Overcoming the Nicotine Nightmare: Gourav Rakshit’s Story
Mark Twain once famously said, “Giving up smoking is easy. I ought to know, I’ve done it a thousand times.” We all agree to this fact – giving up smoking is not an easy job. But the truth of the matter is that giving up on smoking is not all dull and gloomy. In fact, people who have quit smoking successfully are undoubtedly more satisfied with their lives and they feel healthier too.
According to latest research by Dr. Megan Piper, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in the US, and her team, quitting smoking can improve psychological well-being. This report was published online in Springer's journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
The report concludes that: "Quitting smoking benefits well-being compared to continuing smoking. Smokers might believe that quitting will decrease life satisfaction or quality of life -- because they believe it disrupts routines, interferes with relationships, leads to a loss of smoking-related pleasure, or because cessation deprives them of a coping strategy. Our findings suggest that, over the long-term, individuals will be happier and more satisfied with their lives if they stop smoking than if they do not." [via]
Today, we are in conversation with Gourav Rakshit who tells us how he successfully quit smoking after smoking for 20 years. This real-life experience might just do the trick in helping you kick the butt today.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Mansi Kohli: What kind of tobacco were you addicted to?
Gourav Rakshit: I’ve been a cigarette smoker for the past 20 years.
Mansi Kohli: Why did you think of quitting tobacco?
Gourav Rakshit: There’s been a part of me that has always wanted to quit for as long as I’ve been a smoker. New jobs, marriage, my first child, my second child, my dad’s health, new year resolutions, running my first-ever half marathon, each seemed to present not just good reasons, but also excellent muhurats to quit the habit. But it never happened for me. The longest I went without a single cigarette was 5 days. I think it was easier to not smoke for some time, than to accept the fact that I would never smoke again. And so, I kept falling off the wagon.
Mansi Kohli: How did you do it?
Gourav Rakshit: I spent a lazy Sunday morning on Feb 19 without a cigarette, and on a whim decided to extend my streak through the rest of the day. Feb 19 turned out to be a great day – the kind of good fortune only a divine power can provide - and I sailed through without once thinking about my next smoke. And that’s when the penny dropped. Smokers lose a lot of time in preserving their habit!! The obvious loss is in the time spent smoking and the morbid reality of a commuted lifespan. The not so obvious time lost is while wondering do I have enough smokes, when should I go next, who will I be smoking with, who can I bum a light from, where’s my next pack going to come from, is my paanwala’s stock fresh, and hundreds of inane smoking thoughts only a smoker can appreciate. The minute it hit me that I was being handed 2-3 hours of my time back each day to do with as I wished, the decision to stay a non-smoker became a no-brainer.
Mansi Kohli: How much time did it take to finally quit, did you quit gradually or at one go?
Gourav Rakshit: When I did finally manage to quit, I quit at once. It helped though that I’ve had many years of wanting to chuck up the habit and a few aborted attempts at quitting. While some people mock quitters and predict they will fail (rightly so, the odds are heavily stacked against a smoker), I’m a firm believer in getting back on the horse.
Mansi Kohli: What were the problems encountered (withdrawal symptoms) and how did you overcome them?
Gourav Rakshit: Quite frankly I didn’t face any withdrawal symptoms, since the benefit I got was so tangible and so instant and perceptibly that it outweighed the joy I got from smoking. To be brutally honest I do miss the flavour of tobacco, but I never once miss being a smoker. I have way more time on my hands than I’ve ever had, and I definitely don’t plan on giving it back!!
Mansi Kohli: What are your suggestions to people who are willing to quit, but are unable to?
Gourav Rakshit: If you’re looking to quit smoking, keep trying in the face of repeated failure. It’ll harden your resolve to break the shackles. Reflect on each failed attempt not as failure, but a reaffirmation of your intent to quit one day. If you focus on what you will get out of being a non-smoker like I did, then the struggle is not about will power at all. It’s just a matter of when your perspective finally shifts, and you move to a new way of life.
Gourav Rakshit is the Business Head at Shaadi.com.
*Image courtesy: © Gourav Rakshit