A novelist writes about the mind, body and soul.

Archive for the category “Giving up smoking”

One Week and Counting.

So it’s been just over a week now, that I have suddenly become a non-smoker. It’s quite an achievement and I still struggle at that six o clock moment.  I joined the NHS non smoking campaign and am really enjoying the text support I’m getting. I signed up for ‘light’ support and receive about two or three texts a day. I can’t think how many texts people receive if they want regular support, I find 3 is enough. If I crave a cigarette, I can text CRAVE, and suddenly a text will pop up in my inbox telling me to do one of the chores on my list to keep myself occupied or some other words of encouragement. There are numerous texts telling me how much I have saved by not smoking and congratulating me for my efforts. As I only smoked one or two a day, I don’t think I have made substantial savings yet, but still, it’s good to know that I am not breathing in carbon monoxide. It’s really quite great to feel supported. Yesterday a text arrived saying: Each smokefree day is an achievement so congratulate yourself every night. Each day will show how strong you are   and that’s something to be proud of. Today I got one telling me how to download a ten minute mediation if I feel stressed.

So that’s getting sorted I hope. I haven’t had to face the real test though – the one where I will have to go out to a party or something and there are PEOPLE SMOKING AND DRINKING and I just wander up to their huddled group and ask someone if I can have one. That was my downfall last time. I have decided to arm myself with chewing gum and pop one in my mouth if the urge takes over. I did resist one at my daughter’s birthday when my two girlfriends went outside to have a quick fag. I missed the camaderie, of giggling off outside to huff and puff and gossip, but was glad that I resisted.

But now I have to sort out the persistent headaches I get two weeks after the end of a menstrual cycle. I have one now, and it’s completely debilitating. I would appreciate any tips.



Smoking is evil and vile and cigarettes stink. They also kill you. I know this, we all know this, and yet some maverick, rebellious characters carry on doing it. You see huddles of them crowded outside parties, or office blocks. Sometimes they look as though they are in a secret, conspiratorial club and they are laughing. In winter they shiver and stamp their feet, which doesn’t look so much fun.

I am a smoker, who is on the brink of giving up forever.  The first time I stopped smoking, about two years ago, I was hypnotised by a woman, who gave me a CD to play afterwards.  I went to two hypnosis sessions and I listened to the tape, and  using a lot of will power, I managed to give up. Instead I ate all the children’s sweets.  After a few months, I noticed my husband had given up in sympathy, but I was slipping. I would have someone else’s cigarette at a party, but my husband wouldn’t budge. He was now a non-smoker and he hadn’t even been hypnotised

I only have one cigarette a day and I usually wait until the children go to bed. They point out that people die, they wave their hands around and grimace if they catch me out. “You’ve been smoking,” my daughter says when she smells smoke on me.  My husband tells me to go and smoke outside. Everyone hates it and me for doing it. Just this morning, I threw a pack of ten in the rubbish. Yesterday I forgot to go to my giving-up smoking appointment at the chemist. For three days before that I listened to my Georgia Foster hypnosis tape and I was fine for a few nights. My husband came back from tennis one evening and found me listening to the words, “no thank you, I am not a smoker, no thank you I am not a smoker,” being said over and over again on the hypnosis tape, which is what I am meant to say when someone offers me one.  He got the giggles and then I did and the whole thing ground to a halt.

I am going to listen to the tape again, and again, and again. I have to actually admit that I am not a smoker, because at the moment, I feel that I am hardly a smoker which is no good at all. Anyone have any tips?

A Different Kind of Facial – Environ Active Vitamin Treatment

“What have you done?” My friend Geraldine asked. Have you given up smoking? Eating green vegetables and miso soup? Getting more sleep? Whatever it is you look really good..younger.” We were sitting at Kensington PLace, last night, sharing oysters and King Size prawns, and catching up on three months worth of news. My giving up smoking has been at best pathetic, (I was meant to give up for Lent) but have so far only managed 3 or 4 days without any cigarettes -although as Geraldine says, one cigarette a day is “negligable,” Good friend. Anyway to get back to the point I recently had an interesting Environ Facial and for about a week now, have been using some Environ Products,  – perhaps this is why I look well. Well according to my friend anyway.

You need time to commit to this facial, I’ve only had one, (Which lasted two hours including initial consultation) but you are meant to do a course of six or so. My therapist Faye, at the Skin 3 Clinic,  in Swiss Cottage, talked to me for at least half an hour prior to the facial, about my concerns. I mentioned visible pores, and didn’t bother to add ageing skin generally,  that goes without saying.  She analysed my skin  and concluded that  the Active Vitamin Facial would be best for me as it’s packed with nourishing, anti-ageing ingredients including Vitamins A and C, lactic Acid  and growth factors, which are driven deep into the lower layers of the skin using soundwaves and electronic pulses. Great for me as it’s supposed to address sun damage, dryness, uneven skin tone and scarring and stimulate collagen and improve elasticity.

The consultation with Faye included a skin analysis which was taken from a photograph of my face. The different images scanned on the computer showed where my scary looking sun damage, brown pigmentation, blemishes, capillary damage, wrinkles, scars and imperfections and congested pores are clustered. Terrifying stuff. The machine also showed me what my face would look like in 5 years time, if I don’t keep up with the treatments. Also scary!

This is not a relaxing pampering facial, but you really do feel that your skin is benefitting from proper scientific research and it was obvious that Faye really believes in and is excited about the products. We shall see what happens, if I ever go back to have my skin analysed again, perhaps those blemishes and congested pores will have miraculously vanished!

Day 6 of giving up smoking for Lent

Hurray, I’ve managed 2 nights now without my usual one or two cigarettes.

Sunday evening, without a packet was quite easy, as I was so tired, I could barely eat, let alone smoke. Last night, was slightly harder.  I drove to the Tabernacle in Notting hill, to the 5 X 15 event, which included Alain De Botton discussing why atheists can benefit by ‘stealing’ certain principles of religion even if they don’t believe in God, which he takes as a given. According to him there is no God.

I  would usually smoke my one cigarette of the evening, while driving in the car, a wonderful moment of escape from the kids, escape from routine, but managed to resist. I did fleetingly think of stopping to buy a packet, (the familiar pull of ritual) but remembered a hypnotherapist, once saying to breath in and out deeply, when the urge grips. Went to bed and definitely slept deeper than usual. Feel so good that I’ve even managed 2 days, as have told my children I am giving up for Lent and so far, I have smoked 3 of the days since Ash Wednesday and my daughter was not that impressed when she discovered a cigarette in an ashtray. But am determined to carry on now, perhaps past Lent, and on and on forever and ever.

The not so great moment came today when I weighed myself. I seem to have put on a kilo and a bit,  in the last two nights not smoking. I definitely remember  attacking some Maltesers and a packet of popcorn in the pathetic bid to have something in my mouth? A distraction? A prize?

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