Greg: Alright, what’s going on everyone? It is Greg and Matt here from Project Unbroken. As you all know, we’re former drug and heroin addicts, and Project Unbroken is all about bringing people through our addiction, showing them how we got through it, and kind of leading people to a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you subscribe below. Plenty of videos coming, and today we are talking about smoking cigarettes. We’re going to talk about kind of how we got into smoking cigarettes, and mainly how we got off cigarettes.
Greg: I’ll start off. I remember the first cigarette I had, I was 7 years old. We were riding bikes to the creek, and i was smoking a cigarette. I fell off my bike, because I got so dizzy. What’s funny is, I didn’t smoke again, until I think I met you. You know how messed up I used to get when I would smoke cigarettes. Remember I used to have to lay down in the back of the car?
Matt: For like, an hour.
Greg: They used to fuck me up, like I would feel sick off of them.
Matt: Yeah. I didn’t know what was going on.
Greg: That was the first time I smoked, was I remember when I was 7, I fell off a bike off like two drags. Then I met Matt, and I started smoking a little bit in high school. I full on started smoking when I was like 18. When did you start?
Matt: I was pretty young, like 13. I remember, I think I first tried to smoke cigarettes when I was like 12. I really wanted to smoke cigarettes, like I don’t know, I was attracted to them. It was early on.
Greg: I think as a lot of young kids, it kind of looks cool.
Matt: Yeah, I guess. I think that whole thing has kind of gone away. It’s dangerous, you know? I don’t know what I was thinking, but I really wanted to smoke cigarettes, and I just like couldn’t. I would take a drag, and I would start coughing really bad. Dude, I remember the first time I was in the back of one of my friends cars. I couldn’t drive yet, and it was my buddy who was driving a couple of us around. We were smoking cigarettes, and I took a drag, and it went down the pipe and just felt great. I was like, “Yes. I’m in this.” I loved smoking from that point on, like I really, really enjoyed it. I mean, I smoked … Yeah, I think I got you back into it for a while. I smoked for a while. I smoked for probably close to 18 years.
Greg: You were a daily smoker from the time you were like 13, to how old?
Matt: Fuck. Probably like 26?
Greg: Ten or fifteen years.
Matt: Yeah, somewhere around there.
Greg: For me again, in high school, I would try them a little bit here and there, but I didn’t start smoking smoking until I got out of high school, where I was smoking every single day. Yeah, I mean, I don’t even know why I liked it so much, because they made me feel sick a lot of times.
Matt: Yeah, and I’ll say, Greg, I was kind of like giving you cigarettes or encouraging you to smoke when we were pretty young. Greg was able to drive before me, and I remember we’d be out and we wouldn’t smoke in Greg’s car. His car was like immaculate, and so we’d be in shopping centers, and we’d smoke a cigarette. He would, no shit, have to lay on the ground for like 30 minutes.
Greg: Nauseous, feel totally nauseous.
Matt: Yeah, like real dizzy. I’d be like, “Dude. I got to get home.”
Greg: I’d be like, “I can’t get up yet. Can’t fucking move.”
Matt: He couldn’t drive.
Greg: Eventually that went away, as I smoked more and more. That’s crazy that I continued smoking knowing what it did to me. That just shows you how addictive it can be, but yeah, I think the main point of this video is kind of, we want to talk about how did we actually get off cigarettes. What led us to get off, because for me it wasn’t that hard.
Greg: I mean, how’d you get off? You remember how it happened?
Matt: Yeah. For me, well I didn’t really want to quit. No shit. Nobody does, but I mean, I enjoyed it, and I started to work my way back into … I smoked through my heroin addiction and after in my recovery, even through [inaudible 00:03:40], after [inaudible 00:03:40], I was smoking all the time. I did start exercising strictly in an effort to help me with my heroin addiction recovery, that whole process. We go into that in some of our other videos, how important exercise is just for creating endorphins, serotonin, all those feel good hormones in your brain. Exercise really a big deal with that stuff.
Matt: I found crossfit, and that was just … I started feeling really good about exercising. It’s really difficult to smoke cigarettes and to crossfit. I wanted to be better, and so I just started slowing down smoking. It kind of got to a point where I was like, “I just don’t even want to smoke anymore.” For me, it was just, I had to find something that was more important than cigarettes were, and it was something, it just made the decision really easy.
