Hello, my name is Matt, but you can call me Mateo.
I was a smoker for 20 years. I smoked a pack a day about 14 of those years, and on a constant basis.
I’m 39 now, and I started when I was a Sophomore in high school.
I’ll tell you the entire story and be as real as possible. I won’t lie to you, try to soften things up, or pretend things weren’t as bad as they really were.
I was completely controlled by cigarettes. They controlled my every thought.
This is my story:
I started smoking because of peer pressure. It was cool to smoke, mainly because I wasn’t 18 yet, so it was illegal.
Doing illegal things were always more fun to do, especially at that age.
Plus there was always that “new factor” which played a role in my youth.
You have to try everything once, right?
My parents smoked, people on TV smoked, and it was glamorized in the movies.
I stole a pack of cigarettes from a department store in my town.
In those years they were within reach of anyone, even children!
You could easily snag a pack and put it in your pocket, and that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to try them out.
Later on that night, after my parents went to bed, I snuck outside and went behind my shed.
I took a cigarette out and lit it and IMMEDIATELY coughed. It was terrible!
The bitterness went away after a little bit and I took another drag.
I was so dizzy and high I stumbled into the backyard, falling all over the place.
It was a great feeling, I won’t lie to you.
I enjoyed it, I really did. It was a total new experience.
The next day I woke up a different person.
From that day forward I had to have one cigarette a day, just to experience that same feeling again.
But one cigarette a day turned into two and then three and so forth. This is mainly because I was beginning my “party stage” during late high school.
I’d say I was smoking five cigarettes per day by the time I graduated high school in 1996, and that includes the time spent going to track practice, cross country practice, and living at home.
Almost all my friends smoked, too, at this time.
As I said before, it was cool to smoke. It didn’t really affect me, either. I wasn’t coughing, or wheezing, or having trouble sleeping.
At that time, I was fine. It wouldn’t last long, though.
By the time I turned that monumental age of 21, I was up to a half a pack a day.
I enjoyed them. They were my lifeblood.
However, they decided how long I stayed out. They controlled my life and told me what to do.
If I was planning on going to some huge event, like camping or a concert, I would stock up on cigarettes.
I’d buy two or three packs at a time, all different kinds, both regular and menthol.
I smoked in my car, in my apartment, around my parents, and in any public place. I was definitely addicted.
Everyone around me still smoked, and I was still going out every weekend. I knew they were horrible for me, but I liked smoking.
I woke up with crap in my lungs, though, and I had a constant cough. Deep down I knew what was going on.
Smoking was ruining my lungs.
I don’t believe someone in the mindset of going out every weekend is ready to quit just yet. There is some growing up to do first.
So, as we all got older, one by one, my friends began to quit. But, I didn’t. I tried, I just couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t understand how some of them quit so easily on their first try.
Were they just strong-willed? No. They weren’t as addicted to nicotine as I was. They weren’t chain smokers like I was.
That’s what it boils down to. I still envied them, though.
But, at the end of the day, I was still the party guy going out to the bars every weekend. I was not in the correct mindset at all.
Quitting was always a thought in the back of my mind, but realistically? No, I was not ready to quit.
When I was about 26, I got bronchitis.
If any of you have had this, then you know how awful it can be.
I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, I could barely even brush my teeth without getting winded. It was a terrible, TERRIBLE condition to have, and it scared me half to death.
Imagine breathing through a straw, and breathing like that for 48 hours non-stop. It was just awful!
Yet, as horrible as it sounds, I still wanted a cigarette. How bad is that?
This is the power of nicotine revealing its true colors.
I bought an inhaler from the store and used it. It helped a little bit, but not too much.
It got so bad that I took myself to the emergency room.
They put me on a respirator that opened up my lungs, which helped tremendously. I did get better, but I paid a hefty price.
I got bronchitis from smoking cigarettes, and I was determined from that point on to quit for good.
I quit for three months, and didn’t smoke a single cigarette, but I was also 27 years old.
Not that my age meant anything, but I was still the party guy going out to the clubs on the weekends.
Going out on a date with a smoker is what made me relapse.
By that time, I had completely forgotten what it was like to have bronchitis, and all the negative feelings associated with it.
I had forgotten what breathing through a straw was like.
I had forgotten the promise I made to myself to never smoke again.
Sadly, I convinced myself to smoke even though I knew how stupid it was. Even that first drag felt weird.
I became a smoker again, literally within a couple days.
I went from nothing to a pack a day. Plus I was still using an inhaler.
Sometimes I would get shortness of breath, so I would use my inhaler to clear my lungs, and then I’d smoke a cigarette.
How stupid is that?
Very stupid, but nicotine doesn’t care, and I’m sure this has happened to some of you out there.
Back and forth I went for the next five years, quitting and relapsing, getting it wrong every time.
My friends were beginning to laugh at me, saying how stupid I was for relapsing. They didn’t think I could do it.
I don’t blame them at all. I was disappointed in myself, too.
But it’s just such an extremely difficult addiction to overcome!
It’s not easy in any way, shape or form.
For some it is, yes, but for me it wasn’t at all.
I knew how awesome I felt when I was a non-smoker, and how terrible I felt as a smoker. It was like black and white, with no grey area in between.
Either I smoked a pack a day, or I didn’t smoke at all. I couldn’t just smoke five, or only when I felt like it, or only when I drank.
It was all or nothing.
Quitting and relapsing over and over again can be very emotional. Up and down and up and down I went, going from super happy to super depressed, all in one day sometimes.
It really felt like a roller coaster.
I was consumed with quitting smoking, because I hated it so much, yet one little slip and I was back to being a full blown smoker.
But I FINALLY got it right, and because quitting smoking has become such a huge passion in my life, I decided to help others quit as well.
If you want real and honest information on how to quit smoking for the rest of your life, then you have come to the right place.