the-counter drug Nyquil or the generic equivalent.  The primary effect of this drug is to put you to sleep.  Whenever I awoke, I would take some more Nyquil.  I slept for three days straight.

When I recovered, I noted that I had not had a cigarette the whole time I was in bed.  I had made it through the worst of the nicotine addiction withdrawal period by simply sleeping through it.  I realized that I had an opportunity there so I never smoked again.  After about two years, the craving stopped completely.

In summary, here is a tongue-in-cheek retrospective three-step plan for how to quit smoking:
  1. Get a lung infection
  2. Attempt to smoke while sick to develop an association of nausea with cigarettes
  3. Drug yourself so that you sleep through the worst of the withdrawal period
By inadvertently removing my ability to choose to smoke, I freed myself from an addiction.


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