Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Formal Apology to All Non-Smokers Everywhere

For as long as I can remember, I have been around cigarettes. Both my parents smoked when I was a kid, buddies smoked, and obviously in the 70's and 80's smoking was still widely practiced in places it isn't done now...restaurants, airplanes, waiting rooms, etc.

I began smoking in my early twenties. I had dabbled a LITTLE bit with it in my late teens, but not much, but I bought my first real pack for myself in college as a matter of fact. That's a fairly late start for smoking, so I've heard.


Last year, in November, I made the decision to quit. The decision was based on a few factors. First, my health as I age is becoming more and more of a concern. Second, the expense was really getting to be something to be reckoned with. And third, my older son Carter said something that really made me realize what a horrible example I was setting for my kids.


I didn't really smoke around them, always went outside, and maybe once or twice Carter had seen me do it in a park or something and paid it no mind. Bennett was still too young to even notice at all. But one day Carter came outside while I was smoking. I tried to hide it, but could not, and he kept asking me what I was doing.

'Smoking a cigarette', I said finally.

Still doing whatever it was he was doing with a ball, and not breaking stride, he said 'When I get bigger, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette like YOU'.

Well...crap.

So I went the route my mother had gone a year or so prior and used her, a lifetime smoker who has been smoke-free for two years now, as my primary source of inspiration. I met with my doctor and was prescribed Chantix to help me quit. As much as I bitch about drugs and how they aren't working for my son with his Epilepsy/Infantile Spasms, I can't really bitch about Chantix. It was a miracle drug. It didn't take every aspect away of wanting to smoke, but it helped in ways that the gum or the patch or anything else never, EVER did.

As I approach my six month mark of being smoke-free, I started to notice something awhile back. SMOKERS STINK. I walk through a store, Post Office, even a sidewalk, and I walk by someone who is a smoker, I instantly know it. And I don't mean the smell of a burning, lit cigarette. I'm talking a stale, shitty, used ashtray-type smell that follows them wherever they go like that filth-cloud followed that dirty kid on the old Peanuts cartoon strip.


So here, now, is my formal apology. To anyone whose car I smoked in, to anyone whose house I smoked in, to anyone I lit up in front of in a tight, confined space, to anyone I inconvenienced by having to stop what I was doing and go find a place to smoke, to anyone I exposed to my lingering stench, to anyone who had to kiss me on the lips with my cigarette-stench mouth, to ANYONE that had to be affected by my stupid, irresponsible habit...I am sorry.

Ahh...feel so much better now.

Actually I REALLY do, at least when it comes to not smoking. Everything else is pretty much crap right now, but I'm super proud of that. :)


9 comments:

  1. I don't really have any knowledge or experience with smoking, but from the people I know who do, and those who have dropped the habit, I know it's one of the most difficult things a person can go through.

    Congrats on winning the battle... and no worries with the stench. I'm sure the smoke helped to cover up your real odor.

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  2. Remember the time we kissed on the lips? Apology accepted, but you still haven't said 'sorry' for burping in my mouth. That was just gross.

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  3. I was actually afraid, seeing the title, that you had lapsed. As a fellow former smoker, I know first-hand how hard it is to stop. I don't have any experience with quitting hard drugs or anything, but I've always heard that walking away from heroin is easier that putting down cigarettes. As hard as it was for me to stop, I can believe that. I bet I "quit" over 100 times before I finally just stopped.

    Anyway, so as one of those buddies you used to smoke WITH, there's no need to apologize to me. But I am proud of you -- and of me -- for sticking with NOT smoking!!

    Oh btw Chad... you really should look into smoking -- you;d look so glamorous...

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  4. haha in particular AMERICAN cigarettes stink...the canadian ones aren't that bad, although yeah I do notice it still....

    damn I need to quit....perhaps I should talk to my doctor about getting that drug

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  5. I'm particularly proud of you for making the choice to go through the most stressful time in your life without regressing. That's one victory you can truly relish!

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  6. Its funny how all of a sudden you find yourself realising that smokers smell terrible after years of smoking. I have not had a cigarette in 5 years (not quit mind you, just not had - still want one at least once a day) and its interesting to think that not that long ago the same smell may have made you want one right then and there, depending on the mood and situation you're in.

    how to the drugs work? meaning is it like a 30 day treatment, and/or when you stop taking, do the cravings come back afterwards?

    I too am glad that you have not had a cigarette throughout all of this.

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  7. Chad:
    Yer funny. Looking.

    Matt:
    At least I didn't hurl.

    Travis:
    You always were a fun smokin' buddy. Ahh...memories...

    Stryder:
    Do it dude...that drug was what allowed me to quit. Seriously.

    Cecilia:
    I guess I should relish that...I came VERY close the first week of Bennett's diagnosis to going back, but in the end I just wasn't interested.

    Mike:
    Not sure exactly how the drug works. You start taking it while you are smoking. During that first week you start realizing that the act of smoking is just feeling different somehow, you aren't getting anything from it. So then you start modifying your behavior and quit. There are psychological cravings, just not physical ones. But they are easier to manage because the physical ones are not there for distraction.

    Essentially from what I understand the drug stops your nicotine receptors in the brain from allowing nicotine to be absorbed. Blocks it somehow. It also, over time, destroys those extra receptors that you have built up over the years of becoming more dependent on the nicotine.

    Anyway, no idea why it works or how, just know that it did.

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  8. I always love hearing about quitting- although it is very difficult ( I can only imagine) you've come so far. I grew up with smoke all around the house (both parents) over the years they both quit- for my dad it was cold turkey- my mom had a true battle- but beat it and it has been 8 or so years. Now I just need to work on my sister.. It is amazing how kids see us and what they notice we are doing.. both of my nephews smoke ( they are in their 20's) and the grew up watching my sister smoke- you did a great thing for your whole family. Not to mention your body starts healing as soon as you stop smoking!

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  9. Yeah I don't huff and puff nearly as bad as I used to, and now that a lot of the extra weight is coming off from my new 'Have a Severely Sick Child' Diet Plan the breathing is getting even easier still. :)

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