Ok, I must confess or all will be lost. I smoke. I know - I can hear you all recoiling back and gasping with horror. Smokers are after all the ultimate example of pariahs in our community. There is something horrible and repellent about them and I speak as a smoker. Non smokers despise smokers, ex smokers despise smokers, even smokers despise smokers. That said, I will defiantly admit that I enjoy smoking. I do - not all the time, but there are certain moments when it is blissful and lovely. Those are good moments. Despite this I do know that I need to stop. It's expensive, bad for you, isolating and pretty unattractive as well (despite all those glamorouse Marlene Dietrich posters suggesting otherwise).
If I could go back to the day I started smoking and NOT smoke I would, in a heartbeat. Sadly, David Tennant and his handy tardis seem to be elsewhere at them moment and even then he can get all persnickety about changing the past. So, I'm trying to give up the hard way.
I actually tried to give up the easy way. On Thursday afternoon I parted with a large chunk of my hard earned cash and went to see a hypnotist. A friend had done just this earlier in the year and had extolled his virtues. She has tried to give up several times over the years and with him she has succeeded and in a fairly relaxed way which didn't involve biting off her families heads and running screaming from the room every ten minutes. I was inspired because I have seen her try and quit before and it wasn't pretty. This was positively elysian in comparison.
The one thing I didn't want was another stress in my life but I do see the need to stop, on so many levels, finance being one of them. Running my own business in a recession whilst buying a house is stressful enough. The extra money that normally goes on cigarettes would make a difference. In addition I reasoned, what better than to start in the new house as a non smoker? What I needed was a calm and stress free way to quit and according to her, and him when I spoke to him, this was it. I made a booking and paid my deposit.
Now, whilst I do think hypnotism can work I have always been dubious about it's ability to work on me. I have a stubborn and recalcitrant mind that likes nothing more than to unpick rules and invert them as quickly as possible. It only takes someone telling me I can't do something for my evil subconscious to instantly start working on a plan to do the exact thing I have been forbidden to do. The garden of Eden wouldn't have lasted a minute if I had been Eve. (Maybe it would actually - that annoying snake telling me I 'had' to eat the apple might have made me determined not to....)
I explained this worry to the hypnotist and he insisted that there would be no problem. Anyone, he explained, can be hypnotised and nobody could make me do something I didn't want to do. I decided to believe him. He spent a lot of time telling me how hypnotism would be like 'waving a magic wand' and at the end of the session not only would I have stopped smoking, but I wouldn't want to smoke. The very idea of it would be repellent and laughable. I would be free. Not only this but I would not need to eat to replace smoking, or be grumpy or stressed. I would be free, healthy, balanced and happy.
This was seductive. I like the idea of being free and I love the idea of not missing smoking. I particuarly like the idea of not ending up eating everything in site rather than smoking. Hurrah, I thought, and lay back and thought of England.
"I will now count back from 20......" You can hear pretty much everything going on in a hypnotism session, though I was very tired, and the chair is very comfortable, and I did doze off for a bit. However, an hour later it was all over. I remember most of it quite clearly. I know that every morning I am supposed to wake and crave a glass of water, and that the colour red would reinforce my desire to not smoke. What else I remember is irrelevant because something went horribly wrong.
I drove home thinking to myself over and over again - "I am now a non smoker." It didn't feel as though this were the case but I thought I perhaps had to get used to the idea. That evening I ate supper twice in order to distract myself from the fact that I wasn't smoking. I went to bed an hour and a half earlier than usual just to avoid the pink elephant that was chain smoking in the corner. I looked forward to waking the next morning as a new, non smoking and relaxed me.
That night, for the first time ever I think, I dreamt about smoking. I actually woke in the middle of the night wanting a cigarette. I have never done this in my life before. Things did not get any better. When I woke the next morning, I didn't have a compulsive urge to drink a glass of water as I was supposed to. I had a compulsive urge to smoke. I have never smoked first thing in the morning. I don't know how people can, I think it's disgusting. Or I did until Friday morning when it became all I could think about.
In fact from the moment I woke until I went to bed that night ALL I could think about was smoking. Things I would never normally associate with smoking became inextricably tangled up with having a cigarette. I don't know how I made it through the day but if you had put fire ants in my pants I would have been more relaxed than I was (or still am for that matter). The weekend did not improve. I ended up going for long walks several times a day, going to bed at odd times, going to visit friends, eating everything in site and gritting my teeth and planning vile and vitriolic letters to the hypnotist. Anything to avoid smoking.
The bloody hypnotist has quite obviously broken me. Somehow during the session he persuaded my brain to connect everything to smoking, rather than to disconnect it. I can't stop thinking about it FOR A MINUTE - I kid you not. There is a permanent monologue going on in the back of my head about how I should be smoking, how I'll never be happy if I don't smoke, how smoking is the answer to world peace etc etc. You get the point. I can't get it to shut up for even a minute. It is the ultimate stuck record and it is giving me a headache.
I now face two difficulties. Firstly I am trying to give up on my own which is making me cranky, fat and cranky. Secondly I have to decide what to do about the charlatan hypnotist. I should get him to fix the problem that he has created, but the prospect is hardly comforting. What on earth might he do this time? I could come out of the room a crack addict, or an obsessive morris dancer, or clucking like a chicken, all the while still longing for a cigarette. That's too hideous to contemplate. Equally so is the prospect of wasting £250.00.....
The price of health
1 day ago