Monday, January 24, 2011

I love you, I hate you. I can't quit you, but I must

Cross-posted and archived from DC Metro Moms.  Original post date January 12, 2008.  They say the average smoker quits nine times before they are seriously done. 

Like everyone else I adamantly proclaim each year that I do not make new year's resolutions. No way. Not me. Never. Even this year as the clock struck twelve I denied making any. Except I lie. I have a secret. I made a resolution. I am a cliche. Call it a pact, if you will, with my spouse. We have decided to quit smoking.

It is one thing to quit smoking because smokers are now deemed social pariahs. Yes, we do know it is quite unhealthy. Deadly I hear. Smoking kills more women than it does men. I know this fact as well. I also know that is incredibly hard to be a runner and smoke. Trust me on that one. For all my gym time and morning jogs I'm sure more than one neighbor has seen me hack up a lung in the bushes on an otherwise pleasant Saturday morning. Smoking is costly too. The amount of money you save when you stop buying even generic cigarettes could take you on a vacation. For some that might be the only incentive they need to quit the sticks.

For me, it is not that easy. I have seen family members die from lung cancer. I have watched them suck oxygen and extract deathbed promises from me to quit smoking. I quit for a year or two, one time it was even four years, only to find myself yearning for that blue haze that only a cigarette can produce. I no longer feel cool when I smoke. I know it only ages me that much faster. It stains my fingers and makes me smell undesirable. The crows feet around my eyes are deeper and my skin does not look as good as it does when I'm not smoking.

When I quit smoking at 26, I thought it was for good. I realized I had been smoking ten years and that seemed far too long. I wasn't a kid anymore I told myself. I must kick this filthy habit. Living in California made quitting a bit easier as well. I think smoking is akin to murdering puppies on the street there. Then I had my daughter and a nasty spell of post-partum depression settled in. What was the first thing I did? I lit up of course. I just went right out there and bought a pack of cigarettes after being clean for four years. They say that women smoke or relapse due to negative emotions and stress. If that isn't post-partum depression in a nutshell I don't know what is. Smoking became my break from motherhood, work and the all encompassing responsibility that parenthood brings on. It was my release yet it shackled me real quick. I would say, "It's just recreational, man. I don't do it all the time." Except, that I did. I smoked more often than I realized and became cranky when I didn't get my regularly timed fix (nap time anyone?!).

I wanted to give it up so many times but it always reeled me back in. I wanted to quit for my health, my future, my child and for vanities sake. I felt like a leper as I smoked on my back deck and the winter winds blew around. I kept my habit a secret from my friends and neighbors which just shows how addicted I really was. Am. Really am. Always will be too. Despite knowing all that I know about how terrible smoking really is, it is more than a habit. It is a toxic love affair that I have a hard time breaking up with. I love you, you filtered little bastards. I do. I love everything about you except that you will kill me. So now I must hate you so I can quit you and be free.

Eight days and counting people. Eight days and counting. Thank the high heavens that it is hard to get to the movies and television is awful right now because the amount of smoking on both of those mediums these days is maddening!


Jean said...

Sister, I don't think you know how not alone you are. Hang in there. You can do it!

Reply January 12, 2008 at 02:39 PM LawyerMama said...

Good for you!

Reply January 12, 2008 at 04:20 PM tanyetta said...

I hope you are able to quit this time for good. I really loved this post. Your honesty bounces off the page. Good for you! 8 days! woo hoo!!!!!! ;)

Reply January 12, 2008 at 05:15 PM Mark Tracey said...

I have been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Bang on 100% as my own stupid fault for using the killsticks. Don't. I am 40 and may DIE.

Reply January 13, 2008 at 07:22 AM Linda said...

Good for you! One day at a time. Sometimes I think each of us must have our vice. Mine is wine. I eat right, work out and behave myself, but oh, when it comes to is so hard to say no to something you love. Perhaps we should pick new bad habits, like chocolate!

Reply January 13, 2008 at 10:19 AM Daisy said...

Good for you! I hope you have emotional support from friends or your husband. That can help with the worst of the down times. Good luck...lots of it!

Reply January 13, 2008 at 01:35 PM porka said...

After being smokeless for a year (I was on and off on yearly basis), I relapsed three weeks ago. I met a future boss who happened to be a nightmare personality. I couldn't endure the stress and got myself a pack and another and another... Three weeks of relapse gave me chest pain and fear of illness. I don't know what to do. I wake up and go to sleep every night hoping that I would quit again and see the smokeless sunrise. I do want to quit very badly, but can't seem to do it. Lost the will power. Just thinking about having that boss rule over me for the next 7+ years calls for more smoking. Any advice on this relapse situation?

And good luck on your quitting! It must work.

Reply January 13, 2008 at 07:17 PM Jamie said...

I started smoking when I was twelve, and quit for the last time at 26. I'll be 38 this year, and I know exactly how you feel about the desire. I don't think it will ever go away. I have no advice. When it became apparent that smoking was causing Robin's allergy induced asthma to flare, I quit (I didn't smoke around her, but just the residues on me and my clothes were enough to irritate her allergies).

Both times that I quit (I quit for about a year in the middle), I quit cold turkey. The hardest part was not smoking while driving...once I accustomed myself to not smoking in the car, the rest was easy.

Reply January 14, 2008 at 07:54 AM holli said...

I FINALLY quit this past year. I gave Nicorette another chance and the new coated fruit chill (it tastes like chicklets) is nothing like the nasty old stuff that used to stick to your teeth and burn your mouth. I've started to prefer it by far to smoking - I was really happy when I was able to chain smoke my way across the US when we moved. The only problem is now I've trashed my teeth by pulling out all my fillings... still, I haven't touched a clove cigarette (way worse than regular smokes) in so long I can't even remember.

Good luck, I know how much it sucks.

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