Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Tonight, I quit smoking.

Oh, I know.

What a dirty little secret it's been, right?

What a tangled web I've woven.

Tell me about it. Le sigh.

About four years ago, I quit smoking a pack of Winston Lights a day. It was really, really hard. The detox was nothing like I'd ever experienced. I was literally out of my mind. Looking back, it all makes sense given, by that time, I had been inhaling tons of chemicals via 20 cigarettes a day for approximately a decade. The process took a few weeks and included a few relapses where I would go to the store, buy a pack of cigarettes, smoke a couple and then angrily crush and destroy the remaining cigarettes into a trash can. It was an emotional and physical war. I knew that I would never smoke like that again. Ever. And, I haven't.

What did eventually happen was this little habit I've come to refer to as the fucking monkey on my fucking back that won't leave me the fuck alone. Or, three cigarettes a day.

I smoke all-natural, 100% tobacco, organic American Spirits. I don't smoke in my house or in my car. I don't smoke in front of non-smokers (which means I usually smoke alone). I don't throw cigarette butts on the ground. I don't even have my first cigarette until after 4pm. These have been my rationalizations and reasons for not quitting.

All those scare tactics about 4,997,023,001 chemicals being added to cigarettes? Not doing it for me. My cigarettes are organic and contain nothing but tobacco leaf. I'm pretty sure they're free range, too.

Telling me that I'm being brainwashed by the man (aka Phillip Morris)? Cannot convince me to stop because the people that manufacture my cigarettes run a small company that practice sustainable agriculture, provide opportunities for employee growth and market their product responsibly.

SAVE YOUR LIFE! QUIT SMOKING NOW! propaganda? Seriously. I smoke three cigarettes a day. I exercise almost everyday. I eat a plant-based diet. Physical damage is being done, but all the studies and statistics are geared toward at least half-a-pack-a-day or more consumers, all usually living the Standard American diet and lifestyle.

I can apply this to the "Think of all the money you'll save!" excitement, too. My current habit costs me about $27 a month. After two months of not smoking, what? I can get a haircut?

These are the thoughts that have been justifying my smoking for the past three years. The bottom line is that, somehow, in my little psyche, I've managed to skirt the fact that, oh yeah, I DON'T WANT TO SMOKE.



I've been so busy poo-pooing anti-smoking proselytizing by altering my habit to suit that of a responsible smoker, that I've neglected to realize, THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING.


I never said I was quick, but I think I'm on my way to figuring this one out.

So, three weeks ago, my mom and I signed up for a Freedom from Smoking program at a local hospital. As expected, we were met with a bunch of the scary-but-"educational" pamphlets and pictures and What to do Instead of Light Up lists. I ignored those and instead focused on my tendencies and habit. I did a couple questionnaires, determined what kind of smoker I am (a mix of Pleasurable Relaxation-er and Handler; sounds kinky!) and made a list of reasons why I want to quit. Really, these classes have been to force me to actually pick a quit day. To stop volleying between thinking about quitting and justifying not quitting.

And that's where I'm at. I threw away my pack in class tonight, saving one which I smoked around 1opm. Then, I remembered there was a loose one on the back porch, which I hungrily inhaled in under five minutes. But now, they're all gone.

I'm done.

I'm hoping, and truly believing, that this will not be anywhere near as hard as it was a few years ago. At the same time, I want to stay real and aware and know that there is a possibility that I will slip up on occasion. This is a process. I will get in it and I will enjoy it. Baby steps :)


Taylor said...

Best of luck to you!

Ben Garland said...

Awesome. LSB quit smoking too, a few months ago. I am so proud of her. And now I am proud of you too!!! If you ever feel like smoking again, give us a call and we will talk you out of it ;-)

Naomi T said...

Good for you. And good luck sticking with it.

frekur said...

I'm so glad you're doing this. SO glad. :)

onkelo said...

$27 for a haircut!?! ah, the suburbs...

but to the topic at hand, you rock! congrats on realizing that being better than the norm (pack a day SAD-ists) is a whole different animal than being the best *you* can be. regardless of your particular brand's merits, you're harming yourself (mentally and physically) with each one. (stepping down from soapbox)
you're an inspiration and I'm so, so proud to know you:)

Melody Polakow said...

You can do it!!

If I did it. you can too.

I could have written this... several years ago..

I started smoking at 12.. and smoked a lot til I got pregnant at 18.. quit for 3 years while I had my kids and nursed.. then started again. Only smoking outside of course, and not near my kids.
Quit for several more year... then started again... this time only smoked American Spirits.. with all of the same rationalizations. There would be several days that I wouldn't even smoke sometimes, but they were always there. I was down to 1-3 cigs a day for a long time.. (unless I was at a smoker friends house or in a bar with friends.. then I'd smoke a pack in a night)..
finally, I knew I had to quite for good. That was in may of 2002. I haven't had a cig yet.. but even reading this post made me want to run to the store and buy a pack.

You can do it. It will be hard... but don't give up. Exercising was my saving grace.
Feel free to email me if you need to "talk"

Dori said...

Best of luck to you. I stopped smoking in November 1999, the day before my entire smoking family showed up at my house for the last turkey meal I ever cooked. Yes, mentally it was hard, for me I had to keep my focus on that which I wanted more. When I stopped I was smoking way more than 3 a day so the money was a big deal.

Focus ... haircut. ;0

bazu said...

good luck. just, good luck. ugh.

Mikaela said...

Thanks - I appreciate the love! :)

PS kel, that was a haircut after *two* months ($27 x 2) :)

onkelo said...

oooohh! :)

Corman said...

Awesome. Reading your 10,000 word rant about cigarettes (now with pictures!) makes me immediately want to go outside and smoke.

As soon as I leave work, I'm buying a pack of Camels, the kind with no filter so there's no bullshit between me and my fix, and I'm going to sit on my balcony and smoke the whole pack while drinking beam straight from the bottle.

You've inspired me.

Mikaela said...

You make me wet, Corman.

Corman said...

And you make me hot, M.

frekur said...

You're both gonna get it if you don't quit all this sexy talk.

Corman said...

What do you think M, do you *want* it? Cause we're going to get *it*.

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Good luck on the non-smoking, girl! I completely hear ya, we all have our vices and can completely talk ourselves into thinking "it's not so bad". I never really smoked, just socially for a couple years but could never finish a cigarette. Grew up in a smoking household. Although I absolutely hate cigarettes and the smell, I still crave it. I think I was born with the craving and it's frustrating.

That got me thinking...What would I do with $27/month? I think I'd get a pedicure every other month.