A novelist writes about the mind, body and soul.

Archive for the tag “Giving up smoking”


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?


Just one more cigarette – Can I give up for Lent?

I can’t seem to stop. I’ve tried. Yes really. Once when pregnant with my first child I didn’t smoke at all.  The second time I was pregnant, I have to admit that I smoked very occasionally and at a party, a stranger came up and berated me for it. A couple of years ago I gave up after I’d been hypnotised for a magazine article I was writing  (subsequently, I was convinced that me managing to not smoke was more to do with will-power than anything else, and I substituted great handfuls of the children’s sweets for cigarettes and made myself feel sick.) Gradually, as the month passed, I allowed myself to smoke other people’s roll-ups at parties, then gave in and bought my own, kidding myself that roll-ups are better than a packet of twenty.  I’m not saying that I am a chain-smoker, far from it. I am talking one cigarette a night. Recently it’s somehow creeped up to two a night. That’s the problem, it’s not a disaster, but it’s a habit. If I’m socialising it can escalate to the dizzy height of three or even four.  I hate the smell in the house and on my hands, but I love the thrill of it, the escape from the day, the whiff of release.

When the children came home from school last week, and demanded to know what I was giving up for Lent, I was foolhardy and replied smoking. Ash Wednesday arrived (yesterday) and when I woke, I visualised throwing the packet away, but when it came to it, I decided not to, because I fooled myself into thinking that perhaps someone else would want one, or  perhaps I could have just one on Sundays during lent, which apparently you are allowed to do.  By 9.00pm  I had smoked my one cigarette but managed to hold off from two.

I don’t fancy patches, I’ve read they give you weird dreams. The idea of nicotine gum sounds awful.

It’s National No Smoking Day on March 14th. Yesterday  I read that around 157,000 children between 11-16 start smoking every year. That was me, I started at boarding school, partly to hang out with the “cool girls” partly for something to do to relieve the monotony. My father is a keen smoker, and always has been, I remember my mother smoking when she was stressed. My mother hasn’t smoked for years now.

I have to stop. For all the obvious reasons. Not least my children hate it.

I’m going out to dinner tonight at a friend’s house. There will be people, wine, possibly someone else smoking (though that is doubtful). I may blog tomorrow and tell you what happened. I really really do want to give up.

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