Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy anniversary to me!

Seven years ago - on June 16, 2002 - I walked down to garage of our then-townhouse, opened the garage door, flicked my Bic, and lit the last cigarette in my pack of blue American Spirits. I didn't know it at the time, but it would be my last cigarette. You see, I had been wanting to quit for a while. Actually, I'd tried quitting several times (at least 40). I'd tried everything from cold turkey to Wellbutrin to the patch and nicotine gum, but nothing worked.  So even though I wanted to quit, with my past history of failures, I wasn't sure it would ever be possible.

However, I never went back to the store to get more cigarettes. I can't explain it except to say that somehow, I was just done with smoking.

Since then, I've become (like most ex-smokers) very ANTI-smoking. I can't stand it. I can tell when someone around me has been smoking - like in the mornings when I get on the elevator at work with a bunch of people - and it grosses me out. I cheer when I hear about smoking restrictions in restaurants, at the airport, and other public places. I get really irritated when I see people smoking around kids - especially in cars.

Yet I know from experience - it's an addiction. I've read that kicking the nicotine habit is as difficult as kicking heroin. I can believe that.

So I have a sort of odd sympathy for other smokers . . . I want them to quit, but I know how hard it is. And I know that only they can decide to quit. You can't do it for someone else. You have to do it for You.

I'm so glad that I quit smoking. For me (someone who grew up on a tobacco farm, had several family members who smoked, and had my very first smoke at the tender age of 13), it was a huge accomplishment. I'm very proud of it. So happy anniversary to me!