In my mind, smoking helped. That seems to be the hardest piece to overcome. It helped when I was stressed by too much work. It helped when I needed to relax. It helped pass the time during my commute. It helped by giving me a reason to take breaks and go outside. It stopped me from pulling my hair out. It made me feel oddly sexy. It gave me peace.
I know that every single piece of this is a lie. The work stress never went away because of a cigarette. It went away because I got up from my desk and walked outside. It may have helped pass time in the car, but I also realize it caused me to take my eyes off of the road to search for my lighter — over and over again. It was the reason I asked my daughters to drive separately. Now I realize I lost precious quiet time with them just because I wanted to smoke. Did it make me sexy? Well, all I have to do is look around at the people who’ve continued to smoke for years and years. THAT is not a sexy look. It’s an old, haggard, dirty look. Peace didn’t come from a cigarette. Peace comes from focusing on something outside of yourself, from finishing a job successfully, from tucking your child into bed, from the kiss of someone who loves you, from knowing that you are connected to everything and everyone in this universe, and from knowing that facing challenges is just one way that we are polishing our souls and becoming gold.