Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Chose to QUIT LIFE

Today is my one year anniversary of quitting smoking.

I quit... tried to quit put on the pretence of trying to quit many times, however it was just that, a pretence, a illusion a delusion. I was lying to myself and everyone else every time. I wasn't ready to quit, I didn't want to quit. My smokes were my security blanket, they were my go to guys when life's little stressors got to be too much, leaving them behind was scary, it was like ripping off that band aid painfully slowly. I tried it all, the patch, the gum, the inhaler, cold turkey, hypnotism and cutting back slowly (this one being the biggest joke of all). Oh and I am ashamed to admit that I even was that smoker who "quit" but really just quit buying my own but I'd sure smoke yours. Then, on this day last year I'd had enough.

I was sick of being breathless, of coughing up a lung each morning... sick of coughing all the time. I felt bad at the look of worry on my kids faces when I'd light up. I put on a patch and kept it on. I used the patch for 7 days and then I was done. I never picked up a cigarette again. Sometimes a fleeting thought will pass through my mind saying, "oh I should have a smoke", then I give myself a mental slap and wonder what the hell I was thinking. Where did that thought even come from? Thankfully as quickly as that thought is conjured it is gone. I have never had a mind numbing, nail biting, I'm-gonna-chew-your-head-off-if-you-don't-give-me-a-smoke craving this time and for this I'm thankful It made quitting for good easy.

In the years prior to my quitting people would dish out all sorts of advice but the one I hated the most was "you'll quit when you are ready". I used to think what bullshit, pfffftt, if I wanted to quit I would. I could quit anytime. YEEEEAAAAHHHHHH RIIIIIIIIIGHT. Not so. To my horror I couldn't, I truly had to be ready, I had to hit bottom so to speak...and I did. I am thankful that it wasn't a health related issue that caused me to be ready, but just my own mind.

Now the smell of cigarette smoke makes me nauseous. I smell people who do smoke and think EWWWWWWW that used to be me. I do not however begrudge anyone else their choice to smoke. I refuse to become one of those former smokers who becomes a zealot about not smoking. I can choose to be some where away from a smoker if I don't like it.

It is funny to me how I can so vividly remember the day I quit, yet I can't really remember the day I started. I remember my first puff of a cigarette; cute boy who smoked + wanting to look "cool" = taking a puff of his proffered cigarette. After that I can't remember when I really started smoking. Back in the day all the "cool" kids I thought were cool smoked. And I wanted to be a part of them, I wanted to belong. Well, that, and I was sort of a rebel, stuff my parents didn't want me to do, I did. I was a bad ass. I broke rules and pushed limits. I was COOL stubbornly stupid.

My Dad who was a smoker for many years (he quit a few years ago cold turkey) tried to tell me that it was bad for me, and very hard to quit. Of course I brushed off his fatherly advice with disdain and a sneer... I mean, seriously what could he possibly know? I was hip, I was young, I was with it... he was an old man, a washed up...a has been. How funny it is now to look back at that attitude. Things certainly come full circle, I now value the advice, knowledge and life experience that my Dad possesses and imparts to me.

I was an athlete. I played hockey, soccer and I ran distance, but I blew it away in a puff of smoke. I had such potential to go far with my athletics; however I didn't see that at the time. I was the shizzit...I knew it all ... I was going places. I was invincible.

Now, here I am facing 40 realizing how very disillusioned I was.

One blessing that I can see is that my children witnessed my struggle to quit so I don't foresee them picking up a cigarette in their future. Combine that with the fact that it is now a social stigma to be a smoker and my certainty climbs.

I sit here today unbelievably proud of myself for this milestone. I congratulate myself on doing it; I pray for and believe I will have many, many more smoke free years. I never thought I'd quit. People who know me never thought I'd quit, but I did it and you can too!!

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Congratulations!! I remember when you quit, you did it day by day and look where you are now. You are an inspiration! So many people do not have the strength to do what you did. I know everyone who knows you is so proud of what you did. And now that you have posted it, maybe someone else trying to find the strength to quit will be inspired.