I quit smoking back in 2001. I think I had smoked for 20 or so years at that point and a trip to London where I witnessed my travel companion, a heavy smoker, go through violent withdrawal at Heathrow convinced me it was time to quit.
How did I do it? After almost two decades of nearly a pack a day?
I stopped putting cigarettes in my mouth and I stopped lighting them. That was it. No patch. No drugs. No hypnosis. I made a decision that I knew I needed to stick to and that was that. For those of you who still smoke and are wondering how to quit, I’ll say it again:
Stop putting cigarettes in your mouth and stop lighting them.
I’ll send you an invoice.
Just over two years ago, I quit drinking. At first it was going to be an experiment to see if I would feel better without alcohol for six months … and then a year … and so on. I was a fairly heavy drinker, having built up quite a tolerance (which is a physical sign that trouble is looming). On any given weeknight, I could finish half a bottle of gin (oh, how I miss a gin and tonic during the summer) and on a weekend I’d easily finish a bottle of rum (my favorite? A 23-year-old Guatemalan rum called Zacapa). I named my cat Zacapa.
Two years and three months ago I had my last drink. Can you guess how I stopped drinking? I stopped drinking. I stopped buying it. I stopped preparing it. Stopped making it a part of who I was. Quitting drinking was the single best decision of my life.
Until I gave up meat (and dairy and eggs). Giving up meat/going vegan was as difficult for me as quitting smoking and drinking and, to be honest, I didn’t think it was a good idea at first. I went through withdrawal. I had cravings. I questioned the logic. I was more reluctant than any one person should be. But I did it.
Went from 100% omnivore to 100% vegan overnight. Going vegan meant making numerous sacrifices and giving up so many of my favorite foods. But, ultimately, it was all worth it.
So, how did I do it? I became educated. About my health and the incredible benefits of a plant-based diet. I have also become compassionate. Finally connecting the terrible cruelty to animals to the food on my plate. Going vegan changed me forever in so many positive ways that I would need a blog to keep up with them all.
People, we have once chance at this. Life. Living. Being. I spent the first half of my life trying to kill myself and now I’m spending the second half making up for it.
Time will tell just how important these life changes are for my long-term health. I’ve never felt better, physically and spiritually and I am sure that in the coming years these decisions are going to pay off.
When you’re ready to embrace change, embrace it. It’s never too late.
VEGAN: for your health, for the animals, for the environment.