I decided to quit smoking in January. Well, decided may be the wrong word for it. I didn't really think about it, it wasn't like I sat around writing up a list of pros and cons and, seeing that the pro side was vastly less populated than the con side, announced "That's it! I shall stop smoking!"
What actually happened was I was sitting in my home office with all the doors closed so the smoke wouldn't get into the rest of the house when it occurred to me that I was just done. I'd been spending way too much time lately burning scented candles and spraying air freshener because the smoke smell was bothering me more than usual. I was smoking around a pack a day and doing so was bugging me. It's expensive ($10+ a pack here in New York State), it stinks up the house, it stinks up my clothes, it stinks up my hair, and ... oh yes, let's not forget this little detail ... it's deadly. The only good thing about smoking for me was the fun factor. I liked it. Or at least, I did like it. All of a sudden the fun factor was getting its ass kicked by all the negatives. All of a sudden, smoking wasn't so much fun anymore.
So I stopped. There in my office I was puffing away when I said out loud, "Oh man, this is just disgusting." I mashed the cigarette out, threw the rest of the pack away, emptied every ashtray in the house, washed them, and packed them away in a cabinet. I've been a smoker, on and off, since the early 1980s, but always insisted to people that I wasn't addicted. The response to that pronouncement was almost always the same: "Yeah, right." Everybody assumed it was the addict in me talking when I said I wasn't physically hooked, but I really wasn't. I was socially hooked in a big way. Loved to smoke when on the phone, or in the car, or after a meal. Sitting down with a friend for a chat and a glass of wine? Out came the cigarettes. Cup of coffee? Oh yes, cigarette required. I was never one for going outside in the freezing cold to huddle against a building for a puff (that's not to say I never did it, but I never liked it and for the most part preferred not smoking to standing around like a delinquent in some alleyway). So on January 9, 2015, around 6 o'clock at night, with no fanfare and with ten or so cigarettes still left in the pack, I just quit.
I have to say it has not been hard. There were a few times when I got this "saliva feeling" in my throat that I think was a physical reaction to wanting to smoke. And yes, there was the altercation I had with the TV remote after I dropped it on the floor. The remote stopped working and I flipped out, screamed and cussed and pounded it on my desk 12 times, then threw it across the room. I know I pounded 12 times because there are now 12 tiny holes in the wood where the little nub on the back of remote punched into my desk top. (Ironically, the remote just needed new batteries.)
On the good side? The house and my clothes and my hair smell wonderful, the very tiny cough I once had is gone, and I wake up every morning without the fuzzy and nagging thought "gottaquit gottaquit gottaquit." Then there's the money! Sixty-seven days (as of today) equals $670. By the end of one year, if indeed I had smoked a pack a day and taking into consideration that I infrequently bought cartons, I will have saved $3,650, much of which I plan to plug into my Maine summer vacation. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call a win-win!
What made me stop? Who knows. Sometimes you just hit the wall with things: bad habits, bad choices, bad people. Sometimes you just say "I've had enough" and walk away, feeling so much better -- on every level -- that you did.
So I'm taking a deep breath (an easier thing to do now), enjoying Day 67, and looking forward to Day 68 ... and to all the good smoke-free days to come.