Dragging It Out

Prompt logo - Flashback Track Friday

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.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

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