Two years later and still cig free

I miss smoking . . . or, more accurately, I miss enjoying a cigarette. Because I have succumbed to desire on a couple of occasions (I was a bit drunk both times) and smoked a cigarette. It was gross. I couldn’t finish it. So it’s not just the smoking I miss . . . I miss sitting outside, taking a drag of a Parliament Menthol Light, and just relaxing and enjoying the flavor.

I miss lighting up after dinner. I miss smoking a cigarette while drinking a cup of coffee. I miss the time-killer while waiting for a bus or the dryer at the laundromat or for a prescription to be filled. I miss the ability to socialize with people at a party just because we’re the ones forced outside to smoke or escaping from social interactions by excusing myself to have a smoke. I miss smoking while drunk.

And I could get all of those things back, but it would take re-acquiring that taste . . . I’m going to take an educated guess and say that would require smoking nearly an entire pack of cigarettes. At that point, it’s no longer a momentary lapse of judgment or loss of will power. At that point, it becomes a conscious decision to become a smoker again.

I won’t make that conscious decision because no matter how much I miss all of the things I enjoyed about smoking, I don’t miss having to explain to my daughter why I smoke when I know it’s bad for me. I don’t miss waking up coughing. I don’t miss standing outside in the middle of a snow storm because I can’t function without my nicotine fix.

About 4 years ago, I found a lump in my breast. It took about a month before I could get the surgery to have it removed and then another week before the biopsy results came in. Those 5-6 weeks were terrifying because as much as the doctors kept telling me how “unimpressive” the lump was, there was still that chance of cancer and they couldn’t rule it out.

It turned out to be completely benign. It was an infection called periductal mastitis . . . which is caused by smoking.

I don’t miss that.

Cig Free (last cig)Two years ago today, I enjoyed my last cigarette. That’s it there on the left. I guess I really didn’t enjoy that one too much either . . . the Chantix had killed the real pleasure at that point, but it wasn’t gross. I was relaxed. I sat on my front steps, finished the entire 100 cig, put it out on the concrete, and went back inside. I went to sleep that night not thinking about wanting to get up and have another cig.

And as much as I still miss enjoying a cigarette, I’ll go to bed tonight not thinking about wanting to get up and have a cig. I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and not think about how many cigarettes are left in the pack and whether or not I have enough to last through the day or if I need to run down to the tobacco shop. I won’t run through a list of justifications for spending $7 on a pack of cigarettes.

I don’t miss that.

I smoked for 17 years. I loved smoking for 17 years. I knew it was bad and I knew I should quit, but I didn’t want to. I finally reached that point of wanting two years ago. I reached the point where I wanted to quit more than I wanted to smoke. I don’t think I’ll ever not miss the enjoyment I received for 17 years, but I don’t think I’ll ever miss it enough to go back to letting cigarettes control my life.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. You are my hero, Dayle! Sometimes, it takes an event like mastitis to open our eyes, but your willpower and strength still shine through. It’s funny how you describe the desire to be so situational. In that sense, I can imagine myself potentially addicted to cigarettes too if it had naturally become a part of my favorite relaxing moments like reading a book. Thanks so much for showing us that it CAN be done!

    Reply

    • I actually tried to quit smoking shortly after my lumpectomy, but I couldn’t do it. I was working in customer service at the time and I just could not deal with it without cigarettes! When I knew I was going to quit, I asked my doc for a prescription to Chantix, so I could get it while I was still insured!

      Thank you, Sam, for always being so encouraging! ❤

      Reply

  2. Congratulations on your will power! It is so hard to give up things that bring us such pleasure and I am so glad you found so many reasons to stop. Truly amazing!

    Reply

  3. Congratulations on giving up cigarettes for two years! Very Inspiring and from what I’ve heard, one of the hardest habits to quit! I pray everyday that my husband will quit, but like you said, and everyone that I know that has quit, you have to WANT to.
    I do want to ask about Chantix though….besides the cost that’s not covered by my husband’s insurance, he hasn’t taken it because of the fear behind taking it while being Bipolar. Did you have many side effects while taking it?

    Reply

    • Thank you!

      I did deal with the side effects of Chantix. I ended up only taking half a dose because the full dose was too much for me. Everyone’s different, but I would definitely be wary of taking it if I was bipolar. On a half dose, I had bizarre dreams (terrifying dreams when I was on a full dose), mood swings, moments of depression (worse than the usual), I broke out in hives (not itchy, just gross looking), increased appetite, and nausea (it was like being pregnant – hungry all the time, but the smell of food made me sick).

      I quit 9 days after I started taking the pills. You’re supposed to finish out the 3 month script, but I stopped after 2 months. . . . I think the side effects were worth it. 2 months of being miserable for 2 years now of not smoking . . . BUT I’m not bipolar . . . if he does decide to try it, he should definitely talk to a doctor! . . . Good luck to both of you when he’s finally ready to quit (being around someone who’s quitting isn’t easy 😛 )!

      Reply

      • Just based on the side effects you had NOT being Bipolar, I can understand why my husband IS concerned with what might happen. As much as I want him to quit, I don’t want him to end up hurting himself or someone else while he’s quitting because of the medicine.

        Reply

  4. Congratulations, Dayle. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, or wanted to (although I’ve smoked other substances), but I know what it’s like to want to do something that you know you shouldn’t do, or want to do.

    Reply

    • Thank you, Jared 🙂 I was one of those kids who swore she would never smoke (my mom did and I hated it). I gave that thought up at 14 . . . I’m not even sure why, but I’m sure it was some stupid kid reason!

      Reply

  5. Good work! I’m down to 3 a day…and about 40,000 when i’m drunk. Aiming to be smoke-free by the summer – inspiring story!

    Reply

    • Thank you! For many years, I only smoked 4-5 cigs a day, but in the few years before I quit, I was up to a half a pack to a pack a day! And yes, always more when I was drinking! . . . Good luck reaching your goals! I’ll be here cheering you on!

      Reply

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