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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us! GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS buddy list.
As I wrote in one of my earlier diaries when it comes to quitting smoking, especially in my most recent failed attempts, those two failed attempts ended when I encountered the Alibi crew in what we will just call Relapse City. A combination of our adult children, their spouses, assorted personalities, and on some levels experts in their fields that hang around the Alibi Pub. I'm sort of an honorary member of that group and when I got around them, since many if not most of them smoked cigarettes I would join them. Even if I hadn't smoked a cigarette in two or three months. But we all know that all it takes in one so as soon as I started smoking around the Alibi crew I was hooked again.

Now, in a couple past diaries I've had to admit that the Alibi crew in Relapse City was one of my worst triggers and biggest challenges. Then I had to admit I survived the last trip to Relapse City at least in part because about half the crew, the most dedicated smokers, were out of town. And as it turned out the only member of the smoking member of the crew that was around was also trying to quit smoking. Again. So it wasn't like I didn't still have my temptations and triggers to get past, but there were a lot fewer of them than there could have been.

But that was not the case this time by a long shot. In fact we will just call this one the "Andy Frasco run," which probably doesn't mean anything to anyone else but is important in this instance because if Andy Frasco is in town the Alibi Crew will be out in full force. And that is because Andy Frasco and his band are high octane, hard driving fun, that tends to cause people to have a few more drinks and a few more thousand RPM closer to the emotional “red line” than they might have intended. Which is why the Alibi Crew has all but adopted him and if he’s playing anywhere within 300 miles of them they drop what they are doing and turn-out in full force to go and see him.

Which is where I come in, or more truthfully where Grandma and I come in, because if all four of our kids are going to go to see Andy Frasco, then they need babysitters, and Grandma and I offer to babysit all the Grandchildren together in one place. And to continue being honest a lot of that is because of Grandma who had a great family life which included great relations with her extended family and special relationships with her cousins which is something she wants to pass on. So we actually look for opportunities to get all the cousins together, which is great, unless I’m trying to quit smoking and the Alibi Crew just happen to be my greatest temptation.

Not this time though. And I was actually surprised myself because I was more than a little worried about it. First there were the smoking stations in two garages. That’s where two of my children and/or their spouses and friends usually smoke because they normally don’t smoke cigarettes in their houses. They tend to leave their cigarette packs out there, and worse for me at least, very tempting “smokeable” cigarette butts, that are very tempting for me to “sneak” in a little smoke without smoking an actual cigarette. I dreaded having to walk past those places but instead of being tempted I was actually repelled by the smell and the mess. That was a huge plus for me.

But that was only one trigger and not the worst one. The worst one, and the one I dreaded most, was the socializing with the Alibi Crew that cigarette smoking is a very big part of. It’s the talking and laughing with them while we smoke cigarettes. It’s the bonding that attracts me. And while that is true with the entire Alibi Crew there is one more level of temptation that supersedes all others and that is the bonding with my buddy Eric.

There’s at least a decade and probably closer to two separating Eric and I with me being on the long toothed end of that separation. But we’ve had a few similar experiences that not too many others can share. Such as Eric and I at one time were both hunting guides. Except I would walk into the “East Fork” for two or three weeks to guide elk hunters. And in the meantime Eric would ride into the “Thoroughfare” with one group of hunters and while more hunters would come and go Eric would not ride out of the “Thoroughfare” for two or three months. And again this is something you’ll have to just trust me on but by that amount of time you’re not so much hunting elk any more than you are living with Grizzly Bears and trying to keep them from eating your horses, camp, hunters, and incidentally yourself. That’s what Eric did.

So when Andy Frasco quit playing a little after midnight at the Alibi Pub, and one of my son-in-laws showed up to relieve Grandma and I of our babysitting duties, and informed me my presence was requested at my other daughters house by members of the Alibi Crew I knew I was about to be tested and the biggest test of all would be when Eric and I ended up alone. And allow me to describe Eric with another little anecdote. When Eric and I did end up alone catching up since the last time we’d seen each other it was by the fire Eric had started in the Chiminea in my daughters back yard. And by that time Eric had a fire that had three feet of flames shooting out of the top of the Chiminea and Eric had started that fire with nothing more than a cigarette. Because he can. And kids don’t try that at home unless you have several hours and decades of experience because its just not something most people can do. But Eric can.
And so there we were face to face with a cigarette hanging out of Eric’s mouth when he leaned in even closer and said; “I hear you quit smoking.”

“That’s right,” I said, adding I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in more than 100 days.

And while I said in my previous diary that in a situation like that a smoker, even a stranger you don’t know that’s just heard you quit smoking, will give you a cigarette if you ask for one this time before I could have even thought of asking for one Eric leaned in even closer, actually blew smoke in my face, and then said; “Man that is so great. I’m so proud of you. And I wish I could quit so bad I dare you to ask me for a cigarette and I will kick your f$%king ass.”

That’s all I needed and we both laughed and on that night (well actually the wee hours of the morning) Eric and I spent our time with me telling him about GUS and my state’s quit smoking program, and how when he decides to I’ll help him quit smoking if he wants me to. It went from temptation to triumph right then and there.
And you know I’m still feeling great about that three days later.

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