I started test driving smoking at age 12. I was the fat kid with glasses wanting so desperately to be accepted, liked, be popular, belong. I think with most addicts that's how it all starts. We all search for something to make us into somebody we wished we'd be. We don't learn until later in life that we have the inner strength to do that, to accomplish that ourselves. Some people never do.
We're a rare breed that we started recreationally and then developed into a full blown addict. We by far are not slipping off into the alleyways and scoring a bag. But some of us do sneak off around the house, sneaking a few puffs here and there because nobody will ever know. Like the functioning alcoholic sticking their whiskey in their soda can or coffee cup, nobody will never know. I remember when I was 16 when my addiction was finally becoming stronger going in the bathroom, opening the window, and spraying the air freshener. My dad smoked, nobody will ever know. Mom did as she found the burn marks on the windowsill.
I was a Benson and Hedges type of gal and then went on to smoking Virginia Slims. Then they came out with these lower tar and nicotine cigarettes and then these new filters at the end. Somehow that was to help people. I'm still trying to figure that one out, but hey, it was a good marketing technique at the time. I remember my first time trying to quit. Never did understand way back then in the '70s why it was so hard. My goodness, it was only a habit. I remember my doctor giving me a nicotine patch to wear back in the '80s. Why, it's only cigarettes I'm quitting. What do I have to wear that for?
Then we came out with these wonderful e-cigarettes. Nasty things. I always (so I thought) enjoyed the taste of a cigarette. All of those e-juices all tasted like Betadine smells. Anybody remember Mercurochrome? Stuff stained everything for days. You also could buy your cigarettes online for the longest time. I'd order between 4 to 6 cartons a month. Only cost me at the time $75 to $150 a month. Then came roll your own cigarettes. Smoking pipe tobacco, what was I thinking? But hey, it was cheaper than buying them. The state tax keeps going up and up and up. People would say, then why don't you just quit. Pffft, I don't want to quit right now. I'll quit when I'm ready. Yeah, right.
I remember for the longest time you could buy a carton of cigarettes for $35. I always said when they get to 50 bucks a carton, I'm quitting. Well, they did. When they get to $60 a carton, I'm quitting. I think I finally got with the program when I paid $60.53 without tax. Now the price is unbelievable. Even those raunchy cheaper brands are 6-something a pack. The last time I bought a pack of cigarettes was around this time last year and it was $7.00 with a mini lighter. That began the process of “cutting down.” What I was thinking there, I have no clue. To think I thought I was doing so well when I was only smoking 2 packs a week, but then we both know that the following week crept up to 3, and then next 4 and you know what happens then.
When I write about this almost a year later, it seems so silly to me now. How I had that stranglehold on that cigarette. How I never wanted to give it up. How I could never imagine myself not smoking. If I ever had one vice in life, it will be smoking. If I'm going to die of something, it will be with a cigarette in my hand. Remember? Does it make any sense to you now? Yes, when I get really, really upset about something (I'm encompassing upset with depressed, sad, angry, frustrated, lonely, etc.) and it comes out of the blue, one of those excuse me, what?? moments, my mind goes back to the tried and true for a split instant but then I stop it. It's like a spinning jack on the floor. Bam, my hand goes down and it stops. I know what it's doing and it's not going there.
I don't have everything figured out. I'm sure there's going to be a boatload of situations yet to come in this upcoming new year that I have to deal with. I know there will be a few pitfalls that are going to show up. But I'm going to learn from all of you here. I'm going to listen to all of you here. I'm going to know that you all will be here if I'm struggling. I'm going to know that no problem is a small insignificant problem. It's a problem that will be heard. I want to wish all of you a very happy new year. I'm very happy to announce that I will be a year free as of January 25th. The evolution of this smoker has come full circle and it's because of all of you.......... thank you.