This is off the topic of what I have been posting about lately but I feel the need to just throw it out there. Last Friday, at 7:30pm, I smoked my last cigarette. Deciding to quit right now was not a decision I made, more like I was forced to make it. Plain and simple, we are broke. It came down to getting milk for the kids or a pack of cigarettes for me. A no brainer, right? However, it was not an easy choice for a smoker of...oh at least 15 years.
I started stealing my mom's smokes when I was 13. Yeah I started young. At that point it wasn't an everyday, multiple times a day thing. It was a kid thing. A rebellious teenage thing. I guess I probably started because I saw my mom doing it. I had a few other friends who would smoke too, but the majority of them didn't.
By the time I was 18, old enough to buy my own cigarettes, I was hooked. I had a job, so I was supporting my own habit, no big deal right. I know all the arguments about cigarettes aren't addictive, blah, blah, blah. But I am here to tell you that they are. I don't know what it is about smoking, but once you start it is so hard to stop. I don't know if it's the nicotine, or what, but you crave that puff. You need it to function. You feel like crap if you don't get it. And it doesn't matter how many times people tell you you need to quit, you just can't.
I did manage to quit with each of my pregnancies. I did see my unborn children's life as more important than that puff of nicotine. But within days, or weeks of each of their births, I was smoking again.
I also managed to not smoke in the house....most of the time. And let me tell you New York in the winter...sucks to have to stand in the cold garage and smoke. I don't know how many times I stood out in the rain and cold; how many times I missed a song or a dance; how many times I just plain missed out on something just because I needed that smoke.
But then there were the times that smoking kept me sane. It helped calm me down when I was an utter wreck. When I my best friend died. When I was going thru my divorce. When I my son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. When my husband was in Iraq, fighting for our country and I was a single parent. The first time my son was hospitalized. I was alone in Denver, CO and I was upset. I would go out to the smoking area at the hospital and there were other mom's there to talk to. Smoking brought us together, helped us help each other. Smoking gave us each time away from whatever was going on upstairs in that hospital that was too much to deal with, it gave us short term friendships with people who knew what we were going through.
I noticed that I did most of my smoking while driving. Yup, major stressor. As soon as I would crank the car, I would light up. It didn't matter what time of day it was, what the weather was like or who was in the car with me (yeah I didn't smoke in the house, but did all the time in the car). And because I am such an on-the-go, never-stopping, kid-hauling momma, I smoked A LOT.
So while the battle is still not completely won, I am working on it. The true test comes tomorrow, payday, will I buy a pack or not? I would like to say that I am not going to be buying any cigarettes, but I know me. I want that nicotine so bad! I want to feel that cigarette between my fingers. Yes, that's right, it's not just the puff, it's the comfort of the feel of the cigarette in my hand.
If I could just find something to keep my hands and mouth busy.....maybe I will be buying a HUGE bag of tootsie pops instead.