I stopped smoking in March and it was a blessing, an end to my painful gingivitis and hacking coughs that produced large masses of gelatinous phlegm. My habit had lasted almost exactly a decade and consisted of about 5-8 smokes per day.

I have been told by other people who smoke that this doesn't really constitute "a heavy habit" but it was supplemented with cigars handed to me - at one point daily - from my old boss and countless extras that I bummed from those around me. I never had the ability or desire to smoke a pack a day but I came close when things got bad in the kitchen. Make no mistake, I am not trying to play up my habit, it was still milder than those I see among many of my foreign peers, casually burning through cheap smuggled packs that they've brought up from family working in the South, but I was still beginning to feel the consequences. My lungs ached, I tired quickly, and I was constantly waiting for the chance to step out and reset my brain while I worked.

The decision to quit was abrupt but informed. I had tried many times to quit in the past and always capitulated, often in under a week. This time, I had a few beneficial factors. Firstly, there was (and is) an airborne pandemic ravaging the planet that induces pneumonia. As someone who has had pneumonia on multiple occasions in the past, not getting it again is a great motivator. I had a girlfriend who pestered me gently about it (even if she admitted to me that it was "kind of cool"). I had been a vegetarian for about 7 months, which prepared me to be habitually abstinent of a guilty pleasure, and most importantly, quarantine had gotten me out of my kitchen job and away from people who handed me a cigarette every time they wanted to check my foul moods.

My main smoking cessation aids were marijuana and Stardew Valley, both of which I used when the desire for a drag became too strong to tolerate by myself. After the first two or three days the primary withdrawal stage from nicotine has supposedly passed. You can rest assured that the miserable, run-down feeling is over. Yet there remains a strong psychological component. Every time I went somewhere or did something that stirred the memory or reenacted my old smoking habits, I felt an immediate desire to smoke. I feel it even now, on certain fall days when the breeze is right and the sky is clear and there seems to be no one around me despite this dense urban landscape. I felt it very strongly when I was anxious or couldn't think clearly.

It was as if a crutch had been kicked out from under me for the treatment of my ADHD and I had to learn to compensate. The results have been mixed, but I've focused less on that than simply not relapsing. Now, months later, I've finally reached a point where my appetite is coming back under control and I want to exercise. It feels, and even writing this feels ridiculous, like a metamorphosis.

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