December 26, 2008
Exactly one year ago today I made the choice to quit smoking.
I started smoking when I was 17 years old. My best friend in High School looked 18 and she was able to buy cigarettes for us. This was right before they made it mandatory for store owners to card people that looked under 30. My very first cigarette was a Camel Light and we would smoke only a couple of cigarettes a day. Mostly when we hung out after school. We always blamed the other when our parents would ask why we smelled like smoke.
Three years ago when I bought a new car I made the decision not to smoke in it. Doing this was the start of my road to quitting. I soon noticed that I was smoking less because I would normally have two or three cigarettes when I was driving to and from work. In addition to not smoking in my car I was not allowed to smoke in my house because my landlord's would not allow it. I respected their wishes. After all, who wants their house to stink like nasty cigarette smoke? So, through the rain, the wind, and the cold I would stand outside in my backyard puffing away. After two years I was down to less than a half a pack a day.
As I thought more and more about quitting I became more and more scared. What would I do at work? I had a schedule to keep. My breaks were like clock work. At 10 o'clock I was out there with the morning crowd. At lunch I would smoke one or two and again at 3 o'clock I was back outside smoking away with the crowd. I knew I could break the habit, but I didn't know if I was ready for it.
Quietly, on the day after Christmas last year, I smoked my last cigarette at noon, put my trusty lighter away, and bought Nicorette. I carefully read the instructions and popped the first piece in my mouth. It was peppery just like it said, but satisfying at the same time. Every couple of hours I would chew a new piece cravings or not.
All my fears washed away after a week of chewing the gum. I hardly had any desire to smoke and actually was enjoying the fact that my clothes smelled like laundry detergent. I found new ways at work to take my breaks and after a month of chewing the gum I gave that up too. Nicotine had me in its hold for 11 years, but now I can proudly say that I am smoke-free and I will never take another puff.
Are you a smoker? Is it time for you to quit?