Until a few weeks ago I was pretty proud that I'd not smoked for 3 years. Until I fell for the old trap. It sounds so simple, but if you are an ex-smoker don't think you can "just have the one" cigarette.
I had fallen for this in 2006 after stopping for 11 months, and it has happened again.
I am clearly a dick.
So it was a lovely spring day in March and Donald & I were sitting in the pub beer garden. Amusing stories were being told, laughter abounded. It was a happy day. Then I said... "Donald, could I borrow one of your fags?"
Borrow? Yes that's what I said.
I don't know why I fancied one, but I did and that's that.
I smoked the cigarette. I felt like I had cheated on myself, but it wasn't going to lead me back to smoking again was it? I didn't suddenly get the shakes and crave an entire packet of Golden Virgina in one sitting. So that was alright.
A few days later I "borrowed" another one. I might have had two. I was beginning to feel guilty asking Donald for one of his precious fags. So I spotted Eamonn. He had even better ciggies - roll ups - the kind I liked.
"Eamonn, can I borrow a rollie?"
"But you don't smoke."
"I know, but I just fancy a rollie."
"Well I'm not going to give you one but if I leave the packet on the bar when I go to the loo then I'll never know if you take one or not."
I rolled up one. In fact I rolled up two and hid one in my shirt pocket to avoid the embarrassment of asking him again. Eamonn came back, and we had a lovely "social" roll up together. He went back inside and I played on my phone for a bit to give me an excuse to stay outside and smoke another one. Round the corner so he couldn't see.
After a few more days of this furtiveness and sponging I made the ultimate sacrifice. I went to the shop to buy my own. I had picked up a bottle of water and put it on the counter.
"And a small packet of Golden Virginia, some small green Rizlas and a cheap lighter please."
He put them on the counter and I changed my mind.
"Actually, sorry, I'll just have the water."
I left the shop, only to return 30 seconds later and re-purchase the fags. Pathetic. I was now an ex-ex-smoker. Or alternatively, a smoker, doomed to waste time lurking outside tube stations and in bus shelters and hanging out of windows.
I then had the embarrassment of "coming out" to my friends. In fact my flatmate Ben asked why I was smoking again? I didn't have an answer and to avoid more embarrassment I just brushed the question aside as I didn't have an answer.
I will stop smoking again. I'm just not sure when. Hopefully soon, but I don't have the confidence yet that I'll be able to do it. I'll get back on my "Easy Way To Stop Smoking" book by Allen Carr (no not that one) and I can't recommend it highly enough. If you do smoke then you really must read it. It certainly beats nicotine patches and gum and the like. You may say that it can't be that good as I'm back on them again. But that's becasue I didn't follow all the rules. One of which is "Never have even one cigarette".
So. to end all this, yes I know I'm a dick. No, I don't know why I started smoking again. No, I don't know when I'll stop. Yes I will stop and want to stop.
Wish me luck!
The Allen Carr website