I remember having a conversation, a long, long time ago when I was a kid, with my Granny about smoking. She had quit in the 80s, I think, when the doctor had made my Grandpa quit for health reasons. But we were talking about why she would have even started in the first place, and she said, “You know, it was the best friend I ever had.” I remember being so confused by that statement.
And now I smoke. I totally get it.
I have “quit” twice. Once, when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I thought, “Enough.” So Sawan and I quit together. Then, he and I broke up (for about a month one summer, but that’s a story for another post). The idea of being without him was just too much for me. So I started smoking again.
We quit again in March before he died. I wanted to have a baby. I didn’t want to be smoking for any part of my pregnancy. I didn’t want to wait until I found out that I was pregnant to stop smoking, and put my baby at risk for even a few days. I wanted to be getting my body in the healthiest shape I could pre-pregnancy, so I quit even though I hadn’t talked Sawan into actually getting pregnant yet. He quit a week later.
When Sawan died, I hung on for about a month or so. Then, it just got to be too much. My reason for quitting (getting pregnant) was no longer an option for me. Every time I found out that someone I was friends with was pregnant I had a cigarette, and I enjoyed it. I thought, well, if I can’t do that, at least I can do this! I enjoy smoking. I know it’s supposed to be this shameful, horrible thing, but I’ve always liked smoking. I wish that it was good for me. I’ve loved it since the first time someone gave one to me. It’s true, what Granny said. It’s my BFF.
I’ve made all of the jokes. “I’ve thought about not smoking anymore, but I’ve just decided, I’m not a quitter!”
But, I’m making choices these days. I’ve decided to choose life, and cigarettes have always been this rebellious, non-life-choosing thing for me. So I need to give up my best friend again.
Honestly, I’m a little bummed.
But, I’m doing a pre-emptive strike. I’ve started a major health kick with the way that I’m eating, so that I don’t substitute one addiction with another (namely, sugar), and by the time I quit I’ll (hopefully) be used to making good, healthy food choices. I’ve started working out, so that 1) I can tell a difference in the way it feels in my lungs when I stop smoking and 2) I can substitute an adrenaline addiction for nicotine. Worth a shot, right? I plan to quit on the 26th (when I have an appointment to try hypnotherapy for quitting).
But, I’m scared. I’ve never quit without Sawan before. So, I feel nervous about that.
Plus, I like smoking. There are situations socially when I feel like I can’t handle it, so I just escape by going outside to smoke. There are times with PTSD/anxiety where I feel like I can’t breathe, and with a cigarette it makes me take concentrated breaths and I feel like I can breathe again. Giving this up also makes me nervous.
But, I’m tired of the way I smell. I’m tired of feeling apologetic about it. I’m tired of spending money on something that’s so bad for me. I’m tired of the constant state of guilt that I feel when I see commercials on TV about COPD. And, my Papa, who died the same day as Sawan, died of lung cancer. I can hear his voice in my head, every time he would leave a voice mail for me, he’d tell me to put down that cigarette.
So I’m choosing. I’m choosing to be brave. I’m choosing life. Here goes nothin’.