I quit smoking toward the end of December this past year. For the most part, I did pretty well, considering. I had a few slip-ups, but nothing major. I struggled, fought, and pretty soon it became easier, if not just plain easy some days.
I reveled in the non-smoking life. I could breathe, I wasn’t coughing all the time, my hair smelled good. I could smell a cigarette at 50 yards and, at times, I could have sworn I was allergic to cigarette smoke. The secondhand smoke just affected me that much.
Toward the end of January, things started getting difficult. DSB’s health was to take a turn for the worse, and that stress-free life I so enjoyed was over. I had become complacent about my quit, too. Not changing my patch when I should, not popping a lozenge when my brain told me I wanted a cigarette, not blogging about the struggle. I lost track of the fight within me to stay quit, and I got lost somewhere.
It started out with just stealing a cigarette here and there. Within the last two weeks, I’ve been buying a pack here and there, smoking a couple, a dozen, the whole pack here and there. Cigarettes are an addictive bitch, and I’m not talking about the nicotine. For the past two days, at home with an immobile DSB (health problems out the ying-yang, oh yeah!), waiting on him hand and foot, doing nothing but trying to run this house all by myself, I’ve smoked regularly.
And my body is pissed. And I am pissed. I’m coughing and hacking and I reek of cigarette smoke. I started to think about how great I felt in December and most of the way through January. How good it felt to be quit, how nice the air was moving in and out of my lungs, how my wind was better, how I had more energy.
They are absolutely fucking right when they tell you that quitting smoking now will greatly reduce serious risks to your health. And you feel amazing. I think the Surgeon General should put that on the pack, too: If you quit, you will feel amazing. Part of it is that you’re not smoking and part of it is that you tackled a huge beast and you are WINNING.
I’ve been lying in bed reading The Orange Buffalo by Grayson Queen, which so far has been amazing, and he is writing about (in this particular section) about drinking and disillusionment and the quest for perfection, and Grayson Queen helped me (about 15 minutes ago) to have my own personal epiphany.
I do NOT want to smoke. I do not want to be a smoker. I want to quit and have healthy lungs and live to see my nephew grow up and get married and have kids of his own. I don’t want to sneak around with cigarettes and lighters and be a smelly, smoky mess.
The other part of this personal epiphany, is that, yes, life has become quite stressful and that I, however, do not have to feed it. I can deal with it, I can manage. Without cigarettes. And without a bipolar meltdown.
My personal epiphany: I am happier without cigarettes. I feel empowered when I don’t smoke. I like the non-smoking Rosa better than the chain-smoking Rosa. And I definitely like the not-sneaking-around Rosa better than the sneaking-around one.
I have come to far to start telling lies again. I have come too far to give up this quit. I’ll be restarting that fight, effective 23 minutes ago. I will wake up in the morning, and I will not smoke, no matter what. I have patches and lozenges and I will use my tools.