For Lent this year, my hunny and I decided to give up smoking, eat healthier and exercise. I’m Catholic & he’s Non-Denominational, but he has decided to participate in Lent with me for the first time this year. Your body is a gift given to you by God. It is important to appreciate it and take care of it.
What Lent Is
For those who don’t know, the basic idea behind Lent is that you make sacrifices and repent for the 40 days before Easter as a penitential season to bring you closer to God. It is practiced by Catholics and a some Protestants. Sundays are not counted in the 40 days as it is the day Jesus rose from the dead and should be a joyous day, not a penitential one. You also fast during the 40 days, meaning you only have 1 main meal and 2 smaller meals that do not together equal more than the main meal, as well as no snacking throughout the day. You also abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, including Good Friday, as a sacrifice on those days. Fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables are allowed, but one should not eat things like beef, pork, chicken, deer or lamb on abstinence days.
We have attempted to quit smoking cigarettes more than a few times, and succeeded at times but always ended up returning to the habit eventually. We have tried prescription pills, nicotine gum, nicotine patch, vaporizers, and cold turkey. This time we decided to go with vaping again since that had worked somewhat well for us before. So the first thing we did was bought a couple of vaporizers and some vaping juice. We decided to get the lowest mg nicotine they had available which was 3mg. Altogether it cost about $150 for 2 vaporizers with extra coils and 2 bottles of juice. While it may seem like a lot of money to some, we realized that cigarettes were costing us over $50 per week. That means after 3 weeks we are saving money from then on. We are at 2 weeks already without cigarettes. Definitely well worth the price we paid.
Side Effects of Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking has been amazing! Everything smells better. It gets easier to breathe a little bit more each day. On day 4 I started feeling things loosening in my lungs and coughing from time to time. I clear my throat a lot for the last week. I have much more energy and it is easier to be cheerful. I get tired earlier at night, but I was not sleeping well at all before. I feel less anxious and depressed than before. Food tastes better. I can feel the difference in how my teeth feel that I never noticed before. My hands are warmer than before, although my feet are still cold frequently. My hands and skin feel softer and less oily. I just generally feel better physically and mentally overall. It has been almost 2 weeks, and I have no desire to even touch a cigarette. In fact, the smell of them is pretty gross now.
How is This Bringing Me Closer to God?
So far there has been no sudden and amazing change in me spiritually. It’s not like I woke up after quitting and felt some magical closer connection. However, I do feel that God is walking with me in this and that is why I have absolutely no cravings whatsoever. Even with the nicotine replacement, usually there is still a craving for the presence of the cigarette in your hand. Your brain is trained to the habit of repeated hand to mouth and flicking motions. This was usually my issue before. I would get anxious and need something to fulfill that fixation, and so I would still crave cigarettes. I feel very peaceful about quitting this time, even when I am around other smokers. One thing I know, is that while it may seem like you aren’t getting anywhere spiritually, quite often as long as the effort is still there you will reap the benefits down the road. Instant gratification is overrated, and the sacrifice is worth it.
Resources to Quit Smoking
If you are an Illinois resident like me you can call the Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES. Otherwise you can look up your local Health Department to find the Quitline number for your state.