This weekend I had some insight as to why it is hard to both quit smoking (or start smoking). Weather is getting warmer here and basically to me and my fiancee that means that it is pipe smoking season. So we had a pipe on Friday evening and it was nice. At some point in the evening, I decided that I wanted to roll some pipe tobacco cigarettes. I’m not sure what came over me, but I decided that I would roll two and smoke them the next day. I had to go into work to do some paperwork, so it would be the perfect time to smoke by myself. Now you are probably thinking, “Before long she’ll be hooked.” Or that I’m going to go back to my closet smoking days. Technically, it was somewhat closeted smoking in that I told nobody and I smoked alone. I didn’t go to super great lengths to hide it like I had in the past. I almost couldn’t wait to smoke the first one and it was everything I expected it to be. I went into work riding a nice buzz that kept me focused for hours. I smoked the next one just after lunch, it was good but less so than the first, probably because I made the filter wrong and it was really hard to draw on.

I didn’t really think about smoking for the rest of the day. I contemplated rolling more cigarettes last night, but opted for just packing the materials so that I could do it the next day if I wanted to. I had to go into work again today and around 9:30 am, I contemplated rolling and smoking another cigarette. It would be so easy, nobody would know. But instead, I just kept working like I normally do. I didn’t really think of smoking at all for the rest of the day.

But it did get me thinking. I work with people teaching them how to make big changes in their lives, like quitting hard drugs or finding better ways to manage their anger. One thing we often talk about is comfort zone. If I had started smoking as a teenager, smoking would be my comfort zone. It would feel weird not doing it. That is why quitting smoking is so hard. Conversely, if you have a well practiced habit of not smoking, it is your comfort zone and despite how addictive smoking might be,  I think it is this very thing that allows me to smoke occasionally. That said, if I were surrounded by smokers in my life, it would be a different story. Smoking would become part of my comfort zone making it much easier to start. I think this is why there are quite a few closeted/occasional smokers. It allows people to step out of their comfort zones for brief moments in the case of the occasional smoker or the hidden smoking becomes their comfort zone in the case of the closet smoker.

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