This is my response to the Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were given Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye and challenged to:
Write about something that you need to give up.
I just wish I could keep them at bay,
But I puff several packs every day,
As their prices sky-rocket,
Not a dime in my pocket,
I should give up tomorrow, but hey.
Okay, I’ll be straight with you – I don’t smoke, so just wrote the limerick for amusement value.
I did smoke once, though, on and off throughout my teens. I was the kid who used to smoke behind the bike sheds at school and get caught by the headmaster.
I gave up in my early twenties, for good. Back then I used to allow myself a carton a week. That’s ten packs, twenty cigs in each pack, two hundred cigs total. One pack per day, plus three packs for free, normally when I went out at the weekend.
I stopped the day the price of the carton went past £20.
Okay, I realise that number won’t mean much outside of the UK, but to give an idea, a single pack of cigarettes – that’s just 20! – will today cost upwards of £10. So if I’d carried on that habit, it would be costing me £100 per week. My mortgage costs me half that.
My giving-up strategy was:
- Day -1: 20
- Day 0: 10
- Day 1: 0
and I never touched another cigarette again.
I’m fortunate in that I have strong willpower, so was able to do this. In later years, that has been described as stubborn! But I feel for people who want to give up and can’t. I know there must be many of them because the NHS always has some incentive scheme or other on the go.
Incidentally, other drugs I never even got into, for the same reason. I was afraid that they would bankrupt me. As a student, seeing mates spending absolutely all of their income on weed, that was enough to put me off. I guess that was a good thing. I didn’t worry about the health aspects at the time – I would have done afterwards but not at that age – but the economic aspects swung it.