Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Smoking Story

Hi Dayna and Denise
I started smoking when I was 17. The reason I started was some kind of peer thing. After that it was a constant struggle to quit. Every New Year it was one of my resolutions. Over the years I tried everything that was out there to help you stop except hypnotism. I never would let anyone hypnotise me because I was always afraid they would make me run around in circles, flapping my arms and clucking like a chicken. It wasn't worth the risk. I even managed to quit a couple of times but only for a month or so. Once I quit on Nicorete Gum. I couldn't stand the taste of the gum nor the effect of it, so I started cutting it up into little pieces. About 1/16 of a piece was all I could stand so when I had an urge I would take this tiny piece and it would make the urge go away. It worked and I was smoke free. Then one night sitting in a bar with some friends I reached over and took a cigarette out of someone's pack and it was all over. So much for good intentions as they were not working with me. 6 years ago I was working on my computer and suddenly I started coughing up blood. My wife hustled me off to the local hospital and we spent the evening there trying to determine what was wrong. When I got back home and you probably know what I'm going to say, the first thing I did was light a cigarette. Then I put it out and said to myself "you've got to be the biggest jerk in the world for lighting up after that". I sat at my desk and just concentrated on all of the reasons I needed to quit, no written lists, just concentration. I thought about; how I smelled, my teeth, my clothes, my grandson, my general health, the public taboo that was just now starting to show up, most of my friends didn't smoke, the hastle of standing outside of no smoking places to catch a quick one, the money I was losing from 3 packs a day, and the reasons went on and on. I wouldn't let my self quit the process. Finally I stopped and said "no more smoking". The bleeding was because I was taking to much aspirin for a toothache. Interestingly when I stopped the aspirin I found out that I didn't have a toothache. Go figure? It wasn't easy but I persevered but it was easier than it ever had been because I had my mind made up for good. No more good intentions just dogged determination. My wife helped because she gave it up also but that didn't last very long for her. I concentrated on all of the negative things about smoking, the next few months. Things such as; how my clothes smelled when I got home at night from being in a bar, how my skin smelled, watching people have to go outside to smoke in the freezing weather, getting into my wife's car, all of the things I had concentrated on coming out of the Hospital. No lists to read but each time I got an urge to light up I concentrated on why I didn't want to smoke. I've now stopped for 6 years and I don't feel that I would ever want to go back again. I still have short urges to smoke but just a tiny thought or two about the negative aspects chases the urge away. What I really wanted was for my wife to quit. I knew that it would do absolutely no good for me to try and force her, or embarrass her or hassle her. She had to do it on her own. Finally she said "You need a new pickup, time to retire 'Old Blue". I argued that we couldn't afford a new pickup for me and besides "Old Blue" had lots of miles in her. My wife announced that she would quit smoking and use that money to make the payments on the truck. I jumped on that offer in a heartbeat. The other benefit was that when my wife quit, my daughter quit and we now all have each other to fall back on. I think my secret was when I stopped making lists and just plain concentrated on reason to quit. It's like putting real meat in with good intentions.


dayna said...

*L* Thinking about that little piece of nicorette diced up into 16 pieces. Laughing out loud. Good for you !!!

Denise said...

I laughed at that part too, tiny little Nicorette gum pieces. It also made me think of our Dad going through his Nicorette phases. He'd chew that gum like gangbusters and smoke right along with it. And he hated the taste of that gum too, just hated it. I'd say, "Why chew the gum, since you hate it so much, if you're just going to smoke anyways?" He'd say, "Well, this way, if I do decide to quit I'm already used to the gum." *LOL*

That's a great story. I've just passed my one month with no cigarette's mark and I'm not looking back. I do like you did, when I start feeling edgy and in need, I just remind myself why it's so much better to stay quit.