Greg: What was funny is, so me and Matt, we’d gone our separate ways when we quit heroin, because obviously you can’t stay with someone that’s … you can’t be connected with someone who uses heroin. I kept using. He quit, so we separated ways for like, five years. The first time you got in touch with me and we met up for like lunch or something, just kind of shoot the shit, and I was out there smoking a cigarette. I went to him, and he’s like, “No, I don’t smoke.” I was like, “What the fuck?” I was like, “You don’t fucking smoke anymore? You motherfucker.” Yeah, I remember that clearly.
Greg: How it happened for me was very soon after I met Matt, he got me into the crossfit gym. I think I started by using e-cigarettes. I’m like, the cigarettes are killing me, I’ll go to e-cigarettes. That helped a lot. I felt a lot better and the e-cigarettes, but even with the e-cigarettes, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right. I would get this really dry throat. It was almost like I got sick, every month I would get sick. It was weird. I think e-cigarettes are a lot healthier than regular cigarettes and it was a good transition, but eventually just like Matt, I was working so hard in the gym, that I didn’t want to kind of hurt my efforts by smoking. You know what I mean?
Greg: If I’m going to do all this work, what the fuck am I going to smoke for? If I’m putting in this much work, the smoking is hurting me, there’s no point to it. For me, it was exercise that got me out of it.
Matt: Yeah, just even having this conversation, just I think it really brings home the point that when you find something that’s really important to you, no matter what it is, anything that’s going to have a negative effect on that takes a backseat. I mean, because for me, when I started exercising, I had no interest in quitting smoking at all. I was like, “I can still do both.” I kind of did my shit in the gym back in the day, you know just old school weightlifting stuff and my lungs weren’t really necessary. Again, I really liked to smoke cigarettes, but I found something I was passionate about and it just kind of knocked all that negative shit out of my life. It at least really, really helped.
Greg: What’s crazy is when you stop smoking, you realize how much better you feel.
Matt: Oh, my God.
Greg: I used to get out of breath walking up steps.
Matt: Having sex, dude.
Matt: I used to run out of breath and be like, this is not good.
Greg: Coughing, just feeling like shit. I mean, cigarettes, they’re a slow killer.
Greg: They’re a silent killer.
Matt: They’re a slow, silent killer, and it has just a way bigger effect on your day to day life than you initially think. Like you said, when you’re smoking every day, you just become so used to it, and you’re kind of just moving in that pattern. Your lung capacity is garbage. You can’t do shit without … Dude, I’d walk up a flight of stairs and be like, just gasping for breath.
Matt: It’s not a good situation.
Greg: I know a lot of people are probably watching this video trying to figure out what steps can they take to quit. What would be your recommendation for that? Honestly, we jumped into exercise and it kind of just happened, I think.
Greg: I mean, what would be a good recommendation, you think, for someone to start quitting?
Matt: Again, this almost goes back to the same advice, I would say to somebody who’s trying to work their way out of a heroin addiction or something even much stronger. Try to find something, some sort of physical activity that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be crossfit. It can be riding a bike, whatever. Find something that engages you physically and mentally, and first of all, it’ll have so many effects in your overall life. I think you’ll be surprised if you just get yourself in a group setting with some sort of physical activity that you find enjoyable. I think a lot of the stuff you do that, whether it’s drinking or smoking, even if you don’t have a serious addiction. Not that those aren’t serious addictions, but something more along the lines of hard drugs.
Matt: A lot of this stuff just seems to take a backseat to the thing that you are passionate about, and it’s not always easy to find those things. Try stuff out. You know, nobody knows what they’re passionate about until they try it. It’s not, wake up one day and say, “I’m passionate about yoga.” Go try a yoga class. Go, I don’t know, rent a surfboard. See if you pick that up. Whatever it is. Find something that you enjoy doing, and anything that’s going to hinder your performance in that will start to fall away.
