Tag Archives: smoking

One Year Smoke Free

key dateMy Korean Air flight from Seoul was about to land at Denpasar in Bali when the clock ticked over to midnight and April 19 began, and thus I achieved my one year of smobriety. (The term “smobriety” is one of many helpful tools hopeful quitters will find on About.com’s smoking cessation forum. I’ve never been a bumper sticker kind of person, but quitting is hard, and sharing it with others helps a lot. If you’re ready to try, that’s good place to start.)

So we had done it. After a lifetime of poisoning ourselves, one year had passed without me inhaling a single puff of expensive, stinky, life destroying tobacco. According to the forum, only 7% of quitters make it through the first year, so I figure that’s something to be pretty proud of. (See what I did there? That’s called an “understatement”.)

I could go into all the stages of pain it cost but instead I will share two pearls of wisdom I learned the hard way that might help people who want to quit.

Pearl 1: I used to get annoyed at people who referred to smoking as a “dirty habit”. As a smoker, it doesn’t seem all that dirty, but for months after quitting, I would sometimes grab a sweater I hadn’t worn in a long time, pull it over my head, gag, and toss it into the wash.

And habit? Nah. It’s an addiction. People who haven’t experienced addiction can’t begin to understand what it is. But then I quit and realized how right they were. The addiction is hard, but the habit is so much worse. Smoking becomes not just something you do; it becomes something you are. You spend all day every day thinking about when and where you can have your next smoke, and it only got worse as the world became more and more anti-smoking. Plus, no matter what the world throws at you, your dear friend Mr Cigarette is always there, happy to provide a screen for you to hide behind. But take away that screen and the world is still what it is. The smoke doesn’t change anything. It all comes down to learning the difference between needing and wanting. Once the need is gone, the want can be dealt with.

Pearl 2: Denial. I used to say, “I like smoking. I know that I’ll never be able to quit because I like it.” That was complete and utter bullshit. I hated it, but to admit that I hated it was to admit that I’d been a smelly dope for longer than I could face. The longer I stayed quit, the more I realized there is absolutely nothing, not one good thing, about smoking. Even this: Smoking is a great excuse to go outside and get away from the people at work for a few minutes. But you know what? You can do that anyway, and people are a lot more sympathetic when you tell them you need a breath of fresh air than a lungful of poison.

So there it is. We did it, and as long as we don’t let ourselves romance the smoke, I think we can stay quit. Cheers and gratitude to all those who have been so supportive and special thanks to Rumiko for this, a happiness tree that symbolizes two burning cigarettes, yet costs only water and produces only oxygen.

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Just a thought….

I read somewhere that when you are born, perhaps just for the briefest of moments, you are the youngest person on the planet and therefore unique. At first that struck me as such a charming thought. But then I realized that birth is not something you choose. Instead, it is chosen for you, and you certainly can’t take any credit for it.

What really matters, what can make a difference, is whether or not you manage to find that uniqueness again, as your own choice, whether you choose to make that choice and follow through with it, whether you have the bravery to look within yourself and find your one unique thing and then find a way to share it, and let others share their uniqueness with you.

This is not something I’m good at. For too many years, my cancerous little friend was my best friend and constant companion. I do not miss him but I’m still learning how to live without him. I had no idea how strong his hold over me was.

Farewell and good riddance, my false-faced friend. In fact, not even farewell. I hope bad things happen to you. I hope it rains every day until the tomatoes in your garden are nothing but bug-infested mush. I hope all of your toenails become ingrown. I hope all four tires on your car go flat and you slam into a concrete wall and your airbags don’t inflate. I hope they create some new bad things to happen to you that have never happened to anyone before.

That could be your shot at uniqueness. Enjoy.

Pet Peeves

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***Warning! Oncoming rant***

Things that drive me really, really crazy:

-People who don’t watch where they’re going because they’re too busy playing with their phones. Watch out! I’m winning the battle against smoking but losing the one against the urge to grab your phone and hurl it against a wall.

-People who slurp their spaghetti. Ramen, udon, soba: acceptable. Spaghetti: no. Stop it. RIGHT NOW!

-People who wear their keys on the outside of their pants. There’s enough superfluous noise in the world already. And you know you only do it because you can’t afford a red sports car.

-People who say “nucular”. Come on, y’all. It ain’t a word.

-People who pretend to be stupid to avoid responsibility. A woman I sometimes have to work with does this. She doesn’t listen when I talk so, of course, she doesn’t understand what I say, and I end up having to explain everything three times. Also, she doesn’t speak English and yet the company keeps putting her into jobs where she has to use English. I’ve known her for years now and she hasn’t gotten any better. I think I understand why. It’s a form of rebellion because she doesn’t want to speak English. She’s nice enough in other ways; I don’t dislike her, but I do resent having to work twice as hard to cover for her. I’m very curious about what her other colleagues think.

In another department there’s a guy who is both stupid and incompetent and everybody, including him, knows it. I’ve asked our colleagues why they put up with it and they say he’s a sweet person.

“But…I don’t CARE about that! I would much rather work with an intelligent asshole than have to clean up the messes of people who are not qualified to do their jobs!”

Honestly, they don’t pay me enough.

***End of rant. Thank you for listening.***

The Tale of the Little Green Monster

I’ve never met most of the people who read this blog, so you can’t know this about me, but I was a heavy smoker for more than thirty years, Rochi even longer, both of us for our entire adult lives. I’ve always been careful not to mention smoking here, fearing people would think less of me because of it. (Yes, I’m that much of a weenie.) Add that to the lengthy list of reasons to quit.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAAnd quit we did, just over a month ago. I have a lot to say about that but it may take some time before I’m ready. The little green monster who lives behind my left ear still jabs my brain with his pointy pitchfork every now and then, giving me a “Ka-Pow!” moment. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and send out thoughts of gratitude for dopamine replacement therapy.

Wish me luck. Or better yet, wish me strength.