The addictions I’m talking about are smoking, drinking, and caffeine, which again in my case is a drink.
I’ve been smoking since I was 11, which isn’t great and will in all likelihood have already caused permanent damage to my body which quitting won’t resolve.
I’ve been drinking a while, definitely, before it was legal which in the UK is 18 years old. But it has definitely increased from social to binge drinking to all-out addiction.
Caffein, which in my case is 99% black coffee is another addiction I’ve had from when I was young, the difference with this one is its effects are short term, sleep problems, etc. And it has benefits such as getting me up in the morning. I’m targeting this one because of the effects it has on my other addictions. For example, when I make a drink of coffee, it’s almost hardwired into my brain to sit down and smoke with that coffee.
Here are 3 issues for each addiction while trying to quit.
- Smoking: Driving
One of the places I always light up a cigarette is in the car, the moment I get in and drive is the moment I put the same old songs on Spotify and the moment I start to smoke. This means my car gets full of empty cigarette packs, ash in spaces I failed to clean, and the fabric smells of smoke. Tie all of this together, and it makes for an incredibly tricky area not to smoke.
To try and combat this I’ve resolved the above issues, cleaned the car and bought as many jelly beans air fresheners as possible. The problems occur when I get in my car, and my brain is hardwired to think I need to smoke at the same time. This is something I need to re-program over time and focus on something else… like driving.
2. Smoking: Bad quitting habits
There’s more than a baker’s dozen of hints, tips, and methods to quit smoking. The quit smoking industry is nearly big as it’s evil sibling these days. I’ve tried a couple, patches, vaping, and cold turkey. So far vaping has proven the most formidable opponent to tobacco, however this time I’m going cold turkey again.
Vaping still left me craving nicotine, and this is the addiction, vaping and patches simply hide the problem — remove some of the worst effects. This time I want rid of the whole horrible mess, no quit smoking products at all.
That was a bit of a white lie, I am vaping — just not nicotine-based products, I’m using CBD vape products to help with mindfulness, and since this isn’t addictive, I call it a win.
3. Smoking: Being around smokers
An obvious problem that is pretty much unavoidable unless I stop seeing my friends and family. My dad smokes, my grandparents smoke, my partner smokes, etc. It’s not something I am going to avoid, but I set limitations now. No smoking in my car, I don’t hang around at the point where people are going to be smoking and I at least attempt to get them on something better as mentioned above. Though my family is stubborn and most will never quit simply by listening to me.
4. Drinking: Down Time
The time comes at night either around 11:30pm after a long day at work or 6:30ish once my son has gone to bed. This is my downtime, time I usually spend sitting in front of the TV light up a cigarette and crack open a beer. Then another and so on, this continued until I would eventually stumble to bed only to wake feeling dehydrated and overall not great.
The thing I noticed here was the association with downtime and drinking, so now I just do something else, it’s a win-win as my brain doesn’t get poisoned by alcohol or new age Netflix nonsense. Instead, I realized I’d been slacking on my medium account and my freelance writing on Fiverr, so I decided to pick up my laptop during this time and write some stuff.
5. Drinking: Enjoying the drink
One of the most robust parts of any addiction is when you enjoy what you are doing. In reality, I don’t enjoy smoking, it costs a lot of money and smells. I do, however, enjoy drinking, I like the taste of various drinks, and I like getting drunk. It’s far more difficult to quit something you enjoy rather than something you don’t.
It makes it a little more comfortable that I understand the effects drinking is having on both me and the people around me, which far outweighs the benefits, so this issue is halted by more prominent issues.
6. Drinking: Wanting to be drunk
I enjoy being drunk, I’m not a violent or immorally behaved drunk I enjoy having a laugh and I feel calmer. For this reason, I find I can be freed from a stress-filled world to be drunk for the night and sleep easier. I’m sure I could give a phycologist a field day but I know this isn’t healthy I just enjoy it either way.
The only real way to fight this want to be drunk is to find something I enjoy doing as much, I love writing and listening to audiobooks, I really enjoy Jon Ronson. Now I’m sat writing this at 19:30pm listening to ‘so you think you’ve been publicly shamed’ which is excellent by the way.
7. Caffeine: Tiredness
I drink at night, and so I don’t sleep so well, the one thing I can think of is more sleep or have dark black coffee to wake me up. Since I have a job and a young son, I often have to take the coffee. Don’t let me fool you into thinking I don’t want it though, I love coffee it is without a doubt my favorite drink. I have a Costa every other day and am very specific in the coffees I choose to buy. On the face of it, though it starts with a morning pick up to get me through the day and that’s difficult to go without, as of now, I haven’t managed it.
8. Caffein: Not trying new drinks
Coffee has been my go-to drink for as long as I can remember, I mixed it up with milk and different varieties and flavors, but it’s still coffee and always containing caffeine. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but I’ve never had the enthusiasm to try new drinks, until now and I have found some beauties.
T2 opened in my local shopping center not that long ago and with it a fantastic new exploration into tea (decaf of course) this has helped because it’s a hot drink and comes in loads of varieties — just like coffee.
I also drink water and soft drinks, but I find water too bland and soft drinks just swap caffein for sugar, so I’m not keen on that option. For now, though T2 has my back.
9. Caffeine: Routine
When I talk about caffeine, you’ve probably guessed by now that I refer to coffee as this my primary intake and accounts for rouble about 90%. Coffee has formed part of my routine, I get up and drink coffee when I write or work in general I drink coffee, and when I relax I have a coffee. Right up until I have a beer. Routines are difficult to get out of, there are a few elements of it, and I’ll never completely get out of it.
I will switch to decaf coffee which takes out the vast majority of the caffeine, and that’s great, I drink more tea at night to stop the alcohol consumption and this leaks into the day which is excellent. Not just tea but as part of an overall health kick I’ve started drinking far more orange juice and this is now my go-to drink when I get up in a morning, the coffee routine is crumbling hard and fast, and it came about without me even realizing it.
Overall issues crop up whenever you try to take on addiction, and I’ve had my fair share, but usually, there will always be an answer, and I’ve found it just as essential to realise when an issue can be solved and when a problem doesn’t need to be addressed; simply adjusted.
Right now, I have almost quit smoking, I’ve cut down drastically. I haven’t had a drink in a couple of days, and I’ve only had a couple of coffees with caffeine (I’m too tight to throw out what I have.) All in all, it gives me hope that within a couple of months, I should be free of all these addictions that have plagued me for years.