I haven’t posted anything for a while because I’ve been in prison since Thursday afternoon. Well, not constantly. My team would leave around 9pm to sleep in a nearby church gym, and then return at 7am each day. I’ve been with this volunteer program for 13 years now. We put on a retreat in April and October, and follow up with the participants weekly every Wednesday evening. So, while I have mentioned many times here that I have quit 6 times before, that isn’t exactly accurate. In addition to those 6 attempted quits, I have stopped smoking 26 times for 3 and ½ days in the last 13 years. And every single one of those times, I tried to make up all the cigarettes I missed on the following Monday. Even though I didn’t think about smoking the entire weekend, I was pretty sure today would be a trigger. And it was big time. But I got thru it, and I’m fine now.
It’s weird how all those prison weekends were bearable for me. It was similar with the 2 times I’ve been hospitalized for a few days, or when I travelled overseas. If I was in a situation where I knew I could not smoke, I could bear it as long as I had a time certain that I would be able to smoke. During that 2nd hospitalization, the doctors began talking about possibly keeping me for 3 days rather than 2. I started panicking, because I was mentally prepared for 2 days, not 3. Even though I had survived plenty of my 3 and ½ day prison weekends at that point.
Last night, one of the newer volunteers asked me how I got started in this ministry. I explained that I had volunteered in nursing homes for many years until I just couldn’t take it anymore. He asked what I meant by that. I told him I got tired of getting so close to someone, only to have them die on me. So I looked for some other way to volunteer my time, and just sorta fell into this. I was thinking about that conversation when I got on EX this morning, and saw that apparently, 3 more of my recent friends here seem to have disappeared. With all my failed attempts at quitting, I certainly can’t judge anyone. But it still saddens me greatly every time I notice someone drop off.