10 years ago I went out to the club with my friend Erika. I had decided that I wanted to cut back on my cigarette smoking, so I took only 2 cigarettes in with me. Well, that didn’t work out so well. I bummed 2 more cigarettes off some guys that night.
I am a nurse and knew what was happening to my lungs and my overall health. I had 2 patients shortly before then that were leaning me in the direction of having to quit. Cutting back was what I knew I could probably do. I was a pack a day smoker since my teen years. Picked up my first cigarette in 5th grade.
One of those patients was on oxygen and yet still decided that smoking was a good idea. I watched as her <50 year old body that resembled that of someone at least 20 years older continue to deteriorate, her voice raspy and harsh, skin thin and wrinkled. I knew there were 3 reasons a person smoked. 1.Addiction 2.Habit and 3.Enjoyment. Usually it is a combination of those. I smoked out of habit first, but I enjoyed it too. People that smoke every day all day are usually addicted too, as opposed to “Social Smokers”.
Days before the night I went out with Erika I saw an old women, bee hive hairdo, driving a boat of a Cadillac. She had a Virginia Slim in her right hand hanging out her window, I swear there was a cloud of smoke coming out from that window. She was coughing so loud, hacking up a lung, seriously, I was waiting to see her blackened lung come out her mouth. THAT was the moment I know I had to do something about my smoking habit.
When I came out of the club that night I went straight home and went to bed. I didn’t smoke at all that next day (kind of). I knew this would be it. I knew the decision had been made and I was never going to smoke again. I felt that was my final fair well to cigarettes. Except, I didn’t feel like I really got to Enjoy my last cigarette. SO – I went outside that night and joyfully smoked my last cigarette.
OCTOBER 4th 2004.
It took a while for people around me to recognize I wasn’t smoking. But for me, all of a sudden the smells around me were, well, I could smell. I could smell for miles. It was a very strange sensation. And for 10 years now I wonder if I still want to smell some of these things.
I will tell you that 99% of the time I smell cigarette smoke I have to walk away, I have to get away from it, I think it is the worse smell ever. But the other 1% is what really matters in life. It’s that 1% that still calls to me. I haven’t bought a pack of cigarettes in 10 years and I don’t ever plan to again. I will hold that 1% as my strength, not my weakness.