But now, it is official.
No wiggle room.
Growing up, I was always around people who smoked. My Grandma was a chain smoker. My Mom and Dad smoked when I was younger as did the friends they hung around. At 10, when my little brother was on the way, my Mom and Dad quit smoking cold turkey. Dad, barring bumming an occasional smoke from someone when he's out with the boys, has had luck staying away from the cigs. My Mom was able to kick it for at least seven years, and then, I'm not sure why (yeah... it was probably my fault **wink**), she started smoking again during my senior year of high school and has been chain smoking ever since. Not sure how many she smokes a day, but I'm sure it is more than a pack.
What is interesting is that I never smoked when I lived at home. I hated it. I hated that my clothes were always smoky stinky. Hated that you could move a picture in my Grandma's house and see an outline of where it had been on the wall. Hated hearing her cough incessantly.
Then, post-college, I discovered clove cigarettes. They were so sweet smelling and they tasted good. When I would go out on the road with the band, or out for a night on the town or just hang out with friends that smoke, I'd get a pack of cloves "for fun." I would never inhale... just taste the sweet taste and blow it out. This actually worked for a LONG time. I could make a pack last for a month or more just smoking socially.
About a year after we moved to Nashville, things were crazy at work. At one point I was trying to juggle three departments and was working 14 - 16 hours a day. I felt stressed-out, unappreciated and used. So, one day, on the way home, I spotted my pack of cloves in the car and thought, "Wow. That looks pretty good right now. I think I'll light one up."
As you may have guessed, one turned into two and then three and then four cigs on the way home each day. Soon, I was smoking them on the way to work. Then, I was smoking them at lunch. It just snowballed. And, I was really smoking... really inhaling.
Once I left the station, it only got worse. I was physically sick, even more stressed out and suddenly didn't have to work two days in one anymore. So, I started sitting out on my deck and/or screened in porch to write... and smoke. I'm surprised I didn't turn into a clove cigarette at that point in my life. When I secured some freelance work, it helped, but I was still smoking too much.
For the most part, I don't think the people I worked with had any idea I was smoking. I was, and still am to a large degree, a closet smoker.
In January, I told myself that I was going to quit smoking in 2005 for many good reasons:
It's not good for my throat (singing), the aftertaste is awful, I'm starting to cough like my Grandma, my car reeks of smoke smell, and so on and so forth.
You get the picture.
And, I've tried several times this year, but really wasn't committed to it. I'd quit for a week or two and then buy a pack for the weekend. Of course that was it... I'd start all over again.
I mean really, this is not rational: When I'm stressed at someone / something else I put a cigarette to MY mouth. How does hurting myself fix ANYTHING?
How many more people do I need to hear about dying from smoking, both in the news and those that I'm close to, before I get my head out of my butt? Huh? How many?!
- Peter Jennings died of LUNG CANCER at age 67. He smoked for 20 years. Quit. And started again four years ago.
- My Grandma died of EMPHYSEMA at 83. She'd been a chain smoker since she was 16 years old. The last 15 years of her life were miserable because of the sickness / complications brought on by years of smoking.
- My sister-in-law's Mom died three years ago of EMPHYSEMA and health complications surrounding it. She was only in her 60's. The last 20+ years of her life she lived as a shut in because it did her in to travel, go to the grocery store, anything.
- Two of my great aunts (Til and Margaret) died of CANCER. Both were long-time smokers and nurses.
- My friend's mom died a little more than a year ago from LUNG CANCER and EMPHYSEMA brought on by chain smoking habits that began early in her life. She, too, was a shut in the last few years of her life because she was so sick.
I'm committed to NOT smoking ever again.
Hopefully, it isn't too late for me, too.