Quitting Smoking One Day at a Time...

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Memories of a Pack a Day Smoker....


Hi there fellow quitters:
I never did the goodbye letter to tobacco thing but while I was reading Bab's Letter, I almost fell out laughing because as Nicotine addicts, we make excuses for the worst sort of nonsense. I love reading a blog that really hits home the insanity that we take part of just by smoking cigarettes. I realized that these blogs might be a good thing when I would log on and read about the craziness of other people's addiction and I relate because I did the same stuff just to get that nicotine rush. I remember when I read in Maggie's Blog about her not missing standing out in the wind and cold to suck down poison and I could so relate. I have put up with extreme rain, wind, heat and other extreme weather types just to feel that feeling of "normalcy" that smoking a cigarette gives a nicotine addict. If I could just put that type of energy into a new project, it would be extremely successful. Speaking of projects, my project for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement is almost due. Now that I am feeling better, I can put all that energy into the oral history interviews and lessons I need to create before the holidays are over. I have a feeling my progress will be good. I will be back to work tomorrow. Lets hope I am totally better.

Parliament Cigarettes, Cancer and Other Memories...
I have a lot of memories associated with smoking and the holidays. I was one of those kids who grew up in a typical late 60's to 70's household where most people smoked. My grandmother smoked some kind of weird cigarette in a blue and white package with a special filter tip on it called "Parliament" My grandfather smoked a pipe and cigars and my mom walked through the malls and supermarkets, always carrying a lit cigarette. I used to beg her to quit. People called cigarettes "cancer sticks" from the time I was old enough to remember. My dad, on the other hand had the sense enough not to smoke. He just married a smoker. I remember when I was about five or six years old and I decided to bury my Mother's beloved Marlboro cigarettes (she later switched to Benson and Hedges) in my sandbox in the backyard. Lets just say when mom was deep into her conversation on the telephone and reached for a new pack she must have realized that about six packs of cigarettes were missing. She started screaming and wanted to know where her cigarettes were. I of course tried to say that I didn't know where they were and leave it at that. I had no idea about the "Nicodemon" that possessed mom and later myself with the urge to kill yourself slowly by inhaling rat poison, window cleaner etc. Mom made me "find" those cigarettes immediately and fear of getting my rear-end beat made me comply.

When my mom was too busy to go to the store, she used to send me down the street to the liquor store with little hand written notes asking the store owner to sell me three packs of Benson and Hedges 100's. I soon realized that most of the store owners didn't really care all that much if they were selling cigarettes to minors. I became pretty much a pack a day smoker by the time I hit middle school. It has taken me this long to feel like maybe I will not die as a smoker. Some people are not even that lucky. My mom was only able to stop smoking when she found out that she had terminal cancer. She had cancer that was found in her lymph glands and spread to her lungs. I am not really sure of the order but by the time the tumors were identified, it was too late to save her. She died at 49 and everyone in the family realized that most of her illness was due to smoking. I think I was about 20 when she died. Even though I saw first hand what happens when a person smokes, I continued to smoke cigarettes. I have tried to quit throughout the years with little success. Lets see, I've been to like five smoking cessation groups, done the patch like four times, used the gum, Zyban and hypnotism. A person really has to WANT to quit no matter what method they use. I have always taken the easy way out and gone back to lighting up. I do not want to do that this time. I want to stay quit.

Nicotine is an amazing and highly addictive substance. Most people who use it know what it does and what they consequences of smoking are but they continue to use it anyway. I hope to God I stay quit this time. I love the picture in the banner of my blog. It reminds me that the Nicodemon is still there waiting for me with open claws. One or two cigarettes will lead me right back to a pack a day habit. Learning to avoid those situations will make me or break me. Chanitx has been great but I have to go off of it eventually. Hopefully, now that the cravings are getting less and less I will realize how much I have gained. I have saved about $270.00 since I quit and I am on my way to having healthier lungs. I hope all of you continue to be quitters along with me.
Peace,
Diva

4 comments:

Stan said...

Hello, there, neighbor! I just got back from SFV...went shopping there. :) Now back home in LA. Glad that you joined the ranks of quitters who blog. It's an amazing sense of community to have all of us connected on the internet. I love your writing! Am going to subscribe to your blog, so please keep posting!

maggie said...

Diva, such a powerful post. I'm so sorry you lost your mom so young, too. Smoking has gotten much different since the days when a note from a parent was enough to buy a pack (although I didn't even need that). Your post reminds me, and I need all the reminding I can get, about why I *really* quit smoking. Yes, standing outside in the rain was no fun, smelling unpleasant wasn't pleasant, but really, the scariest thing was that I was likely going to die a smoker, and also likely from something related to smoking. When I was younger, I didn't get it. Now that I do, I shudder at the though. Thank you for reminding me.

You are doing great. Keep going!

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