Why indeed. The title of this entry represents one of the more stupid questions anybody could ask of any smoker. The risks of smoking are simply too well documented. Not that these reasons mattered much to me; the risks of what might happen as the result of following an addiction never made me cease any harmful activity...ever. Had that been the case, I never would have drank and doped myself nearly to death until 3/1/82.
However, when stuff starts happening now, then my eyes will eventually open to what I'm doing. Twas the case with drinking and the other things I was ingesting. It eventually became the case with smoking.
This isn't the first time I've quit smoking. Previous attempts in the last nine years all failed...eventually. Not right away; the first attempt in '93 lasted nearly two months. Four years later an attempt lasted nearly three months. Three years after that resulted in nearly five months quit. Yep, there is a pattern there...each gap between quits was shorter and resulted in a longer quit.
The thing is, you see, that I simply got tired of trying to quit. The damage I was doing to myself became more evident as time went on. Decreased stamina was the main thing. An episode of dizziness when walking earlier this year had a lot to do with quitting again. Funny how quitting cleared the dizziness up immediately.
How did I quit this time? I used the Patch (Nicoderm CQ), combined with a whole lot of ODAT (One Day At A Time). Simply put, I can't do anything about tomorrow, other than to perhaps learn something today that will make a difference tomorrow. Thoughts (dread) of the future always played a large part in starting to smoke again. This was obvious to me when preparing to quit this time. Projecting gloom and doom, as it were.
Having my "better half" also quit made a big difference to both of us. All I know is that it's simply easier to halt an addiction when you don't have somebody practicing that addiction in front of you. It's been great for both of us, and that "in-house" support has been fantastic. We can talk out cravings with each other when they occur, and don't have to walk around all the time feeling like we're fighting this thing alone.
Not that either of our quits is contingent on the other person. What happens if one of us starts smoking again? I have no idea; see above ODAT comment LOL. We are quit today, and that is all that counts.
It's a wonderful adventure. To be able to do physical things again is great. Same for not having a car which stinks, clothes which stink, hair which stinks, breath which stinks...you get the picture on the "stink" thing, right? It's been a big confidence booster for me. It's been an even bigger source of gratitude, and this gratitude has spilled over into other areas of living. This is an adventure well worth the rough days, which have been surprisingly few. Allen Carr's book "The Easy Way To Stop Smoking" has made a big difference for me as well. I needed a fresh intellectual approach to quitting, and that book gave me exactly what I needed.
Now, some people may be confused when they read previous journal entries pertaining to Duluth's smoking ban. Let's clear the confusion; I stand by what I wrote. Even if I had "changed my tune" as some nannies would think once I quit smoking, it was representative of how I felt at the time I wrote it. Thus, those entries remain untouched. I have little use for anti-smokers. It also occurred to me that the worst way to get someone to quit any vice is to tell them they had to quit, or needed to quit. Or to make them feel like an outcast, as has been the case with smokers. Support and patience with smokers is required. Preaching and looking down your noses at them is not. Too many idiotic people don't understand this, either because they never smoked, or forgot what it was like to smoke soon after they quit. Those types have nothing to offer to smokers. And less to offer to me. Nuff said.
So, how is it working out for us? I can't speak for which methods my wife uses and doesn't use. She uses her program, I use mine. Essentially, I do this in 24-hour chunks of time. I can stay away from anything addictive and harmful one day at a time. I believe anyone can, for that matter. To be sure, I have many memories which are tied to smoking. To be equally sure, it was not the smoking which made those good memories; they were just a by-product. The memories may have been even better without smoking; who knows? I had to get out of the mindset that smoking was doing something for me, or was some kind of solution. It was an emotional escape for me, plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less.
See, it's vital that I see my smoking in its true light; it was killing me. For whatever "reason" I had for starting smoking when I was 16, those reasons no longer applied. Furthermore, those "distant" consqeuences which I could always dismiss as being not immediate were getting closer to "current" consequences.
The effort is worth it. It's not as difficult as I had imagined. Anyone who says quitting smoking will be a terror-filled experience and brutally difficult is doing you a disservice. Why do I state this? Because, by telling myself this in the past, I had a ready-made reason to put off quitting. I was psyching myself out in advance of the quit.
So far, so good. This will become a permanent state of being if I want it. Nobody can blow this for me except me.
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