I quite distinctly remember my first cigarette. Or at least the first I smoked with any zeal, as opposed to the curious, but functionally defective puffs on a menthol cigarette stolen from a chum’s mum. I refer instead to a cigarette where I sucked the fumes all the way into my lungs. Just a wisp of smoke, mind you. Enough to produce a little cough. Not so much to elicit an embarrassing bout of virgin smoker choking. And an entirely sufficient dose to get that very pleasant light headedness that I would now refer to as ‘being stoned’. I was on the 282 bus, on a sunny afternoon, with an old buddy called Keith. An old buddy whom I long ago lost touch with. The only common link I have with him now comes from that bus journey. The link being a lustful addiction to the dreaded nicotine.
That first smoke took place some time in 1987, just short of a quarter century ago. About two thirds of my life ago. Just about when Margaret Thatcher was winning her second of three general elections, and Ronnie Reagen still had a year to go in the White House. I was wearing a school uniform. So, a long time ago. I’ve been real dedicated to keep going all this time. But….I’ve been clean of cigarettes for a whole eleven days now. And I quit the nicotine chewing gum substitute last Friday – so 4 full days of nicotine free living. It’s early. But the biggest hurdle has been leaped.
The withdrawal symptoms, as any smoker will testify, are truly horrible. Failure comes so easy, because you can get shot of those horrible, desperate symptoms in just a flash. Pop one of those sumptuous cancer sticks in your mouth, add fire, close eyes, inhale …. and you’re done. In fact, you’re more than done. You’re feeling just great. Top of the world. Deliciously stoned. I’m gradually getting over those withdrawal symptoms though. Each day gets easier. It’s just will power. Sort of.
I’m running again, too. Getting fit and healthy helps dull the cravings. And it means I can play with my favourite toy, my Samsung Galaxy S2. I have downloaded the RunStar app. It uses GPS to record the exact route I take, and tell me exactly how far I’ve run. The accuracy is quite frankly astounding. It has virtually every step perfectly placed and measured. Being able to record your runs like this is so motivational. And geeky. I like geeky. The app also allows me to upload to the Daily Mile site – see my profile here. I have a target. To get fit enough to be able to record a sub 50 minute time at the Somerley 10km event I have registered to run in. Here goes…