Darren’s Diary – Kicking The Habit (Day 40) – Saturday, 31st March 


I needed to stop and look at the headline for a moment before starting to type.  I’m going to let you in on a secret.  Even though the diary was done to make sure I was accountable if I failed, I never thought I’d make the 40 days and I’m now excited about what lies ahead.

There have been tough days and I’m sure there’ll be some more.  But a personal battle for me has been won for now.  I can’t afford to get arrogant and we’re not done with the diary for another 10 weeks.  But I don’t smoke anymore and that feels great.

Last night’s diary was a bit rushed and that can happen on occasions but I did promise myself I’d take a bit of time this evening.  Of course, then Presentation Athenry came storming back and forced extra-time in the All-Ireland PPS Hurling Final and reduced the available time.

It would be bad form if I was late on the final day.  Nobody likes to be late on the last day and it gave me a chance to think back properly over this experience.

The first one is actually funny.  I won’t name the person but someone did ask me about three weeks ago will I go back on the cigarettes when the 40 days were up.  It was something said off the cuff but all I could respond with was a look.

I didn’t torture myself for six weeks to decide I’ll head to Dolan’s at midnight tonight or scrounge a cigarette off someone because I technically can.  This wasn’t a 40-day challenge or there would be no point doing the next 10 weeks.  This was a personal goal and your help got me through it.

Anybody who quits cigarettes have their own way of doing things.  I was talking to a friend in Tesco today who was telling me her husband is still chewing Nicorettes years after giving them up.  Ditching the gums three weeks ago was as significant as quitting the fags for me.

As I said from the start, I wrote this diary for myself but if it did help anyone else, I would be delighted.  And I also promised we wouldn’t be starting any anti-cigarette campaigns.  Everyone has to do it for themselves first and foremost.  Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

My body is still adapting to the change in my lifestyle and there are other amendments I could do with making.  My chocolate and fitness plans discussed before haven’t fully happened yet but they will. However, I did significantly reduce the fast food.

That messy cough is gone and that was one of the main reasons I quit in the first place.  There were other factors but that was one of the things that got me thinking.  And my sense of taste and smell has been enhanced.  It does feel good.

I told ye old stories and shared some personal moments.  You shared my frustrations on tough days if I needed a rant or wanted to remember an old friend.  I don’t think anyone realises how helpful being able to put these thoughts onto a computer can be.

Twice in the 40 days I left somewhere with the intention of buying smokes.  Both times I talked myself out of it.  But if I’d been doing this on my own, like what might have happened before, the sneaky smokes could have led to packet purchasing quickly.

There are many people I should thank and so many of you have been brilliant in your support since the 20th February.  I won’t go through everyone now as I’m afraid I’d leave someone out.  But there are two in particular who deserve a special mention.

My darling girlfriend Sinead has been a rock especially on bad days.  She has been a constant support.  Even when she was in Scotland, she still made contact twice to check in on me.  And she has been sharing the diary every day.  Having her in my life was another reason I felt strong enough to do this.

And also my mother.  My Mam has offered words of encouragement every day in person or on Facebook and has made sure others were aware of what I was doing and always passed on messages.  To hear from those who mightn’t necessarily be on social media but love reading the diary has been amazing.

Some even complimented the writing style but from the word go, it had to be a diary rather than an article.  I felt it was important to be honest from the start with how I felt even if it wasn’t a day when there was much to report.  But also, if something was bothering me, it was only right to share.

I don’t know if I’ll continue writing a personal diary as it will feel strange tomorrow not getting the laptop out to scribble some words.  But the daily online entries end with this installment.  Like quitting the cigarettes and the nicorettes, it’s important to make the next step and move on from the diary.

There will be weekly entries on Tuesday nights at 8pm for the next 10 weeks.  I look forward to them as don’t want to end all contact just yet.  And despite considering moving them to 9am on Wednesday mornings, I’ve decided we’ll finish how we started with evening entries.

I don’t know if I’ll ever smoke again but I hope not.  Otherwise, it will defeat the whole purpose of doing this diary.  But I do have that night out to come which we plan to be Martin Ward’s birthday in two weeks so will share that experience after.

I certainly don’t intend to and would be very disappointed with myself if I did.  But do you know what, I don’t think I will.  I just needed to break a habit and I think I have.  As I told you before, I used to be fierce anti-smoker and just found it hard to shake after indulging on cigars.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to look for a proper new challenge.  I don’t know yet if it’ll be one for daily diaries but will let you know my plans when I decide.  I’m not too sure what the powers that be in Galway Daily have thought about this.  They let me do it anyway so they must be happy 🙂

So, for now I wish you all a Happy Easter.  Had to do a bit of running around today to finalise my plans but I think I’m sorted even if I do have to work tomorrow.  But am taking Monday off and then after, we need to get our sports department on track so stay tuned.

Thank you again for all your support, advice and for reading the diary and telling others about it.  And if anybody ever wants to let us know their experiences in trying to quit, please get in touch and we’ll help in anyway we can.  Enjoy the weekend and I look forward to chatting to ye on Tuesday evening.