Last week I found myself alone with my thoughts in the ER with a blood pressure of 199/117.  In between  test after test I began to think back to my past journal writings of my deceitful friend, the back stabbing cigarette.  I realized, I really have to quit smoking…. again.  My cigarettes are holding onto me tighter than they ever have before.  I am at a loss at how to shove them out of my life once and for all.  I’m re-posting some pieces I wrote back in 2007 about quitting.  I did quit, but I felt as if I had become the monster my cigarettes had once been.  I  started smoking again in early 2008 and have been smoking steadily ever since.  And honestly, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it!  But after my results from my test came back…. I know I have to quit.  I am putting a plan into action…. but….. I’m utterly terrified.

 

Beginning of old journal writing…

I started smoking on occasion when I was 19 years old. I didn’t smoke everyday. The extremes were, a cigarette or 2 a month all the way to a couple of packs a week. I really enjoyed smoking. Every time I would sit at my desk, with pen in hand to write a new poem or story, a cigarette would always take my writer’s block away. When I felt a little lonely, bored or depressed, they were there, always making me feel better. My cigarettes were a kind, non-intrusive friend. They were there when I needed them, but never forceful. If I didn’t want them around, they left me alone until I was ready. It was an ideal relationship.

Over time my cigarettes changed from a kind and patient friend to an over bearing, controlling one. After about 10 years of a wonderful, respectful relationship, my cigarettes became evil. They would no longer sit in the drawer and wait for me to come. They demanded I keep them with me at all times, and that I take up most of my free time devoted to them. They purposely left their scent on me, so everyone would know that they belonged to me. After a time, I became obsessed with my cigarettes. If I weren’t spending time with them, I was spending time thinking about them. Wondering when I would get my time with them and do I have them with me? I could not stop myself from thinking about these things, despite the fact that I knew I would always make time for them and I would always have them with me, as they demanded nothing less from me. I now lived my life as an addict. I smoked around a pack a day even though I could hardly breathe, and I was constantly exhausted. But the cigarettes are tricky and conniving and convinced me that if I have another cigarette, I would feel better. I believed it for awhile. But every once in awhile I would wise up to them.

Once, a few years ago I tried to leave them behind. But as controlling and manipulative friends do, they dug their claws in even harder, they stalked my thoughts, they made me feel out of control. Finally, after only 2 and half days, I took them back…and we were happy, for awhile.

About 7 or 8 months ago I began to see my cigarettes for what they really were. They began to annoy the hell out of me. I couldn’t stand the sight, the smell, or that sizzle sound they make when they’re lighting up. I was tired of them following me everywhere, and all of the time they demanded of me. I thought about leaving again, but I knew how slick they are. This time it would have to be different. I would have to outsmart them. Back door them when they least expect it. It was time to make a plan. These damn cigarettes were going to destroy me if I didn’t do something.

In February,  2007.  I was in and out of doctor’s offices with many problems going on at once.  Surgery was inevitable, but when was in question.  I knew that I would be having surgery, and I knew that being a non-smoker would make the outcome so much better.  But my cigarettes, my friend stood firmly, forcibly by me through the entire ordeal. 

The 5 days I spent in March when I thought I had cancer, my cigarettes were my constant companion. (It wasn’t cancer, thank goodness)  They spent even more time than usual with me, tricking me more and more with every passing minute.  They chanted over and over again that I couldn’t get through this without them, and I was actually stupid enough to believe them.  So, I lit up…A LOT.  I smoked more than I had ever smoked before.  I could literally feel my body deteriorating with every sizzle of another cigarette.

The results from my many test started rolling in.  Every incoming test confirmed that my cigarettes were slowly, but steadily killing me.  My impending surgery would be nothing compared to what was to come if I didn’t throw those damn things out of the door once and for all.

So, begins the plan.  I still spent time with my cigarettes, acting as if nothing was wrong.  But secretly, I was planning my escape.  I day dreamed about not smoking.  I day dreamed about not smoking in different situations that I would normally smoke.  These thoughts caused me to have a lot of anxiety and stress for awhile.  You’ve got to understand, these things, these cigarettes had been my friend for almost 20 years, it is a grieving process.  I couldn’t just throw the cigarettes out without thinking about it first.

After a time, the thought of ditching my smokes  no longer caused panic and anxiety.  Hell, I could do it in my sleep it had become so easy.  At this point, I started practicing what I’d been thinking about.  For example, usually as soon as I jumped into the car I would immediately reach for my cigs.  Instead of reaching right away, I would sing along with a song first…and then smoke.  At first, my cigarettes didn’t know what was going on…but after awhile they began to get suspicious.  As you know, when an evil, vindictive friend gets suspicious of your loyalty, WATCH OUT!!!!

My cigarettes were on to me, and they came after me with a vengeance.  They made my life a living hell for awhile.  They did not leave me alone for a free thought for more than a second, as they were always on my mind.  It seemed they were  controlling my every movement, forcing me to reach for a smoke, not realizing what I was doing until I was putting my cigarette out.  They are sly and they are sneaky, but above all else…they are powerful!  Cigarettes can put Lord Voldemort to shame!

Obviously, I had lost all control over myself and my life.  I knew it was going to be exhausting, but it was time for me to take  control of the situation.  Being a control freak, I  usually enjoy this,  but I knew this was going to be extremely daunting. 

