Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Tenth Anniversary being a Non-Smoker

Ten years ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life. I quit smoking. I quit cold turkey and I've never (thankfully) had any real desire to start back. Not to say that, if cigarette smoking were not harmful, I wouldn't joyfully resume, but we all know that's not the case, so I remain tobacco-free.

Why did I quit? Because I was ready to. I had smoked since I was a teenager, first stealing my parents' cigarettes, and then, moving in to buying my own. I cringe to think of that now, but it is what it is. I loved smoking -- I loved the feel of it, the way it looked, the calming I felt when inhaling that (nasty) smoke. I also liked the feeling of being a rebel, doing what people told me not to do, being a little bit on the edge.

I tried to quit a couple of times. Once, I quit for a few days because I was too hungover to smoke. Now, that has to conjure up a picture that isn't pretty, as well it should. In my pitiful defense, let me add that this was the New Year's Day that I was supposed to see my first ex-lover and his new wife at a gathering, and I think that knowledge goaded me into consuming way too much alcohol. Duh, you say. Yes, you're right -- duh! Funny thing is, he didn't even attend the gathering, and actually, neither did I, because I was feeling like roadkill myself. I resumed smoking within a few days.

The second time I tried to quit was during my first marriage -- the marriage to the emotionally abusive alcoholic. In fact, we both attempted to quit at the same time. BIG mistake. HUGE. The ensuing tension we both felt fed upon itself, and made me realize in just short of a day's time that there was no way we would survive each other if we both quit at the same time. So, we started smoking again.

The last time I quit was on this day 1o years ago, when I had bronchitis with a sinus infection AGAIN. Now, I've always had sinus infections, ear infections, etc., since infancy, so that alone was not anything new. But this time, it hurt too much to inhale that poisonous smoke, thank goodness. I had spoken with my family doctor perhaps a year prior to this date to ask him for help in quitting. That was when you had to have a prescription for "The Patch". He told me, very wisely, that he would give me the prescription, but he urged me NOT to fill it just yet. His advice to me was that I "needed to get my head right" about this first, that no amount of chemical help was going to be worthwhile until and unless I was completely ready to take this step. As it turned out, I never had to fill that prescription.

I still have two siblings who smoke, and it tears me up to think about. My brother has a lifelong history of asthma, and my sister has a son with asthma. She herself has been battling repeated upper respiratory problems this year especially, and her little son needs breathing treatments on a fairly regular basis. I know this is at least in part because of her smoking around him. I've tried to be as supportive and encouraging as I know how to be, because I truly do understand how hard it is to quit and how much you really enjoy those cigarettes. But if I could accomplish one positive thing in my life, it would be to help these two precious loves of my life overcome their addiction and habit.

So, if you think of it, raise a glass for me today, and say a little prayer for my brother and sister. If I could do it, and my other sister could do it, the other two can -- I just know it.



Tater said...

wow! that is a HUGE deal!! i am so proud of you. you rock.

Dr. A said...

Great job! BTW, thanks so much for the link. I've added you to my link list as well. Keep up the great work!

Genevieve said...

Congratulations on quitting and staying quit!

I smoked a pack a day or more for 20 years so I know where you're coming from in this post.

Cold turkey is the only way to go. Tapering off is a joke.

I'll never smoke again, thank God. I feel sorry for those who do because I know the addiction well.

RunAwayImagination said...

Congratulations!! You ROCK!!!