I’m a Quitter

Yep. A total quitter. Seventeen days (minus a slight slip-up on Sunday night after a few cocktails) now. My seventeen year love affair with cigarettes is over.

I started smoking the summer my parents sent to me to DC for a summer college program. It was my first time out on my own in the big city for eight weeks. I had a dorm room. I had a roommate. I had college i.d. that worked to make me “legal” when I bought a pack of Marlboro Reds (which you could buy in the student bookstore back then). Smoking felt tough and naughty and I thought it made my pipsqueak self look like an actual college student. I felt like a bad, bad girl and I liked it.

When I went home, I had to go undercover. My parents aren’t cigarette people. My friends weren’t cigarette people. I made new friends. We skipped class to smoke in the parking lot, in the bathroom, off campus. I was an honors student, had never been a problem and I was a senior- no one minded if I acted up a little and I was smart enough not to get caught.

Then there was theatre school and smoking in all black. Years of crappy jobs smoking in alleys. Lots of bourbon and smoking. Lots of coffee and smoking. Smoking my way through the midnight oil of law school. Smoking while I waited up to see if my fiance’ would come home or stay out drinking (and doing God knows what) all night. Smoking after conference calls and on lunch breaks. Smoking in airports, at hotel bars, and in front of my keyboard. Smoking after bad news. Smoking as the reward for good news.

My good friend smoking, I’m sorry I have to quit you. And trust me, I’m not enjoying it. I made it a few days and caved in and bought an “emergency” pack. And then drastically lowered my definition of emergency. But after I made it three days without smoking at one stretch, it got to the point where I could smell cigarette smoke again. And you know what? It doesn’t smell so hot. And the rest of the world? Smells pretty ok- not that I had smelled it well in years.

Besides, when I caved in and smoked, it felt bad. Not just physically bad, the way my lungs hurt the next morning. Morally bad. Like I was lying to everyone who had been so supportive and proud when I quit. And also like I was going to have to start all over again. And those first three days- not the best part of quitting.

So, I sent my emergency pack out of the house with a friend. I threw away all the emergency ashtrays and emergency lighters. I parted ways with the emergency exact change in my wallet in case I wanted a late night run to grab some out of the machine at the bar around the corner. I told my Facebook friends. I told my Twitter friends. I even told my regular bartender so I didn’t get tempted over cocktails. I bought the patch.

It’s still a little tempting. I confess. Late at night when no one is looking I think, who would know? But I would. And my guilt threshold is too low for that.  Also, I really like the smell of fresh air.



Filed under Building a Better Me, Daily Life

17 responses to “I’m a Quitter

  1. John Wilder

    Kudos on quitting. It was the best decision I ever made for myself.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  2. My dad says quitting smoking is the hardest thing he’s ever done. Awesome you’re doing it- hang in there!

  3. I know it takes some people a few slip-ups before it sticks, so it sounds like you’re well on your way to making it happen. Congrats!

  4. Oregon Sunshine

    Congrats! My husband and I quit almost 3 years ago and I don’t miss it like I thought I would.

  5. Yay, great work! I have great faith that you can make this stick.

  6. I stopped just over 10 years ago and it was HARD. There are still times I crave one so badly I feel like a crackhead. Hang in there, you’re doing awesome! & yeah, it is truly horrifying when you can finally smell cigarette smoke and discover how YOU smelled for the past however many years.

  7. hooray for being a quitter. I’m proud of you.

    I’m proud of you for a lot of things, but this is really up there on the list.

  8. Christina

    Great job! You got through the hardest part and the rest is just about keeping in line when you’re drinking. It took me months to feel comfortable having more than 2 drinks because that’s when I really wanted to smoke. Every day gets easier though.

  9. Three years ago I was essentially a social smoker. I didn’t think of myself as addicted, and having a smoke was a take it or leave it thing.

    My wife quit a much more pervasive smoking habit and I stopped smoking cigars or my (tobacco) pipe (or any other kind of pipe) as a point of unity.

    99% of the time, it’s still take it or leave it. 1% of the time I would sacrifice kittens to dark and squamous gods for an unfiltered american spirit…so yeah.

    All of this is to say that quitting cigarettes as a goal and as an accomplishment is truly kick-ass. Quitting cigarettes as a task and a process sucks ass on so many levels it makes the accomplishment that much more impressive.

    Good luck, and remember that quitting isn’t something you do in a day, every hour of every day is another step forward. Don’t let your disappointment for taking one step back keep you from continuing down the path.

    But you obviously already know that.

  10. LH

    Good job to you!

    I also took the plunge recently…and its been about a month now. It’s been fine, with the exception of Friday night’s drunken judgment that one wouldn’t matter. It seems like smoking goes hand in hand with drinking so I’m trying to just cut both out so there’s no temptation.

    Food, nature, life does smell better…you’re completely right!

  11. Kate

    Good for you! That is not easy, and I’m impressed.

  12. Jean

    Congrats! It’s the best possible present you can give to yourself. I’ve been a non-practicing smoker for about 13 years now, but I have to say that I still – ALWAYS – carry a lighter or matches in my purse.

    Because when you need fire, there is no substitute! Trust me – you’ll be sorry someday when you don’t have that lighter in your purse.

    I think the one I have right now is about 2 years old. But I’ve needed it, or someone around me has needed it, countless times!

  13. Pingback: 2010- The Year in Review | ELEANOR’S TROUSERS

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