There are so many reasons to quit smoking. It isn't as if you have to really go looking for a reason, right? They are there, they are numerous, and they are all compelling. It's life and death, after all.
But in spite of all those reasons, I didn't make what I feel is my most serious quit effort until now. And I think I know what led to it.
About a week before I found this site and declared a quit date, a co-worker shared news about a former employee. She was in the hospital recovering after a heart attack. She's my age (mid-to-late 40s). When I expressed shock, the co-worker mentioned that this was the second former employee to have a heart attack recently. She mentioned the name of another woman who was now at home recovering. She's also my age.
Both women are heavy smokers.
I had trouble sleeping that night and woke up at about 3 a.m. When my husband came downstairs a bit later to see what was going on, I said, "I have to quit," and told him about the two co-workers.
I wonder why THAT did it. I work for a hospice. I KNOW smoking kills. I have known smokers in my friend-circle, professional life, and family who died too young. I always knew exactly what smoking took from me, physically and otherwise. I never put the blinders on. Instead, I just felt deeply ashamed that I knew and did it anyway. But, for whatever reason, this particular episode nailed it down for me. I have to quit.
The brain is so mysterious. Addiction as a disease is still, I think, largely a mystery. So, as I begin Day 3, I'm just going to reflect on and appreciate the mysterious brain. I'm thankful for the gift it gave me a few weeks ago when it helped me decide, again, but more strongly than ever, that I had to quit, even if I don't understand it. And I will respect this brain and this disease, understanding that it can take that gift away just as easily. As you guys put it, I have to protect the gift--the quit--and resist all the ways an addicted brain can sabotage even the best efforts.
Resist. Reclaim. Rejoice. I think those are my new three Rs.
Happy Thursday to everyone. To all the newbie quitters, I wish you a day of strong resistance. And to all the elders who are so generous with us, I wish you the joy you deserve--for your success, and for your role in helping others achieve it.