I remember it was a girl. It was 1977 and I was 17 years old and I met her at the local swimming pool. She was beautiful and sexy and a smoker. She lit one up and said "Come on...try it....it will make you look cool and hip and older." etc. I didn't care about all that but what I cared about was getting my "hedge clipped" if you know what I mean. Come on, I was a stupid 17 year old kid with my hormones raging. So I did. I smoked one and then another and within a day or two, I was hooked. But who cares? I got what I wanted. :-) Yeah....now I care.
In July of 2017, as my birthday was getting close, I thought to myself "Wow....I have been smoking for 40 years" and it's fixin to be 41 years. Then I thought "No way! There is no way I am going to tell people I have smoked for 41 years......no more....that's it......I am DONE. From now on I am going to say "I quit smoking a month ago....a year ago and maybe some day.....40 years ago" instead. I quit on that day and I am proud to say it has been 54 days since I touched a smoke. Not the longest I have gone but this is different.
Yes I have tried to quit many times throughout my life. The longest I say I went without smoking was 3 months but I didn't really quit. I would bum one here and there from friends when we were all hooched up and drinking together. Bum one after a meal. Bum one after a good hedge clipping. And I would smoke one here and there when my stress level was high. So I was not smoking a pack a day like before so to me I quit. But I didn't and soon after 3 months I was back to a pack a day.
This time was different. I used my past failures as a learning experience. I made notes to myself in my head. I just made mental notes that I can sum up here:
- I don't want to leave my twin 23 year old daughters fatherless
- I am going to save close to $200 a month
- I am ruining my body and I want to be a lot healthier.
- I am not going to fool myself into thinking if I smoke one here an there.....it's ok
- I am not going to let a piece of paper with a herb rolled up in it beat me. It is NOT stronger than me
- I am not going to let the tobacco company exec get rich off me while killing me slowly and legally. Screw those f__ing ********
- I am not going to fail during my trigger moments and I am going to use them to my advantage
- I am sick and tired of smelling like smoke and having to do all I used to do to mask the smell
- I am sick and tried of my breath smelling like smoke
- I do not want my house and truck to smell like smoke (It almost impossible to get out now)
Since that day I have not smoked at all. Not one. At first I used the patch. I had tried gum before and hated it. The patch worked well for the first 7 days. I was at level one 21mg per patch and went to the store to get the next weeks patches. As I was holding the $37 box I thought "this is the same cost as cigarettes. Am I now going to get hooked on the patch?" So at that point I admitted to myself that if I am going to quit, then I am going to do it cold turkey. No tricks, no gum, no pills and no patches. It's all me or I must accept failure. So I put the box down and went cold turkey. I set my mind to it and did it.
- Being around friends that smoke. A lot of mine smoke and light up around me. I don't want to be one of those douches who asks their friends not to smoke around me. But it does make me want one. "Just one" I tell myself but the way I got past these hurdles was to tell myself "Smoke one and you start back at zero. Now its not a month with no cigarettes, its back to day one".
- After meals. Now I just take a walk. Once, after I quit, I found myself at work, after eating lunch at my desk, standing outside where I usually went to smoke. LOL I said "I don't smoke any more, why did I come out here?" Now I go there to walk and relax.
- Stress. I am a network engineer and it gets stressful. I always used to smoke to relieve stress. Now I just deal with it.
- A reward. Smoking a cigarette used to be a reward for me after accomplishing something at work or home. Solve a big problem and go smoke a cig to celebrate. Now I start on my next challenge.
Lastly, I am 99.99999% sure I will never smoke again. I am past the hurdle I think. I watch people smoke and I can smell it and it makes me sick. I can smell people walk by me who just went outside to smoke and I can smell the stench on them. The first time that happened I thought "OMG is that how I smelled when I walked in from smoking?" Never again. I hope this helps someone out there but I really wrote this for myself. I am proud of me.