Thursday, May 15, 2008

Change Of Habit

I've been a smoker for 37 years. I started "full-time" at the age of 14. I used to steal them from my (evil) stepdad. Me and my best friend would act all cool smoking them at the skating rink. I also acted all cool smoking them across the street from school in the mornings.

Cigarettes were so much easier to obtain back then. Remember? We could buy them out of machines, which were conveniently placed just about everywhere. For about 45 cents a pack. There wasn't the big deal about the Surgeon General's warnings back then either. People could smoke in restaurants, movies and even department stores.

About the time my kids started school, the whole view of being a smoker changed. The aforementioned Surgeon General started issuing some very strong health warnings. Schools told kids to come home and throw away their parent's cigarettes. (Yeah.. mine tried that. Once.) No Smoking sections started popping up. The machines that dispensed them slowly went away and you could only purchase them at stores after showing ID.

The price went up. We all said we'd quit smoking when they hit a dollar a pack. Then two dollars. Then three dollars. Some of us did quit. Some tried. Some didn't. Now they are around five dollars a pack. Smokers will always find a way to continue buying them, though. Even back when I was counting pennies for groceries, I always had my cigarettes.

I've known people who have died from cancer. It was never enough to scare me away. I may have thought about quitting, but never made any serious attempts except for once when I quit for about four months. I knew that with my obesity and diabetes I was a walking time bomb. I still didn't quit. Or cut back for that matter.

I've had the occasional smoker's cough for a while. Recently though, probably in the last month or so, it's gotten bad. Really bad. More recently it's been an almost around the clock thing. I haven't been able to sleep from coughing all night long. I'd be out of breath almost constantly. I knew it was time for me to reconsider this whole smoking thing.

A couple days ago I started making it harder for myself to smoke. I made it so the cigarettes weren't by my side all the time. I made it so I'd have to walk to a different part of my apartment to grab one. I stopped taking a whole pack with me when I leave home.. instead I just take one. I don't put them on my nightstand at night anymore.

Since I made these small changes I don't think I've even smoked a whole pack. In the past I might have smoked three (or more) packs in the same amount of time. I know right now that although I have only about a half a pack left that I'm not feeling panicked or deprived from knowing I'm close to running out. I'm not planning an Ohio run to buy a couple cartons like we've been used to doing. (Ciggies are cheaper there.) If anything, I may just buy one pack when I go to Walmart in a little bit.

I've been able to get almost a full night's sleep every night since I started this change of habit. I hardly ever go into one of those five minute, turns red in the face from being out of breath, coughing episodes. When I have, it's been because I smoked a whole cigarette instead of just part of one. That of course reinforces the fact that I need to continue weaning myself off them them.

23 comments:

Sassy Mama Bear said...

Good luck, it is a big change, but one for the better.

peppylady said...

I'll do prayer for you. I know it not an easy habit to kick.

I never started up the habit and my hubby quite for a while and re started up.
I should even say a prayer for him to.

bundle-o-contradictions said...

Wow. I keep putting it off until Poor Hubby decides he wants to try to quit, too. I tried a couple of times to quit & he kept on. Impossible for me. Maybe some little stuff might help me, if I can't quit all the way. Keep up the good work!

Akelamalu said...

I hope you manage to give them up Barb. I gave them up 10 years ago and have felt so much better for it. Cigarettes are £5+ for 20 here, that's about $10 - another good reason to give up.

Kara said...

Good for you :) I have no experience with smoking so I have no idea how hard it must be to try to quit or just cut down, but I hoep you continue to do well :)

FRIGGA said...

Congratulations!!! Keep it up!!! :D

LadyBanana said...

Don't give up giving up - hopefully you'll be able to kick the habit altogether!

Siani said...

The very best of luck with quitting - it's such a shame that all the things humans like to do, tend to be harmful. Just a thought. As a motivator, why not get yourself a nice, big glass jar, then work out exactly how much you're saving by cutting down. Put that exact sum of money in the jar weekly, and watch it grow. Then treat yourself to a little something occasionally, as a reward for all your hard work.

Marci B. said...

Wow - what a story. I am so proud of you for giving it a try! Please know that we are all out here sending you strength and hope. You can do it :)

silverneurotic said...

Good luck!

Tammy said...

Good for you! Cigarettes here are over $9 a pack.

FRIGGA said...

P.S. We're playing Rockin' With Frigga, already started and through the end of tomorrow - come on by if you have time!! :)

Misty Dawn said...

'scuse me, I'm still trying to catch my breath after reading Tammy's comment! I didn't realize they were so expensive in Canada!

Barb, I am so freaking proud of you for so many things! As I told you on the phone the other day - you're doing quite wonderfully with 'taking breaks' from things for your benefit :-)

When I was 'quitting' (you know what I mean), it always helped to just take a couple 'hits' off one and then put it out - then go back to it later. That way, instead of smoking three cigs, I might have 'smoked' three times, but only one cig.

LUV YA and I'm supporting ya the whole way!
(P.S. Hijacked your comments again, didn't I? Ooops)

. . . Dallas Meow . . . . >^^< . . . said...

HOORAY for you Skittles!

Smalltown RN said...

good for you Skittles...you are so right it's not easy....I quit over 7 years ago....you know I tried to quit many tmes before that...and actually quit for 2 years at a time...until 7 years ago when I felt smoking was becoming such a ball and chain for me....so when I decided to quit it actually was fairly easly because I wanted to...I was ready

I wish all the success in the world with this...you are a strong and amazing woman and I know that whatever you set your mind to you can accomplish....one day at a time my friend....cheers!!!

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Good for you! My mom quit a couple of years ago after 50 years of smoking and I know it was extremely hard. One thing that helps her is to have something to chew on - her favorite is Mentos mints. Good luck! :)

The Beach Bum said...

Barb =

I've smoked for more than 40 years.

I quit once for 9 months, but that was out of financial necessity, not because I wanted to quit for health purposes.

I've tried Nicoretts and the Patch. I want to quit, but then again I don't.

I also limit myself and have gotten down to about 43 per day. I peaked at 3 1/2 packs a day.

I have COPD and still smoke! What an addiction!

Good Luck

The Beach Bum

Jen said...

Oh Barb, I'm wishing you the best of luck! I truly know you can do this. You are strong determined woman that can accomplish ANYTHING you put your mind up to doing! Great job on your accomplishment so far. Every little bit of progress helps :)

dabooklady said...

good for you, it is hard but you will feel better....best of luck in your challenge

jenn said...

I quit 6 1/2 years ago, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I did it cold turkey. Woke up one day, almost 7 months pregnant, and decided that my baby was more important than the nicotine. Yes, it took me 7 months. I can kick myself for that. But I haven't had, or wanted, a cigarette since. Now I just have to get hubby to quit!

Robyn Jones said...

47 years is a long time! Good luck to you, I know you can do it...Fortunatly I quit in my early 20s...hoping that my kids would never pick up the habit...and wouldn't you know it...all three of the girls smoke...cause all their friends smoke ect. ect. ect.....

Angie said...

I'm so proud of you for taking these first baby steps.

Way to Go!
Keep us updated.

Sheen said...

I do believe that you can make it. :)
Aja (fighting)!!!