Have you stopped smoking for someone?

Few days ago, I saw this line, “The truth hurts but the lie’s worse”, on someone’s Facebook status update and I thought: “Omg, THAT is so true.” Yeah, speaking from past experiences obviously.

There was a thought-provoking article, “Love means never asking a smoker to quit” on Sunday Times today and like what the column was meant to do, it made me reflect on my life.

I started smoking when I was 15. That’s more than a decade ago. But I stopped smoking quite a while back as many of my colleagues and friends can attest to. They’d tell you I no longer take smoke breaks even when I feel like pulling my hair out at times. I used to have one or two sticks if someone offered but recently, I have politely refused even when the cigarette packet was waved tantalisingly right in my face.

As far as late Feb to early March this year, I made a conscious decision to stop smoking. I always had the intention of quitting completely since I am never a heavy smoker and my non-smoker friends have encouraged me now and then to stop smoking for the sake of my health and good looks. It was a rather convincing argument especially when you throw someone’s insecurities into the mix. But I have never felt total conviction in quitting cigarettes completely. Until I met her.

You might say I’m silly for putting myself in that sort of situation because I should quit with the well-documented reasons already known to all – namely, smoking has been proven beyond doubt to be harmful. Trust me, I am smart enough to have read all the harmful effects smoking will cause.  But I have never found that extra motivation I need to say no to cigarettes. Until that night when we were 15319km apart. She first asked me how I started smoking and through a series of questions, she led me to thinking if it was necessary to even smoke at all. When she told me how strongly she felt about smoking, I knew it was time for me to finally stop.

So I stopped buying cigarettes and made a huge effort to not think about the filthy habit. It was easy enough to stop spending money on something you know it’s bad but once in a while, you really crave for one puff, to hold a cigarette and inhale the smoky scent. Especially when you hang out with smokers. So I might have sneaked one or two or even three. But focusing on her made the psychological torture of being unable to light up much easier to bear.

Then that fateful night came along. My heart broke when I saw her upset. She had found out about me smoking the night before. We had a huge fight and I did what came most naturally to me – light up. It was an act of “rebellion” – something I did on purpose, according to her. She said my pact to quit smoking was something special between us and it was no longer the case. It hurt to see tears streaming down her face. What have I done?

But she said she would deal with it and she was more upset about accidentally hurting her pet. That confused me because I thought her tears were about us. Was I over-thinking? Maybe. Was I determined to make things up? Definitely. Even though I was and still am hurting from the previous nightmare, I am soft-hearted enough to want to make amends.

It took me a few days to finally tell her about my renewed conviction to stop smoking and her revelation about the past shocked me. The conversation that night wasn’t pleasant at all. I thought I was making an effort to make things right but really, I needn’t had bothered. After all, I have the liberty to do what I want as long as I am happy doing it, she said. I felt stupid. Not for the first time in the last few months, I have to say.

So yes, the arrival of a new love someone significant in my life spurred me to stop smoking and I am not going to start smoking the next time we fight because I’ve learned to handle sadness and frustrations differently. I don’t know if I will ever pick up smoking again but at least I know I no longer want to now.

“It takes a lot out of someone to quit smoking… But nothing beats the motivation that a smoker gets when someone he loves asks him to quit.”

My question is: I am willing to do the greatest things possible for the one I love or really care for. Are you willing to do the same for me?

It is really a meaningful article. You should read it sometime.

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