Once Upon a Time in the West: a new years resolution kept

Many years ago I was a smoker.  My parents smoked, my brothers and sister grew up to smoke, and eventually, so did I.

I remember smoking my first cigarette.  It was on my eighteenth birthday and it was a day of firsts for me…

I ditched school, and while my parents and siblings were out of the house I locked myself in the bathroom where I stood in front of the mirror and proceeded to drink a beer and smoke a cigarette.  I remember thinking all my friends who were brave enough to defy their parents looked pretty cool.  Not me.  I stood there looking at my reflection I thought,

“You look like a jackass.” and  “This is not cool.”

I never touched a drink or a cigarette again until I went into the Navy, where once again I was surrounded by those who did.  It started out as smoking only one or two cigarettes when I went to  dance clubs with friends, but this quickly and easily became an everyday habit.  A habit I would continue, and that would escalate over the years.

Smoking, I would soon find out, was no less addicting than we are told drugs or alcohol are, and very hard to quit.  Perhaps no one else has told you this, but I believe it is difficult to quit because it’s socially acceptable.  You can go to any store or gas station to purchase them, and simply put:   It is a habit that is nearly impossible to quit.   From personal experience I can tell you that quitting nicotine will drive you to the jitters and give you fits of temper that only a saint (or my husband) could survive!

Pack_of_camel

Many years later, I was smoking three packs a day, Camels, no filter, and didn’t realize how many I actually smoked until my father got cancer.

Now I had previously tried to quit, at least four or five times, and never succeeded until Dad died.  No gory details folks, just know that it gave me the resolve to finally commit to that old New Years Resolution to quit for good!

Here is how I succeeded.

First, I got a small, spiral bound pocket notebook.

small sprial bound notebook

In this notebook I made a hash mark for each cigarette I smoked in a day.   Let me tell ya, I had not a clue that I was up to three packs a day!  This and my father’s passing were a real wake up call!

I sat there and tried to imagine how I could successfully quit such a deeply entrenched habit.   I finally reasoned that  I hadn’t started out smoking all three packs in a day, and therefore I wouldn’t expect myself to just give them all up in one day.Hash marks

Each day I kept track in my little pocket notebook with hash marks, and each day I smoked one less cigarette.  It took a long time,  but by cutting out just one a day it didn’t seem to hurt at all!  Well, until about the halfway mark.  Then I found moments in the day when I realized I needed to pace myself or run out before bedtime.  (I know, can you believe it?)

So during these times of no cigarettes I would send up a quick prayer.

“God, just get me through this moment, Thank you!”

The less I smoked in a day the more I repeated my prayer, and it became my mantra to get me through the day,

“God, just get me through this moment, Thank you!  God, just get me through this moment, Thank you!  God, just get me through this moment, Thank you! God, just get me through this moment, Thank you!   God, just get me through this moment, Thank you!  God, please just get me through this moment!”

This went on until one evening when I was sitting on the couch watching TV with Bob, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open for the stress.  I was down to seven cigarettes a day and still had three to go, but all I really wanted to do was go to bed and sleep.  I turned to Bob and said,

“I have three cigarettes left to go, and I’m ready to just quit now.  Would you do me a favor?  Would you take all the ashtrays out of the house and put them into the garage, and would you please help me out by smoking outside from now on?”

Now the old me would not have been so gracious, but he said, “YES!”  As I lay in bed I heard him go from room to room and take all the ashtrays away.  What a sweetheart!  He spent the next year smoking in the garage or on the patio until he made the decision to quit, and  I was so proud of him too!

I think it was at least a year before I realized I was cured.  I was sitting on the couch absently reaching for something on the coffee table when it hit me, and I thought,

“OH, Yeah!  I don’t do that anymore!”

~*~

If you smoke here are some things to consider…

What’s in that cigarette?

Some Kills

Some Kills (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NOTE:  I am sorry that the wording is lacking in this graphic, but it still makes a point.

Smoking-Kids-Glamour-Shots_4

Smoking doesn’t make you look grown-up.

Not Glamorous

Smoking doesn’t make you look sexy.  In fact, it ages you beyond your years!

So my point in telling you all this isn’t to shame anyone who smokes, nor to tell you that you should quit.  I am simply relating to you my personal experience and sharing what worked for me.

~*~

If you have decided that one of your resolutions for 2013 is to finally quit, then I wish you every success in your decision!

~*~

This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt: Resolved.  Wherein they asked this question, “Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?

Advertisements