Today calls for celebration. Two years ago, I decided to permanently quit smoking cigarettes. Much to the amazement of everyone who knew me in college and my close group of friends, I finally realized the harm it was doing to my body. That’s the thing about smoking, you can’t tell how much it fucks you up until you’re gasping for air at the littlest of movements. Walking up a flight of stairs felt like agony and made me sweat more than needed. I was weak and knew it. You do tell yourself various excuses along the way not to give up the habit — it’s only inevitable.
Don’t get me wrong. Smoking is fun and I have far too many fond memories just kicking it outside my shitty apartment in IV with my friends and a few beers. The feeling of drinking and smoking is something else. Your entire body is relaxed as is your mind cleared of unwanted thoughts. It’s a brilliant combination and it’s no wonder so many people do it together. The smell of my favorite brand of cigarettes conjures up vivid memories right down to the finest details. It’s a trap. Give up smoking and you’ll never have those memories triggered, but you’ll gain years onto your life. I think it only adds to the difficulty — so many people try to quit, but ultimately fail.
This would be my third attempt of giving up my beloved American Spirit Blacks. Previously, I tried everything from nicotine patches to chewing gum with limited success. If you really want to stop, I would advise telling everyone you know you’re trying. In doing so, it’s not solely about you, but rather not being disappointed at letting everyone down. You’ll have a few bad apples along the way — people who question your newly minted desire to be smoke-free. Words to the wise: fuck them. Even now, my boss and the owner of the company I work for give me shit for quitting while I’m so young. They both say doing so was naive and I could easily quit in my 30s than stop completely now. These people are weak and you can’t expect them to know where you’re coming from.
At my worst, I was smoking two packs a day. I question if my lungs ever got any actual air in them at this very thought. Add nights filled of alcohol binges and I might as well have been a walking time bomb. Life has a way of really wanting to fuck you and this is my best example. I was not well and knew it, yet I had not the will to stop — yet.
Will is something I believe anyone with a desire to change has. Motivation is the missing component in fulfillment of a person’s goals. Maybe it was my fear of any early death — quite the possibility at the rate I was going or my sudden realization I didn’t have a good enough reason to keep this up. School was done, yet it continued. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I kicked the habit. It still amazes me I’ve made it this far. My lungs recovered, but my voice is raspy and deep. You can’t win them all.