It's funny now to look at how people react to the developing me. I'm not going to say a new me because I'm always a work in progress. When I stop evolving, then it's time to lay down for the last time. But I thought I'd share what I noticed about my family, friends, acquaintances I haven't seen in a year.
I live in small town USA. Basically it's cliquey, gossipy, just an all around fun place to be for an snarky old lady like myself. I grew up in a larger city and moved here back in 1981 and met and married my husband in 1982. My husband has been one of those occasional smokers. He can start and stop anytime he wanted to (curse his soul)........ anyhooo, I've been a chain smoking steam engine ever since I was 16. Tried the first slow dance with nicotine at age 12. None of my existing friends, even high school friends that I've kept in contact with knew me as a nonsmoker. My children have always known me as a smoker as have my husband.
Oh, sure, they all wanted me to quit but I always gave them the classic response of when I'm ready, I'll quit. Well, after many failed attempts (don't think I ever made it past 5 days), they were all doubting Thomasas. Yeah, yeah, we've heard this before. Then the realization of 1 week turned into 30 days turned into 274 days, coming close to a year. They are I think at times still waiting for me to fail again. People who I know in town see me and are quite shocked to hear that I gave up drinking and smoking at the same time. The woman who always preached that she only had two vices in life and I'm not giving them up now.
Now, my older daughter who still drinks seems to find the need to now suddenly bring up that I've always seemed so aloof and now more so. She was a former smoker but really was like her father, smoked hither and yon and actually still does. She's the one claiming that I now need an antidepressant because I've cut everyone off. Well, no, I'm just simply going through my first year being a nonsmoker and every gathering you have involves alcohol. Now, I'm more comfortable around it, but I sure wasn't back when I started my quit. I find I don't have much tolerance for people that do stupid things while drinking. This perspective or attitude has just shown up over the last few months for her. I'm doing fine, I think. She just lost her drinking buddy.
Then we have my other daughter. Thank goodness I only have two, otherwise we'd be here all morning!!!! She is my smoker who gave up drinking but still is smoking. She did have a hard time when in the beginning I was withdrawn and sadgry and just basically pissed off at the world. God, mom, you should finally be over all of that. That finally came to an end when she accepted that she lost her smoking buddy. This is how it's going to be. I'm not going back to make you more comfortable.
Now, enters my husband. We actually have a better relationship now because we talk more. I could never smoke around him because it was really starting to bother him. The secondhand smoke for the last 35 years was taking its toll. He doesn't have to come into a house smelling like an ashtray. He's still dealing with my straight up attitude now. When I'm angry, I'm going to let you know about it and we're done. The only thing he had problems dealing with was the over sensitivity in the very beginning. The oh, poor me, blah, blah, blah. I'll be honest, I'll get those every once in a while. But I understand that's a trigger for me to smoke or drink and I've learned to address the problem head on now. Get over it and go about my day.
Friends who haven't seen me in over a year and are smokers will almost run the other way when they see me coming if they know that I've quit smoking. Basically in this town, the only real thing to do is hang out in a bar. Everything around here seems to be centered around alcohol. When you don't drink anymore and don't want to be around that, you do seem to lose touch with quite a few people. I'm not a preachy type of quitter. I'll give you advice when you ask for it face to face. Here if you find I'm just out of line or pushing the envelope too far, just tell me to back off. I respect that. No worries. I guess the point of this long-winded blog is that when you are traveling through the maze of quitting, discovering new things about yourself, about others around you, what trips you up, what lifts you up, just remember that you have the command of this ship. You are the captain navigating how difficult this journey will be. It's time to be a little selfish and worry about yourself. How you perceive life in general will be changing for you. If you were truly addicted like myself and really had a more emotional tie to smoking, you'll finally come to a realization of how much we used smoking and the gray curtain to hide things, to stuff things down, to mask what we were feeling or perhaps even what we didn't want to bring out. Embrace the day. Find something every day to smile about, laugh about, shake your head about. Life is all about choices and you can choose to be an Ex-smoker..........