I’ve been feeling really down lately. Not depression-grade sad, but more like a recession. A lull. A low point in my mental and physical energy. I’ve been wrestling with a cold, and have found myself struggling to remain positive about things as I head into the holiday season. Today, though, I think I hit a sore spot inside me that I’ve decided to come to terms with.
I had put down cigarettes back in August. I simply put them down and walked away from them, and for about a week and a half, I was doing really, really well at remaining smoke free. I held my head up high, and was able to manage the occasional nicotine-driven urges to smoke. Then, I allowed myself to have one. Only one, but as I have learned, it was only one smoke that got me hooked in the first place. By the time my birthday had come around, not only was I back to smoking as much as I was before I had quit, I had lost control over this addiction again. I had let my cravings dictate me, and I gave up control to the nicotine my body was craving.
This has been vexing me ever since. I had really wanted to beat this monster this time around. I really, really wanted to be smoke-free for my 35th year, and I had disappointed myself. After smoking a cigarette, I knew I smelled. I knew that my beard and lips were now glistening with the dark, amber-like tar that comes from smoking. In fact, just the other day, I went to wipe my lips off at work, and felt, for the first time, the ooze of tar that had coated them after smoking. This same substance, sticky and full of known and unknown carcinogens, was coating every surface of my respiratory system. I was in my twentieth year of smoking, so I can only imagine what was going on within my circulatory system, as well. My arteries and veins and capillaries have been damaged by the smoking, for certain.
A dear friend of mine then announced that he was dealing with his third bout of cancer. It was a swift kick in the gut for me. My family has a history of cancer, some related to smoking. I know what this addiction was doing to me, and yet here I was, standing in the cold, late fall night air, dragging on a butt, then coughing and sniffling kfrom the ever-present congestion that smoking causes.
Today, as I was home sick from this cold, I reached my breaking point again. I read a book called “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” It was a few bucks on Amazon, and from all of the reviews, it seemed to have a positive influence on people. Many said that by the end of the book, they simply put down the smoking and never looked back. It was similar to the way I’d dealt with smoking before – I’ve simply put them down and had some moderate success, yet still fell off the wagon and returned to the demon weed. I figured, for the cost of a pack of smokes, I could at least give the book a read.
By the end, I’m not ashamed to admit I was in tears. I recognized that I was desperate to break this habit, desperate to put it in my past, and simply move forward with my life, and with my health. I put down the book, smoked one more ceremonial cigarette, and made a solemn promise to myself to never smoke again.
I can do this.