At this point, we are up to about mid August, 2007 already. The war had been going on for about 5 or 6 months, and the cigarettes were beating my ass!    I kicked the fight up into high gear.  I understood the motives of “my friend”, it was going to be a fight for my life. 

For the next 2 and half months or so, I would purposely “forget” my cigarettes, or I would purposely make myself sick by smoking too many cigarettes, or smoking cigarettes that were stronger than I was used to.  I was still thinking about and practicing not smoking in certain situations.  I could feel myself getting closer to walking away and I could feel the anxiety creeping in.  Every time my cigarettes tried to take the power back, and control how and when I smoked, I’d push them away.

On Sunday, October 21, 2007 I realized that in order to give up my smokes, I was going to have to trick myself.  I would take over the roll of tricking.  I gave myself permission to smoke, but I thought of better things to do instead.  If I wanted a cigarette, I could have one if nothing else made me feel better.  It would be a battle of the wills, a competition against myself…and I was, I am, going to win.

end of old journal writing….

My cigarettes are still a manipulative, controlling, annoying friend that I allow to stay in my life.  This friend is slowly killing me….

I hope to figure out how to break this…. and I hope I can find the courage to share it here.  But I have to admit…. I’m a bit embarrassed for anyone to know that this beast is still in my life, and that I’m allowing it to do so.

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Comments
  1. candy pfau says:

    I loved that post Gia. My brother quit about ten years ago, he was 51 and smoked a pack and a half a day and he had bronchitis so bad he thought he was going to die. So, he quit. I heard you have to temporarily give up things that trigger the urge that go with smoking. He has never gone back to them. I am so glad because he is all I have left. My parents were both chain smokers and Dad died at 71 emphysema.

  2. Bobby says:

    Gia!

    I totally understand what you are talking about. I smoke as well. However, it is not an easy decision to just quit, but it is the right thing to do!

    It is a combination of will power, support, and changes in how we live our daily lives that will assist in such a healthy goal.

    I wonder if I should just cover myself in the “patches” and chew the smokers “gum” constantly to quit! It is a must, but getting my mind in that place to do it; well thats another issue!!

    I wish you luck on this venture, and hope to join you one of these days. I seriously need to stop! What the point of it anyway? hmm

    Hugs
    XOXO
    B

  3. Gene says:

    I am quitting smoking and this is how I am doing it. I keep scissors next to my ashtray. Then when I “need” to smoke, I smoke two or three puffs, and then cut off the lit end. By doing this, I am down to 1 ciggarett a day. It is working for me, maybe it could work for you.

  4. Manymeez says:

    Thanks for the comment and the support Candy and Bobby and Gene! And that sounds like a great idea Gene! I just started taking welbutrin, and then I’m going to try to quit again in about 8 days. The last time I quit, I did okay with the cravings, but I had a really hard time with having to actually feel things instead of smoking a cigarette. I became so angry, I couldn’t stand myself. I’m hoping the welbutrin will help with that.

  5. MamaD says:

    Gia:

    You write beautifully about this! It should be an ad for quitting smoking! It is not your fault your “friend” has turned on you…that was the idea behind loading them up with more toxins to they would literally become a serious addition. Dr. Oz says quitting smoking is harder than quitting heroin!! I too smoked since I was 14 on and off for many years and finally quit in 1995 after promising my dying grandmother (who had emphysema, grandfather died from lung cancer) that I would. But, you must have a plan to quit before you actually do stop.

    Talk to your doctor about the medications they can prescribe to help wean you off. My dad did it after nearly an entire lifetime of smoking (he’s 71 now) and it has worked for him.

    Don’t feel bad about yourself…it truly is a battle and addiction, and as such you NEED outside help to intervene. xoxoo

  6. MamaD says:

    P.S. Sorry about the spelling errors…I’m running on little to no sleep and was typing faster than my poor overtaxed brain could keep up…

  7. ladylennon says:

    You can do it Gia!

  8. Andrea_44 says:

    Gia I have never smoked in my life so I probably don’t fully understand the addiction, however I was raised living amongst smokers and have witnessed the results which probably is why I never have wanted to even try smoking in the first place!
    My Grandfather was a heavy smoker and died of Lung Cancer at the age of 72. Two of his three daughters (my Mother and her younger sister) both smoked as did most of their friends. My mother quit smoking the day she was told she had Breast Cancer at age 61 and she never smoked again. She quit cold turkey but always said it was the hardest thing she had ever had to do! Her sister quit a year or two later because she didn’t want to end up like her father. However both of them said they always missed it!

    I’m lucky that most of the friends I have made in my life are not smokers….but I married a smoker! Go figure! It’s the one habit I just can not stand, yet I married a guy who has the habit! He’s not a heavy smoker, in fact he’s gone through long periods of not doing it, and these days he only has about two smokes a day (still two too many in my opinion but who am I to tell him what to do!).
    I didn’t mean to go on for so long, but just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your writing, and to hope that you will successfully quit smoking. You can do it! However don’t put yourself down if you find it too hard! I wish you lots of luck.

    Andrea

  9. Gene says:

    Ciggarettes are definitely cunning. I have been trying to quit for 2 years during the most stressful time of my life, and I still have a pack in my drawer; I smoke about 2 cigs a day. I started keeping scissors next to my ashtray. Then I light up and take only 3 or 4 puffs and cut the cherry off very carefully so it can be lit again and again. But, like you, stopping all the way is scary. Good luck!

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