“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.“
― Mark Twain
When I was 14 years old I went to live with my father. He wasn’t home much though and I found myself getting in to all kinds of mischief in his absence.
One day while he was gone me and my best friend at the time, Shelby, went to hang out with some older guys she knew. I don’t really know how old those guys were. They were both smokers and watching them I thought they looked very cool. After hanging out for a little while, joking and making small talk, Shelby started making out with one of the guys. I felt a bit awkward and I think the other guy did too. Next thing I knew though the other guy slipped his arm around my waist and pulled me toward him. His kissed me and I felt his tongue push into my mouth and I gagged. His mouth tasted like an old ashtray. With some effort I was able to choke back the vomit pushing into my throat. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of Shelby and her older friends. I made up some excuse to go home and we never saw those guys again.
Kissing that guy was the most disgusting thing I had ever experienced in my life and I vowed to never, ever smoke cigarettes! I didn’t want to smell and taste the way that guy smelled and tasted. I could not understand why anyone would want to smoke if it smelled and tasted like that??
Two years later I was living back with my mom. A lot of my new friends were smoking weed now. We would walking from the bus stop to the school in a group, stopping in areas we felt were safe to stand in a circle and pass a blunt around. One day after smoking another kid hands me a Newport. I tell him I don’t smoke cigarettes abut he promises it will boost my high if I do. After that every time I smoked weed, I smoked a cigarette.
I don’t know when exactly it happened but slowly I started smoking cigarettes even when I wasn’t high. I was buying more and more packs and so were all my friends. We were sharing cigarettes and buying cartons. I moved out and got an apartment with a few friends. We all smoked inside and the whole apartment smelled like an ashtray. The walls we beginning to yellow and there was a layer of cigarette ash every where. It was disgusting.
Jump forward 10 years and I am still smoking. It’s sad really but I admit I am wholly addicted to nicotine. I have improved some of my habits. I don’t smoke in the house or in the car. I really only smoke at work so on weekends and breaks from my job I hardly smoke at all. I don’t smoke a pack a day either, which I do think is good compared to my friends.
“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”
― Brooke Shields
I do think that it has been long enough though and I’m starting to worry about long term health problems. I’ve always known of the risks around smoking but I was young and thought things like cancer and COPD would never happen to me, but I just turned 29 and my mindset is changing. I read something the other day that said if you quit by the time you turn 30 you can get back a decade of your life! I know that is just a statistic but maybe one day it could almost like I was never a smoker. I would hate myself if one day I had to leave Chardonnay alone because I died! If she had to lose me because of a stupid choice I made when I was 16 and continued to make everyday after. I’m done.
Sadly this will not be my first time trying to quit. I have failed many times, many, many times, and I have started to think maybe I just can’t do this. I like being a smoker. I like that I have a excuse to leave any situation. I like that I have a instant stress reliever. I like that I have a friend wherever I go, just look for the smokers. I love that cigarettes go so well with my morning coffee and my evening cocktails. It’s not just the nicotine that is hard to give up, it’s all the things I enjoy about being a smoker too.
But this time will be different, I hope. I have a better plan than I did all the times before. I have a date set to quit, May 1st will be my first cigarette free day. I have apps on my phone to track my progress. The longer I go without smoker the less I will want to. I won’t want to break my chain of days without cigarettes. I have my writing to keep me busy. Anytime I have a craving I will just breathe for 10 seconds and start writing, the craving will pass. I am going to buy a bunch of snakes, preferably healthy ones, this weekend. I have a friend who is planning on quitting with me but I am going to do this even if she doesn’t.
I have also changed my mindset too. I know this will be hard. This is really going to suck. I am going to be unhappy and I’m going to be uncomfortable but it will pass. I can do this! Many people have and if they can so can I. The only thing holding me back if fear. No more fear, no more cigarettes.
So wish me luck! And if you have any advice or words of encouragement please share them with me. I will be needing all the help I can get!