Yep folks, today’s post has been in the making for 42 years. I started smoking when I was 13 years old. That was a long time ago. At various points in my life, I smoked as much as 2 packs a day, either Pall Malls or Camels. Yes sir, 2 packs a day of non-filter cigarettes while I was stationed near the DMZ in Korea when I was barely 18. That went on for maybe a year.
I was the type of smoker that really enjoyed smoking. The draw, the taste, that first smoke of the day with that first cup of coffee. Oh yeah baby!
At various points in my life there were “warnings” that perhaps I should quit, or at least slow down a bit.
Like when I went into rehab to address my alcohol addiction, I should have quit. Later, when I was diagnosed with “exercise induced asthma” by the military, I probably should have quit then too. Then of course, there was the first time I got pneumonia. I could barely smoke 3 cigarettes a day, and it was like getting stabbed in the lungs with long razor blades, but there I was, smoking those 3 – 4 smokes because I “had to.”
Last year, around Father’s Day, I decided I was really needing to quit. I got winded just tying a pair of shoes! I was thinking, “This is freakin’ ridiculous!” There have been various points over the course of the past year where I would go one, two, sometimes even three days without smoking. Invariably, I would always start smoking again because I felt like I was missing something. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I couldn’t tell you what that something was, but by God, I was missing out on it!
It’s amazing to me that no matter the addiction we are dealing with, the behaviors are always the same. We will try to “control” the addiction; “I’ll only smoke 7 a day.” “I won’t smoke before 10:00.” “I won’t smoke in the car, truck, etc.” Actually, that one I adhered to.
Then there was “I’ll only smoke filtered cigarettes.” “What will I do with myself if I don’t have that first smoke/after dinner smoke/I’m going to bed smoke?” Yep, it was the classic, “I’m losing a friend” insanity. Shit … addiction is SO insidious!
Then there is the also classic “Fuck You!” conversation that you have with yourself xx times a day:
Me: I am not gonna smoke dammit!
My Addiction: You want one! Think about how good it will taste!
Me: Fuck You!
My Addiction: No, Fuck You! Have one! There now; Isn’t that better?
Well friends … today is the eighth day I have not had any cigarettes.
There are still times when I can not breath as well as I could be, but to some extent, that will improve.
I’ve saved $25 not spent on 3 packs of Camels. I have not had to wash and dry my face, neck, and hands every time I had a smoke because, well, I’m not smoking. The clothes I wear each day do not smell of cigarette smoke, and neither do I!
There is still that nagging feeling of “wanting one,” but now it is a more subdued, quiet, in-the-background kind of whisper I have not answered for eight days now. That unanswered whisper is becoming more and more faint as each day passes. I am still trying to find things to do with my hands! I am drinking more of my beloved Imperial & Dragon Well Green Teas, and much more water and coffee as well.
For now, as with my program of recovery remaining clean & sober, I will take this not smoking challenge “one day at a time.”