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Saturday, June 19, 2021

My smoking diary – Week four: Onward to umrah, leaving cigarettes in the dust

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Medical experts say more than a third of Qatar’s residents are smokers (cigarettes and/or sheesha). Some $65 million is spent on the habit annually, and up to half of all fire outbreaks in Qatar are linked to smoking.

Qatar is keen to help residents kick the expensive, dangerous habit with support services like smoking cessation clinics. But what is it like to quit? And why is it so hard?

Aisha (not her real name), a longtime smoker and British-Qatari resident, aims to answer those questions for herself and will share her journey to a smoke-free life with weekly diary posts, published on Doha News. Here’s her fifth and last entry for a while.

Read her previous entries here.

Sunday: I’m starting to sleep better now and I feel that this is making a big difference in how I handle things. With after-school activities, tutors and my exercise class, today passed very quickly.

Monday: During work these days, I have to drive from one building to the other. When I had to do this before, it was a lucky chance to have a smoke halfway through the day. It’s strange how small things like this can take you back to fighting with yourself again, but thankfully I won!

Tuesday: Mum being here visiting is helping. Having someone to chat with at night and going out with her when my kids are busy with their family really helps to keep me occupied and my mind off smoking.

All my family has seen my attempts to quit in the past followed by my fails, but of course they are always there to give me their support.

Wednesday: A hard day today. Sometimes it’s emotionally draining dealing with kids, especially teenagers! But I’m building up other ways to deal with conflicts and problems rather that turning to cigarettes. I hope that my kids seeing me struggle so much with quitting smoking will act as a deterrent for them and make them think a million times if they are ever offered cigarettes.

Thursday: Thursdays have become much easier; I’m trying to plan in advance to keep myself busy. Had some friends over to visit; it’s always good to laugh together and have a good chat.

Weekend: This was a busy weekend preparing for umrah next week and spending time with my kids before I go away. I have never left them for this long before and it feels really strange, but I’m excited to go to Saudi Arabia for the first time.

To finally see all those places I have only ever read about before, only seen on TV; to hopefully strengthen my connection with Allah and to ask for forgiveness for all the wrong I have ever done; and going with the smoking habit in my past feels really good, although I will be taking my nicotine gum with me!

When I get back I will start to think about reducing the amount of gum I use but for now I’m happy with how well I have done.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by wlodi

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