Meatball loves to celebrate!
St. Patrick's Day has become a special day for me because it is a special Anniversary; 6 years ago today I smoked my last cigarette. Any of you who smoke, or who smoked in the past know what a huge accomplishment that is! I had quit many many times before, but this was the time that finally stuck.
I smoked my first cigarette the first time I got drunk; I was 16. I remember being taught how to hold it, how to inhale, etc. I also remember how HORRIBLE it tasted, and how immediately my lungs rejected it, as I sputtered and spewed out the nasty smoke. Then I tried it again.(Everyone else was doing it, so I had to keep up...) By the time I was 20, I LOVED my cigarettes - though I was always ashamed of the stinky habit, I was addicted.
I didn't know it at the time, but as I lost weight in 2003-2005, cigarettes helped me curb my appetite, sped up my metabolism, and gave me another outlet for my uncomfortable feelings. How much they helped, didn't become clear until I gained the weight back. Now I see how much more challenging it is to lose the pounds without that crutch. Though I sometimes romanticize it - I KNOW it's the best thing I've ever done for my health. No question about it.
I read the book; The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I believe it was particularly helpful because;
1) It allowed me to continue smoking while I read the book, in fact he encourages you to smoke while your read it.2) I knew my addiction was not physical after the first three days(which I had gotten through a thousand times) so the book helped me deal with the desires as they presented themselves, and boy did they.
I believe that it was just over the past two years that I have ceased to crave it periodically. I am not tolerant of the smell at all, but my two lasting triggers are; 1) seeing it in television and movies and,2) when I am drinking(which I rarely do either.) Second-hand smoke kills, so if I am going to suck up someone else's smoke(think smokey bars, yes they still exist) my thought is, "I'd rather enjoy doing the damage..." Obviously, I don't go - which is preferred for a number of reasons.
I knew gaining back weight was a risk of quitting smoking, but I didn't care - I hated being a slave to that nasty addiction and it was expensive then, let alone now!! I felt smoker shame all of the time, I can only imagine how much that has increased for people over the past six years, and I honestly think it's a good thing. Not that smokers deserve to be discriminated against, or shamed, but social pressure can be motivating.(Though interestingly, I don't feel that way about losing weight, hmmmmm) The reality is, you do have to want to quit - just like any bad habit, you are the one who lives with the consequences of your choices - no one else. Unless you smoke in your house or your car, with others in it - then I say; stop being SELFISH!
If you are a smoker, even socially(if you aren't addicted and just have "one or two" a week, etc.) then why do it at all? It's not romantic, or cool, or bad-ass, or any of those things you believed at 16. It's disgusting, and it's completely a result of Big Tobacco intentionally DRUGGING you, to steal your hard earned income, and your health. They own all of the smoking cessation gums, drugs and treatments too - so do yourself a favor and do them a big EFF YOU, and buy the book instead. I promise you, you can quit too, and St. Patrick will bless you with the luck of the Irish. Okay, maybe not - but you will be so glad you did it!
For interesting health stats on quitting smoking, take a look at this chart! I am in the "long term" health benefits(yay!), but I remember being stoked about what happens within 24 hours. In fact, I used to have a poster of these stats hanging on my fridge for the first few years after I quit, just to remind myself. The slightly scary statistic, is that it can take up to 15 years to resemble the insides of a non-smoker; but it CAN happen - and after being a smoker for 16 years myself, I'd say that's a miracle!
Top O' the Mornin' to YA!
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