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Monday, February 13, 2012

BECOMING A NON-SMOKER

BECOMING A NON-SMOKER

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.
Quitting smoking was not easy.  I waited until I came down with a cold and smoking was extra unpleasant.  The first couple of days without a cigarette were easy…until my cold cleared up; then the withdrawal hit.  It hit hard.  Several things worked in my favor to quit.  I was no longer surrounded by smokers.  I had quit drinking, which always increases the desire for a smoke, and I was determined.

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.

7 comments:

  1. Clap Clap this is a friggn amazing post. I too am an ex smoker and it still friggin sucks. I know that this is the best for my health but damn when a glass of wine appears that is the first thing I crave. That is why I do not go out and hang out drinking anymore. The withdraws I went through were awful. I basically was sick with the smokers cold for a week. Well said on the junkie, alcohol and heroin thing. People take such liberties on making smokers feel like crap and it is not cool. Smokers are to blame for everything don't ya know....I am glad I no longer puff but the cravings will never go away.

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  2. I gave up the cigarettes too Cranky and have now reached the stage where the smell of a cigarette is actually making me feel nauseous. Weird how the body goes from one state to another. Can't say I made a conscience effort to step though, because one day I had a cigarette and then the next I just didn't and I haven't done since.
    A friend of mine who has also given up the dreaded 'fags' as they are known in the UK, said "I can't believe I used to smell that bad"

    Keep up the good work.

    Lou :-)

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  3. ans may I add when you are in the hospital no one gives a damn about your addiction or withdrawals. If you are addicted to heroin, they give you methadone. No one thinks to ask if you need a nicotine patch

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  4. Congratulations on quitting!

    I would never go up to a stranger and lecture him or her, but it's hard to deal with it when someone I love smokes. My mom died of lung cancer from it. I can't imagine my two teenage boys will want to smoke after seeing their grandmother's illness, but that's one of my fears.

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  5. Congratulations, Joe! I am proud of you. I hope have added at least 10 more healthy years to your life because you quit, and now you can become more of a fly fishing addict and spend your cigarette money there, yes? Yes!

    Smoking is nasty, period.

    I feel sorry for a couple of my students whose parents smoke so much that when the kids take off their coats and let them fall to the floor, puffs of smoke waft up from their coats. One of them never wants to go home because he says it is too hard to breathe.

    I hope your food tastes better; I hope your clothes smell better; I hope your teeth are whiter; I hope your lungs breathe easier, and I hope you never, ever need another cigarette, again.

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  6. Good for you!

    When my son was 3 I was walking outside of the mall toward out car. We passed 2 men who were smoking. Once they passed my son pipes up with, "Mommy, smoking makes your penis die." Well I almost died, don't know where he got that from, but thought it was hilarious

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  7. While I would never go up to someone and lecture them about their smoking habits, I have to say that the smokers in this world affect me WAY more than an obese person, a person with a heroine addiction, or an alcoholic. See, when all those people are doing their habit (over eating, shooting up, drinking) they do not harm ME. But when I'm in a room full of cigarette smoke, or an airplane full of cigarette smoke (back when it was allowed) I am forced to breathe their smoke. That goes into my lungs. That is not healthy for ME. The heroine that is getting shot into someone else's veins does not go into mine, nor does the alcohol or the food of other addicts go into my stomach. So I do see a difference.

    All that being said, I would never tell someone to put out their cigarette in a place that allowed smoking. It's their right to smoke there. I'd simply change my seat. Or I'd just endure it. But I am very glad they have smoking sections now, and I'm very glad that in some places it's not allowed.

    When I was younger, my entire family smoked. It was the "in" thing to do back in the 60's and 70's I think. Right now it's not as popular socially. But back then...well, for Christmas I used to make my mom ashtrays. S I used to mold them out of clay and "fire" them in the kiln and all that. I'd even put in the little dips for the cigarettes to rest upon. But these days? My kids have never even heard of an ashtray. They don't know what an ashtray is!!

    Glad you quit the habit!

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