One year ago I quit smoking. I had been a smoker on and off (mostly on) for over forty years. When I started smoking it was cool. The Marlboro Man was cool. Movie stars were cool. Sports heroes were cool. All were smokers. I dated girls who smoked so I became a smoker as well. Kissing an ashtray was not pleasant. Becoming a smoker I negated that illusion.
I still miss smoking. I miss the mild relaxing high. I miss the gratifying relief you get when you light up and the nicotine craving is fed (kind of like the relief you get when you stop beating your head against a wall.) I miss the social aspects of lighting up with others who are afflicted with the addiction.
I don’t miss the persistent smokers cough. I don’t miss the yellowing teeth and nicotine stained fingers. I don’t miss the tobacco breath, and I don’t miss the social ostracization that I received from non-smokers.
I have kicked the addiction. I no longer smoke. I am still not a non-smoker. I am not one of those people who thought it was perfectly ok to step up to a stranger and ask me, “Don’t you know that smoking is bad for you?” I am not one of those people who walk past a smoker in the street and fan their face and loudly proclaim, “Ewww smoke!” I have not yet learned to loath smokers and to believe that they are killing me and my children with their secondhand smoke. I refuse to declare myself a victim of someone else’s affliction.
Does any walk past a heroin addict staggering down the street and proclaim, “Ewww a junkie!”? Does anyone walk up to an alcoholic passed out in his own vomit and ask, “Don’t you know that drinking is not good for you?” Do people walk up to an obese person and fan their face in objection to the sweat and body odor wafting off his folds of fat?
Smoking is an affliction that garners no pity, only scorn. It brings out the worst in people that think they are saving you or who get off on being a victim. It turns otherwise nice people into rude opinionated ass-holes.
I am glad I no longer smoke. I feel much better. I save a ton of money. I do not fight withdrawal when I am in situations where lighting up is not an option. I do not face the angry stares of pontificating superior non-smokers.
I no longer smoke. I will never become a non-smoker.