No Good Time To Quit

This is the story of how I quit smoking… in diary form.

Quit Day #2

Evil cigarettes will never rule my life again! No longer will I chug down the street, puffing great, white billows of foul-smelling smoke behind me. Inhaling slow death, just inviting my worst fears to become reality. It felt bad to be so wrong. Defining myself by a losing label: Stinky Smoker.

My life was a smoke-opera, trapped in the membership of addiction and denial; pretending that it’s okay to pollute the world with our smoke, our stink, our garbage—and actually paying big bucks for the privilege to eventually block our airways with chemicals specifically designed to kill us slowly—all with our permission.

Oh my god, how stupid am I? Searching for a “final” smoke — that rewarding feeling of aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.

When compared to the noxious, evil, putrid, long-term cage of death, I hope it’s not too late for me and my loved ones. I was blinded by that smoky bliss for so long, restricted from certain people and places, but I didn’t care where I was, as long as I could smoke. I used it as a wall to shield those I loved best from getting too close to me and my smoky atmosphere. How neglectful and selfish was I to invite the killer into my home to live amongst my family?

Cigarettes sucked in my hard-earned money and pretended to help me with my work — promising me the illusion of inspiration that was really just procrastination; promising relaxation in exchange for the stress smoke was causing in my life; offering social relations with like-minded addicts; delivering pleasure in the midst of learning to hate myself for my dirty habit. Breathe in that smooth, smoky taste and lose your appetite for that which is healthy and wholesome.

Quit Day #65

I am definitely losing my mind over this, and it makes me think that getting off the drug is like going ON a drug — and a powerful one at that. I feel as if my whole life is gradually turning upside-down, and all sorts of strange things are falling out of pockets I never knew I had!!!

It’s scary, exhilarating, and sickening all at the same time. But the most important thing has been the lesson I’ve learned about the addiction I’ve been suffering from since before my birth. It’s sooooo bad, it feels like a horrible crime. I hear about all the smoking related illnesses, and I wonder how anyone can continue to let this horror rage on—this senseless, reeking death sold in neat little boxes of 20 cigarettes.

I’m appalled that I was ever a smoker, and I still can’t understand why it took the pleadings of my ten-year-old son to wake me up.

I know I have to stop beating myself up over my FORMER addiction and begin living in such a way that this crime cannot be perpetuated through another generation. It’s bad enough that we’re killing our kids with too much junk food — at least we could clean up the air for them, right?

I feel the strongest need to get the message across to those of us who are still locked within the grips of this deadly menace. I used to be a walking smoke-stack, and I will spend the rest of my life making it up to the people who’s lives I’ve polluted.

Quit Day #74

$550.38 and 19 days, 19 hours of your life saved!

Time Smoke-Free: 78 days, 2 hours, 39 seconds

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 2733

Lifetime Saved: 20 days, 21 hours

Money Saved: $580.12

What is saved and what is spent?

Ever day of life that goes by becomes a memory. There are no guarantees that any time or any money will be saved; but at least it will go somewhere else, and not to the tobacco industry. Besides, nobody knows how long they will live. Or how quickly they will die. Or how much money they are actually saving.

What would I do with 20 extra days anyway? Go on a luxurious vacation? Pig out on sweets? Smoke cigarettes and get wasted? That wasn’t even fun; it was a habit, it was madness. Yet it’s still the first thing that comes to mind.

No, I think my last 20 days should be spent surrounded by people I love; doing something productive for those who don’t have to cut their time on this earth short. I would spend those last hours speaking to every child I could find; telling them not to squander time or take the days for granted. Because even when those days are bad, they are better than the alternative.

Maybe.

Well, the jury’s still out on that one. But as long as I’m alive and able to create and experience and love, then I pledge to live each day to its fullest potential. I will feel each emotion deeply and try not to fear the (real and imagined) implications. I will trust that God really does have a plan for me, knowing that it’s my job to carry it out without worrying about what’s going to happen next. And I promise to hold out my hand to the next person who needs help in getting through all of these, our last days on earth. Don’t save them—spend them wisely!

Quit Day #105

No sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea

So, today is the fifth day of my sugar-abstinence plan. I have not intentionally eaten sugar or candy since Monday, and I am feeling so much better. Halloween really did a number on me this year. It’s like the Quit has turned me into this big sugar junkie; which I think may be even worse than smoking!

My teeth were hurting from all the Reese’s Cups and candy corn; the inside of my mouth was raw and blistery—which can’t be good. Besides that, I had gained 8 pounds! That’s 8 pounds, even though I run 6 to 10 miles a day and have been doing workouts at Curves. I was really starting to scare myself there. I tend to get a little obsessed when it comes to sweets.

So, I’ve relegated sugar to the same status as smokes. Can’t do ‘em. No smokes; no sugar. The sugar program has been especially challenging, because it’s constantly around me. And now my husband has begun making fudge as a business venture! It’s like the walls of my home are dripping with chocolate lately. Everywhere I turn, I see little bags of colorful candy Runts—those Runts are insidious! And I’m not going to eat them. Not even one. Because one will lead to two, and two will lead to twenty, and then it’s on to Snickers bars and M&M’s (hopefully peanut). No…. So, I don’t need nicotine, and I don’t need sugar, and I already stopped drinking alcohol.

Hmmmmmm, what do I eliminate next….. better yet, WHAT DO I ADD?

Quit Day #116

No Good Time to Smoke

If you wait for the “perfect” time to quit smoking, it will never come. NEVER. So, you have to look at it in another way: the perfect time to quit is NOW.

I had months to psych myself up for my quit, which was set for my son’s 10th birthday. When the big day came, however, I was apprehensive and full of reasons why I couldn’t do it YET. But looking into his big, brown eyes—so full of trust and hope—how could I NOT follow through on my promise?

That was 116 days ago, and I haven’t looked back. I don’t ever want to smoke again. Now the motto is:

There is NO good time to smoke!

Smoking will not alleviate my stress or make me feel better about anything. In fact, it will only make matters worse.

Like anything you’ve been doing for a long time, the habit is hard to break. But not only is it possible, it will FREE you in ways you never imagined.

—–

It’s more than 12 years later, and I’m still smoke-free!

©️Jill Cueni-Cohen

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