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.
BECAUSE IT'S NOT GOOD FOR ME.
BECAUSE IT CONFLICTS WITH MY LIFESTYLE.
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 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 :)