January 26, 2005

Turning point.

A couple of years back, on my summer break, I worked in a bar back home. I'd worked in plenty of bars before, but never both full time and mostly evening shifts. This meant that I spent most of my evenings working, and the ones in between at work, drinking with other staff members. It was one of the most popular high street pubs, and so very busy on a Friday and Saturday night, which made working the weekend quite an adrenaline rush. After work everybody would stop for a pint, and in most cases a cigarette.

When I started working there I didn't smoke, I'd tried cigarettes before, but never really felt the inclination to take it up. After a few weeks of mad Friday nights I was taking cigarettes off workmates just to wind down. They are very relaxing after all, and when you've been breathing it in night after night, you're bound to feel the effects sometime.

By the time I went back to Uni, I was buying them for myself, and getting through a couple of packets a week. One of my friends who had "quit" (mostly because of a girlfriend) was now taking them off me. It felt good to smoke, it made me feel like one of the popular crowd I always wanted to be. After a while, I suddenly realised that I didn't want to be this person. My clothes always smelled, I'd wake up with a bad taste in my mouth and worst of all, I was lying to my Parents as I was hiding it from them.

So I quit. I just made the decision one day that I wasn't going to smoke any more, and didn't buy a packet for another week. Of course that wasn't the last cigarette I smoked, but I did well, and only succumbed to temptation a few times. I hadn't been smoking for long, which made it easier, combined with the fact that my current peer group were mostly non-smokers.

Since then, there has always been the temptation, although mostly after drinking. I have quite often smelt smoke and felt a craving for cigarettes, although lately it has been happening less often. It's the thing I most regretted about ever smoking, this feeling that I would never be free and that I would always want cigarettes whenever I was exposed to them. Until tonight, that is.

Tonight was a pretty typical post archery pub event. There was eating, drinking, conversation and Pool. Typical except for one thing. From the next table a waft of cigarette smoke drifted over, I breathed in and unusually, I felt ill. It smelt disgusting, undesirable, and it even made me cough. I didn't even realise until I was halfway home and downwind of the local Chinese Takeaway. I felt so hungry, in that familiar post pub way, but tonight, I didn't want a cigarette.


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