It’s time for me to come out of the closet. I must confess that I was a smoker. I smoked cigarettes from the age of fifteen to forty-nine. For those of you who are mathematically challenged that means I smoked for thirty-four years. I smoked an average of a pack and a half a day. Sometimes less, sometimes more – mostly more. That means I smoked about 375,000 cigarettes in my lifetime. Do you realize how much money I spent smoking? Taking into account inflation over those 34 years (cigarettes cost .50 cents a pack when I started) I reckon I spent $40,000.00 lighting up. If I had invested that money incrementally into the stock market, I’d be retired by now.
I haven’t smoked for over a year. I am very very very proud of myself. (three verys is a whole lot!) Quitting smoking is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Smoking was so ingrained into my every waking moment, every fiber of my being, that if I didn’t have a cigarette in my hand I didn’t know who I was.
I can’t think of anything I did that a cigarette wasn’t a part of. I smoked in the movies. In the grocery store. During my college classes. While writing. (oh how I miss a cigarette while writing!) After dinner. (I miss this cigarette second most) While driving a car. Drinking. Ironing. Working crosswords. Watching TV. Reading. Talking. Walking. Taking a bath. Cooking. OMG, the only time I didn’t smoke was in the shower and I have to confess I even did that a couple of times.
I still want a cigarette. Every moment of every day. But I won’t smoke. Not ever. I find my strength in my daughter. She abhors smoking. And she tells me daily how proud she is of me for quitting. And I want to live a very long life so I can see her grow up and all the magnificent things she’s going to do with her life. Saxon helps me, also. I know you’re not supposed to out other people, but she used to smoke, too. And together we’ve been quit for over a year now. I’ve finally found the love of my life at the ripe old age of fifty and, by God, I’m not going to lose her because of a stupid addiction.
So, if you smoke and wish you didn’t, (and let’s be serious here, I think all smokers really want to quit) here’s some honest advice — there is no easy way. There’s no shortcut. It’s hell, pure and simple. The only sure-fire way to quit is to stand up, point your finger at the tobacco companies and say, “Fuck you! You can’t have my time, my money, or my life! As of right now I am taking my life back!” Get good and angry and throw those cigarettes in the trash and don’t ever touch another one.
If I can do it, I know you can.