Joni wrote a great blog earlier today about confronting a memory, the memory of being at the gas station counter to buy cigarettes. She looked that beast in the eye, drew her sword, and easily defeated it. I hope she doesn’t mind, but I’m going to build on her story here.
Her story got me thinking of how easily “pack of merit ultra lights please” could roll off my tongue the next time I’m at the gas station, and – here’s the ah-ha moment I had after her blog – the clerk would sell them to me!
I don’t have a big sign bobbing over my head that says “don’t give her any cigarettes.” An alarm won’t go off when they swipe my debit card. If I ask for a pack, the clerk will reach up, fumble around (cuz the merits are always hard to find), drop it on the counter in front of me, punch the total into the register, and blandly wait for me to hand over my money.
I think this is the first time I’ve truly understood the level of accountability I have to myself. It would be so easy to detach from that responsibility, to take each little step down the path until I convince myself that smoking was inevitable, or outside of my control. It’s not. I CHOOSE not to let the words “pack of merit ultra lights please” ever pass my lips again. Every time temptation creates a fork in the road I CHOOSE which direction to go.
Be accountable to yourself! We talk all the time about how you are the only one who can make yourself smoke. Well, you are ALSO the only one who can STOP yourself from smoking! You think the gas station clerk cares? Think again!
When temptation strikes, and your “pack of xxxx” sentence is on the tip of your tongue as the clerk stares at you, waiting for you to say something, stop and ask yourself “what would the strong, proud, happy non-smoker inside of me do?”
Ask for a “pack of long happy life” instead.