sam smoking a cigarette

Me, age 20.

Guys, I need your help with something I should absolutely not need anybody’s help with. I’m 25, I’ve been smoking cigarettes for nearly six years, and I am finally quitting. After years of saying “I can quit,” I finally am making an effort to do just that…and it’s really hard. Shit.

As I detailed in my post on this subject an embarrassingly long time ago, I’ve been smoking cigarettes on and off since late high school. At first, it was just a casual Djarum Black on the bleachers with my high school sweetheart–god, could I have been more cliche?–which eventually devolved into a Turkish Silver or two once every few months at parties. But then I got to college.

Then there were a few years wherein I lived in various houses with a number of smokers when my casual party indulgence became a daily habit, as well as a way to curb my eating. During the peak of my eating disorder, I smoked around a pack a day and purged after most meals (the gross health effects of which you can read all about right here), and the negative implications of those choices were magnified by the fact that I was also drinking an exorbitant amount of vodka and whiskey. In short, I was a total mess, and my body paid the price. I remember feeling like crap when I would wake up, but I chocked that up to that seemingly required college hangover that you get during your junior and senior year.

(Related: 9 Beauty Mistakes Everyone Wishes They Could Take Back)

Nowadays, as a 25-year-old who finished school in 2012, I have mostly collected my life together. I’m on a consistent sleep schedule because of my 9 to 5 job, I don’t drink two liters of vodka a week (or any vodka, for that matter), and I no longer breff up my food. However, an inexplicably significant part of the aforementioned weekend booze bouts with friends is having a few, or more, cigarettes.

Ready to roll your eyes? I consider myself a “casual smoker” who doesn’t “need” a cigarette throughout the day and therefore considers herself inherently capable of stopping all together. And yet, every time I have more than a single glass of wine, I find myself marching to the nearest bodega, dropping $12.50 on a pack of Camel Crushes (I know, I know), and chain smoking until I fall asleep. Have I mentioned I have asthma? I have asthma. I also have a stomach condition that smoking aggravates and my anxiety is increased every time I have a cigarette. My skin is starting to look like crap; it’s chronically dehydrated, fine lines are starting to form, and the texture is increasingly dull.

Yes, I am an idiot and as a beauty editor/adult human, I know better.

ava gardner smoking vintage gif

(Via Tumblr)

But unfortunately, I also genuinely love smoking. It’s calming, it’s comforting, and anybody who’s ever been a smoker can tell you that it is a surprisingly magical way to make new friends, bond with people you barely know, and, if you work in film or another similar field, get to feel like you’re part of a little club that only you folks know about. There’s also something very pleasant about sitting on your fire escape, reading a book or writing a piece accompanied by a cigarette and a beer.

…And here I am, justifying my habit to myself once again.

In the past 10 days, I’ve only had a couple of cigarettes. Oddly enough, when I have not been able to smoke in the past (for example, when I stay with my parents), it is easy, but imposing an actual “I’m quitting, seriously, for good” mindset is making it much more difficult. And the very strange thing: I actually feel a bit ill. I have a cough, my throat hurts, and I am quite irritable, particularly when I have been drinking and won’t allow myself to smoke like I normally would. I knew that the grumpiness would occur, but I had not guessed that soreness and coughing would come with quitting. I am literally writing this from bed because I do not have the energy to go get coffee or eat.

brendan gif ferris bueller's day off

(Via Tumblr)

What I’m saying here is basically this: I thought this would be a walk in the park, but I am finding myself genuinely stressed out about an activity I had always felt full control over. I need your advice, folks, whether it is from firsthand experience, from helping a loved one stop smoking, or from working in the medical field, in the event there are a bunch of quiet doctors who read The Gloss.

So, help! What is your best advice for quitting smoking? Tell me in the comments so I can get through this stupid week/month/season without continuing to screw up my