08 February 2010

To Be a Quitter...

I began smoking the weekend I turned 16. Good grief, how stupid could I have been? It's the usual thing--peer acceptance. I wasn't pressured into it, for some reason, I just thought it would be a cool thing to do. To this day, I still remember absolutely hating it when my dad would light up a cigarette in the car while we were going somewhere. It stunk horribly. And of course, I remember the Great American Smokeout days each November where everyone would get these stickers which read, "Kiss me. I don't smoke!" But that was never a thought in my mind when I decided to pick up the habit. I did tell my dad about it; he told me I needed to quit and offered to quit himself, but I didn't do it and neither did he. (He had quit once for about two years, but started up again around the time our house burned down when I was in high school.) I got in trouble a couple of times when my parents found evidence of my nasty secret, but I didn't let that stop me, either. 

I quit in June of 1999 and I don't remember having one problem quitting or staying smoke-free. I stayed that way until the summer of 2005 when I was coming to the realization that my marriage was failing. It wasn't a big deal at first, but it didn't take me long to end up right back where I'd been when I quit six years previously. And now, it's coming up on 5 years that I've been smoking again. I quit in August for about 6 weeks. It wasn't easy, at first, of course, but it wasn't all that hard either. I should never have given in to the craving. It's really disheartening to realize how much power I've let those little tubes of tobacco have over me. I realize that I have allowed myself to be brainwashed into thinking that I need the smoke, that I want the smoke, that I enjoy inhaling the smoke. And it almost seems that I'm powerless to stop. I read a book which talks about how there are more people addicted to nicotine and tobacco products than to heroin and while there are free programs to help people kick the heroin habit, there's not much free help to quit smoking. Many insurance programs won't even cover smoking cessation medications like Chantix. 

I realize that I'm afraid to face the cravings. I am afraid that I won't be able to handle it and somehow it seems like not even trying would be better than trying and failing...again. I wrote out a list of 20 reasons for me to quit smoking--and they're all great reasons, but I still equivocate and, well, just wimp out. The thing is, though, I don't want to be controlled by a 3 inch long tube of chemical laced nicotine. I don't want to end up with lung cancer or emphysema. I don't want to be an old lady dragging around an oxygen tank, too weak to play with her grandkids. I'm tired of being embarrassed or afraid to walk up to the man I'm in love with and kiss him because of my nasty cigarette breath or stinky hair. I don't want it, and yet, I continue to stop at the convenience store and pay $5 a pack to kill myself 3 inches at a time. 

So? What do I do? I visited BecomeAnEX.org today and signed up for their free tips and program on how to quit. The thing is, I've done it before, so I know I can do it again. I also know that I will never again be able to give into the thought of, "Just one...Just one cigarette won't hurt. You won't like it, so you don't have to keep doing it." I know I'm strong enough to do this. I just have to believe it. I'm going to try the program through BecomeAnEx. And I'm going to believe that it will work. My quit date is set for April 8, 2010. It seems like a long way out, even for me, but that's the date the program suggested for me, based on my answers to its questions. And hey, if I feel ready to do it before then, I can go for it. But for now, I'm going to follow the program. I'm starting to keep track of all my cigarettes in a log on the website and learn what my triggers are. Then I'll start to teach myself how to break the habits that I'm in. 

I'm going to work on my own, too, using the Law of Attraction and visualize myself as a non-smoker--imagine how good it will feel when I can ignore the cravings and not give in. 

So...that's it. My quit date is April 8, 2010. Two months away. I can do this. I will. For my sons, for my family and friends...for me.