Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Only Time I Was a Quitter

When people at work ask me if I smoke, I would smile and politely shake my head to say "no". Then they would say something along the lines of: "This job is so stressful, you'd be smoking in no time." To which I would reply: "I quit."

It was around this time in 2013 when I finally made the decision of having that one last stick of cigarette. It was probably the best decision I ever made. I started way back in college due to the influence of my dorm-mates who were at least three years older than me. I was a freshman back then and had just started enjoying the new-found freedom that college gave me. I graduated fresh from a conservative and strict all-girls Catholic high school. I was the typical good girl and a model student. I was always in the honor roll. I never went out with my classmates after school and I would always just go straight home in my school bus. I never cut classes. I never drank alcohol with my classmates. My only experience in drinking was the occasional sip of red wine at the family dinner table whenever we had celebrations. Suddenly in college, I was living two hours away from home with no parental supervision whatsoever and living with three older students who seemed really cool. I had my first stick of cigarette with them (DJ Mix in orange flavor) and I had my first taste of real drinking with them (gin mixed with pineapple juice). And the rest, as they say, is history.

Though it was because of their influence, I never blamed them. Not even once. I had a choice. I always had a choice. 

When I left college and started working, I got exposed to a work environment where people smoke during breaks. It was either to relieve some of that stress induced by the demands of our job or they just did it out of habit. Whatever it was, people smoke a lot. I was one of them. I would smoke a minimum of three sticks per day. 

Then something happened in 2012 which drove me into depression. Bad as it may sound, but I was actually thankful for that incident. It was that depression that let me into finding another outlet: running. I started running because it felt good. I would run until my legs hurt. I would run until the physical pain drowned out the emotional pain that I was feeling. I would run until I feel numb. I used to run everyday, then I got injured. I consulted a doctor and was advised not to run for a while. 

A few months after that, I eased back into running. The depression was gone, yet the love for running was not. It was still there. Eventually, my love for running grew that I decided to foster it by taking care of myself better. That decision included quitting smoking. For some reason, it was very easy for me to quit.  I had no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. I guess it was just a matter of setting your mind into it. I never looked back.

I was not born a quitter. I never will be, except for this one particular instance in my life. When people ask me how I did it, the answer was simple. You just have to will yourself to do it, and the rest will follow.

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