So back in September I picked up smoking again. All I really want to say about that is that was a month of incredibly high stress. Things were going on with Drue, things were going on with new clients, things were going on with old clients and there were a lot of emotional things hitting me all at once. And well, on the day all of this converged I was hanging out with someone who smokes. So I bummed one cig. Then I bummed another. And by the time we’d left I had smoked half a pack. And then the next morning, I went out and got a pack of my old favorites and six weeks later I am sitting here with a mild smokers cough and a pile of smelly clothes wishing I hadn’t started back up. You see before I succumbed to my ongoing desire to have “just one”, it was seven years, two months, one week and two days since my last cigarette. And before you go all “wow you go girl!” on me, let me be clear, that was seven years, two months, one week and two days of wanting to smoke a cigarette.
You see I am not one of those people who quit for all the right reasons. I quit because I was in the hospital for stress, dehydration and exhaustion after collapsing at home and since I hadn’t had a cigarette in about ten days figured now was as good a time as any to quit. Plus I had the motivation of a little girl who constantly asked me when I was going to quit smoking. That is, she asked in between rounds of finding my cigarette hiding places and, upon finding a pack or two, would gleefully flush them down the toilet singing “bye bye smokes!” as she did it. Basically her stubborn and my stubborn were at war and her stubborn took advantage of my collapse and won. The end.
This time around is different. I’ve really enjoyed my five weeks and two days of smoking like a fiend. I’ve even made it up to six a day evenly distributed from morning to last thing before bed. And socially cigarettes make everything easier. Huddling 100 yards from a building bumming a smoke bonds you for life, or, at least the next 5 minutes. But that darn cough came back, almost immediately. And as an asthmatic, granted one who only wheezes after high amounts of aerobic exercise but still – my poor lungs were pissed off and my inhaler wasn’t as effective as when I wasn’t smoking. I also watched my 14 year old – you know that cute kid who used to flush my cigarettes down the toilet? – asking me questions about the taste, why people smoke, and it must not be too bad if her two favorite people in the world do it! So I told her the truth. I told her smoking was an addiction and a nasty, smelly one to boot. I explained that some people can start up and quit and just walk away and be fine but that I have an addictive personality and that it is genetically possible she has one too which means if she starts smoking she will spend a lot of her life quitting smoking, wanting to smoke, talking herself out of smoking and maybe even falling off the wagon and smoking again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Or she could turn into a smoker raising her risk for mouth, throat, lung and a plethora of other cancers not to mention heart issues as she ages. And as she listened her eyes got bigger and bigger until she finally agreed that maybe quitting and quitting for good would be a good thing. I agree, baby girl.
So yesterday I had my final cigarette in my final box. And no, I am not magically cured. Yes, I would LOVE to have another cigarette, thank you. But nope I think I’ll sit over here with my cup of coffee or little glass of wine and enjoy the fact that I don’t smell like an ashtray. And while I won’t judge you, or you, or you for smoking, don’t judge me when I move away from you a little. It’s only to ensure I don’t come over and start this ride all over again with the words, “hey can I bum a smoke?”.