Baby Steps

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA As of yesterday, I am five months smoke free. (Pause for applause. “Thank you, thank you very much,” she says in her best Elvis voice.) And I’ve finally got some time off from work, so I have devoted this week to exercise. On Monday, I did Pilates and a step class at the gym. On Tuesday, I started a 30 day squat challenge. On Wednesday, I had my first yoga lesson with Kelly, who is a wonderful person, teacher and addition to my life. On Thursday, I did boxing and kicking classes at the dojo.

When I woke up this morning, I could barely move. My sore muscles have sore muscles, but I feel wonderful. One of the side effects of detox is sometimes crippling depression. This is normal and people quit longer than me keep saying it will pass in time, I just need to stay strong, take deep breaths, wait it out.

I hadn’t been to kicking class, and consequently hadn’t seen Sensei, for a couple of months. Part way through class, he looked at me and said, “Eda-san, you’re different. You’ve changed, and not in a bad way.” I just smiled, but I knew what he meant. As I work my way out of my nicotine-addled funk, I am discovering a whole other Eda I had forgotten about. She’s smarter, funnier, prettier because she smiles more. She’s gentler, kinder, more at peace.

The battle isn’t over yet, probably never will be. The nicodemon still lurks in dark corners and leaps out at me, much the way Twitchy attacks my toes at unexpected moments, but I can swat him away the same way I do her. The depression monster still wraps himself around my throat and squeezes, but it’s happening less often. Instead, in recent days, I have unexpected moments of happiness. I can’t think of anything to call it besides joy. I am finally free of that wretched addiction and can start to make my way down the path toward discovering myself and who I am without the chemicals.

It’s a journey that requires no suitcases, taxis, passports, visas, or plane tickets and all of the travel takes place inside my own head, but the destination is worth every iota of effort and pain it takes to get there.

7 thoughts on “Baby Steps”

  1. This is such an inspiration to me. I cannot wait for the day I’ll be able to say I’ve been smoke-free for any amount of months. Thank you for sharing! So glad I stumbled across your post!

    1. Thank you for saying that!

      There’s a wonderful smoking cessation forum on if you’re serious about wanting to quit. It has been infinitely helpful for me.

  2. Quitting smoking was one of the two hardest things I’ve ever done. I remember the crippling depression…. I would burst into tears for no reason whatsoever. I’m glad to hear you’re kicking that addiction’s @$$, and to see that you’re doing it with such adorable sneakers! You rock.

    1. Hey, Nancy! So great to hear from you. I still break out in tears pretty often, but at least sometimes they’re happy tears. Glad you like the sneakers–I didn’t want to admit that I wanted them, but then they went on sale so I just had to buy them. I appreciate the support.

      When did you get into yoga?

      1. In 1991, when I lived in Manhattan. Ruth (remember her?) & I went on a weekend trip to a place called Kripalu in the Berkshires. I tried it, liked it, and found a yoga teacher in my neighborhood so I could continue when I got home. I was a yoga student for 10 years before I became a teacher. I’m excited for you to begin your yoga discovery! How are you liking it?

Any opinions about that? I love to hear from you.

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