I'm coming up on 12 weeks and feeling pretty good. Tonight I was packing groceries and kids into the car when I suddenly smelled cigarette smoke. But it wasn't a nice nostalgic smell Instead it was so strong and irritating. That second hand smoke smell. It really bothered me and for a second I was wondering what the smell was that was irritating me. I thought maybe it was burning plastic or something. Then I looked over and a guy was smoking a cigarette a couple of cars away. I just wanted to get away from the awful smell so bad. Finally I got everything loaded and jumped in the car. I don't know why but the smell irritated me more than I ever remember. I remember in past quits being both tempted and irritated by the smell, but this time was like no time ever before. It felt invasive and purely toxic. The crazy thing is that I know that even though I'm not particularly tempted to smoke for the most part these days, if I did have one I'd be disgusted for the first couple of puffs and then I'd be right back into the habit right away. I know cus I've done that so many times before. I want to apologize to the world for putting that toxic smell out there so many thousands and thousands of times. What I realize too is that the smoke smell actually carries for a couple hundred feet. And to think restaurants and airplanes used to have smoking sections that were just separated conceptually and not physically. I remember even sneaking a smoke with a friend at that back of a plane on a transcontinental flight in 1988 when I was in high school on a trip with my school. It was easy to do because the whole area smelled of smoke. No doubt the whole plane smelled of smoke .I can't imagine how a nonsmoker could have tolerated being next to a smoker who was flicking ashes into those little ashtrays they had in the arm rests. Can you imagine being a nonsmoker stuck in a middle seat between two smokers? It must have happened pretty frequently. What a nightmare. Even as a smoker I remember getting headaches in bars and coffee shops that were too smokey. I'm so glad that indoor smoking is pretty much banned in most places in modern first world countries.
Anyhow, I'm finding myself not thinking about smoking much through out the day except when I'm reflecting on it at the end of the day I go hours and hours at work and with my family without even thinking about them. In fact, I sometimes find myself surprised thinking, wow I haven't thought about cigarettes for the whole day. It's so wonderful to be so much more present throughout the day. And more focused too. The only thing I've been finding is that my breathing still seems a bit heavy when I go running on the treadmill. I've been running about 5k three or four days a week. Some days I can do it in about 26 minutes, but other days my chest feels heavy smh I can only do it in about 30 minutes. This is much better than 10 weeks ago when I could only go about 4k in 40 minutes, but I feel like my lungs are not as strong as they should be or were in the past. I feel like I have this slight wheeze still. My quit smoking app says that I should have less wheezing after about 18 weeks so I'm hoping to see more improvement as I go forward.
I'm so happy to be getting stronger and stronger in my quit, but I know from many lost quits in the past that I have to stay on guard and not get complacent in this quit. I won't really start celebrating until I get past 10 months because I have lost about 4 or 5 quits that were about 8 or 9 months long in the last 20 years and many others that were 3 to 4 months long. I have even lost two quits that were around two years when I was in high school and in college. So I am waiting for 1 year to have a small celebration and then two years for a bigger one. The years quit and I'll have a major celebration. But I'm always going to remember all the people I've seen here and a good friends mom who lost quits that were up to a decade long. So until I get to one year, I'm going to stay extremely vigilant in this quit and I'm going to enjoy my growing self awareness and improved health. I'm going to remind myself daily that I'm doing this for my survival, in all seriousness, and in the hopes of thriving in my life more than I ever have. I am fortunate that despite being mid 40s and having smoked a pack a day for the most part of the last 29 years, my health is pretty good and I'm in pretty good physical shape. However I know that there is a line that is not that far off where if I continue to smoke ill not be able to maintain good health and in great likelihood I'll become sick. Conversely, I also know that if I don't smoke and continue to exercise and work on self awareness and becoming more mindful I'll have a good chance of thriving more in my life and hopefully have great health. Each day I must stay away from the addict within and live the life that is aligned with my values and beliefs rather than in line with junky habits and thoughts aquired as an adolescent. I realize how powerful adolescence is. I pray I can keep my children aligned with positive attitudes and habits when they are in their teens, for this will most likely influence the behaviors that they follow for the rest of their lives.
In order to live a thriving life now and going forward, and to influence my children's development of attitudes and behaviors that lead them to thriving lives as adults, I must stay vigilant in my quit this time at all costs! The line has been drawn and I must never cross it again. For there might be no turning back if I return to the siren call of the nicodemon junky that lies within