Confession: I’m a smoker. I’ve been a smoker for about 5 or 6 years – and wow that sounds longer than I thought it was! Every smoker wants to quit. They might not admit it, and the may not even realize it — but there is always a part that wants to quit.
I can hear the non-smokers now saying “So just stop!”. But unfortunately, it’s really not that easy. Smoking is an addiction. It’s more than just a bad habit. There are triggers around every corner that make you want to smoke. There is a strange fear of failure if you attempt to quit and don’t actually make it.
But let’s rewind for a second and go back to the beginning of my relationship with cigarettes. I started smoking “late.” I smoked my first cig at age 21 – while most people seem to experiment in their teens. I took that first puff because I was in South America. Yes, I’m going to blame my smoking habit on an entire continent. Just kidding. But I really did see it as a cultural experience since social smoking was so common there. And when I eventually lived there for 2ish years, I felt just another Latin American smoker.
I’ve also had the unfortunate luck of dating smokers back to back to back (I haven’t dated a non-smoker since 2005!). The final nail in the coffin was working the restaurant industry. All restaurant employees seem to unwind at the end of their shift with a cigarette and booze.
So why do I smoke? (I’m attempting to be honest with myself here…so be nice) I smoke to deal with stress. I smoke when there is nothing else to do. I smoke to feel less awkward. I smoke when I drive. I smoke after I eat. I smoke when I drink coffee. I smoke when I drink alcohol. I smoke when I’m on my cell phone.
I think part of my problem is that I eat a lot of foods that make cigarettes taste good. Sounds crazy though right? It’s true though, trust me. Red meat, coffee, and alcohol all make cigarettes tastes A-MAZING.
Fortunately, there are also foods that make cigarettes taste bad. Like water, milk, cheese, vegetables, and yogurt.
Then there is also the issue of money. In my part of the world, cigarettes currently run from 7 to 9 US dollars. Good Lord, SO EXPENSIVE. I could buy a CD for the same price as a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of cheap wine, or some fancy cheese, or a Kindle book, or…. a lot of other stuff.
I want to quit. I really do. But if you see me with a cigarette lit, don’t be mad or disgusted and tell me I’m not trying. I am trying. I’ve tried quitting before and I know the obstacles. The triggers, the withdrawal symptoms, the anxiety.
More than anything, smokers who are quitting or trying to quit need positive support. Negativity will only push us back to smoking. Negativity means harsh scolding when we do smoke or giving us lectures about cancer and other health consequences (we know these things!!!). Give us positive alternatives to smoking, praise us when we hit quitting milestones, give us ideas for how to spend the money we aren’t spending on cigarettes – just keep it positive.
So I’m giving myself until November 17th to quit smoking. November 17th is the date of the Great American Smoke Out. That date might sound super far off, but it really isn’t. And by setting this date I’m not saying that I HAVE to smoke until that date. I just have to stop smoking before that date.
I’m throwing this personal decision and the specific date out into the interwebs in hopes of getting some positive vibes sent my way so I can beat this crazy smoking habit! Any positive advice? Let me know! Ideas of what I should buy with the money I’m going to save? Tell me!