Greg: For me, I can just kind of speak from experience, I recommend e-cigarettes. If you’ve tried to quit and you can’t, go to e-cigarettes. I think it’s a stepping stone. Speaking from experience, I don’t think e-cigarettes are totally healthy for you, but I know they’re a whole lot healthier than regular cigarettes. I can just tell you by the way I felt and all of that. It was easier to transition off. E-cigarettes come in different levels of nicotine. The highest is like 24 milligram, and then it goes all the way down to zero. Where you get the mouth to lung, the habit, you get that in, and you still get the smoke and the feeling, but there’s no nicotine in it. Once you realize, alright, well the nicotine’s gone. I just got to get rid of this hand to mouth sensation, I guess they call it, that I’m used to. That’s the last kind of step.
Greg: That’s how I did it. I started at a high dose of nicotine. The e-cigarettes dropped way down to zero, where I was kind of smoking just for that sensation, and then from there it was pretty easy to quit.
Matt: That’s a really good point. I didn’t really know too much about the e-cigarettes when I initially went to quit, but again, I wouldn’t say that they’re healthy by any means. It’s definitely better than smoking cigarettes, and I think if you couple those two together. A stepping stone kind of getting yourself away from regular cigarettes, and then maybe added some different kind of activity into your life. You could have really great results. Again, it’s just kind of keeping your eye, you know, on the ball with that sort of thing, and not falling back to the cigarettes. They’re readily available at every gas station you go into, so just do your best to keep that stuff out of mind. I don’t know how e-cigarettes work. Is that something you can even, like can you buy those in a CVS or-
Greg: Oh, yeah. You can buy them at pretty much any gas station now. You can order them online. I mean, you can get them pretty much anywhere now.
Matt: I think that’s a great stepping stone. It would almost be like a maintenance program kind of thing for cigarettes.
Greg: Yeah, it is. As long as you use it correctly.
Matt: Yeah. Just use it correctly, and again, try to set yourself a timeline or a goal to be finished with that. Give yourself a year, whatever. Whatever it is, 18 months, to kind of work your way down that same path with the e-cigarettes. It should be a little bit easier that way, to work your way out of it.
Greg: You also probably got to take a look at your lifestyle. If you’re going out to bars every night, your chances of quitting are going to go way down. You got to take a look at your lifestyle, who you’re hanging around, if the people around you smoke. That’s all going to effect your chances of quitting.
Matt: Absolutely. Yeah, in a lot of our videos Greg and I talk about other things that help with stuff like heroin addiction. In our eyes, I think all addictions are very similar, it just depends on how serious they might be. The steps you take are pretty similar in all of them, and if you surround yourself in the right atmosphere with the right people, it makes things a lot easier.
Greg: Yeah, and look, I’m not trying to judge. The whole idea of this project is to push people towards a healthy lifestyle, and we see a lot of people come out of addiction who are like, “Well, whatever. I quit my addiction to whatever drug it is or alcohol. I’m keeping my cigarettes.” Know that cigarettes kill pretty much more than, killed more people than pretty much anything, besides sugar, I believe.
Greg: Even though it’s a slow death, I know you mentioned in another video that alcohol and stuff like that’s more looked down upon because the results are immediate. You get drunk, you go out and crash a car. With cigarettes, you don’t see that cancer’s forming over a 20 year period, you know what I mean?
Greg: Just be aware that just because you’re not seeing the immediate effects of the cigarettes, you know besides maybe coughing and not feeling as well, but you don’t even realize at the time. It shouldn’t be something you’re like, “Well, I got rid of my drug addiction. This is okay to do still.” Because it can hurt you.
Matt: Yeah, and I mean, again, that’s what Project Unbroken is about in general. It’s not just saying, “Okay, I’m off heroin. That’s good enough.” We are looking to help people overcome their addiction, and then really make their life what they want it to be. For us, it’s not mediocre. We’re looking to optimize the way we feel, to optimize the way we think, and to take steps to just live a better life overall. Again, there’s no judgment there at all, but we’ve been to that point where we were through our heroin addiction. We were kind of smoking cigarettes and whatever. Our lives weren’t as good with cigarettes in them as they are without. We’re just more physically active, and that just leads down to a better path in a lot of different ways.
Matt: It’ll help you out in the long run. It’ll help you out. You just got to kind of set up a game plan and follow the blueprint. You guys can take it wherever you want.
Greg: If you have any more questions on cigarettes or anything, any kind of drugs, alcohol, anything. Let us know. We got plenty more videos coming, so make sure you subscribe below. See you all in the next one.
Matt: See you guys.