So I'm in my 10th day without a cigarette after being addicted to smoking for almost as many years. I wanted to write a little bit about this because the GUS (Gave Up Smoking) diaries that have been popping up here at DKos have been a source of strength for me, and may have actually spurred me into taking action by putting down my last cigarette.
There were years of procrastination involved in getting to this point...
Pretty much ever since I knew I was hooked, I've wanted to quit. It's not something that appeals to me -- being addicted to a substance. Although there were many times when I was fine with it -- so long as I had a pack that was mostly full and a place to smoke them.
My wife and I have fought about smoking for years, even before we were married. I've told her I was going to quit maybe a half dozen times over the years. Occasionally I meant it. Even when I did, though, the result was the same. Tobacco made me a liar. Its hold was so strong that I'd lie to the person I love most in the world.
The thing that kept me hooked for so long was less physical nicotine addiction than psychological addiction to the act of smoking. Stepping outside by myself somewhere quiet and lighting up a cigarette was a wonderful, stress-relieving experience for me. Smoking goes great with the things I love: Writing, conversation, drinking and eating.
I didn't have any of the usual things that make people want to quit. The money is all right. Smoking is cheap where I live and people don't hassle you for it. I breathe just fine and don't get winded that easily.
However, after a point, it was hard for me to picture a life without cigarettes. I promised my wife before we decided to have children that I would quit when we conceived. Droogie Jr, as you know, is now nearly a year and a half. So that's about 2 years of procrastination on my part. That's the kind of addiction smokers have.
I've tried patches and pills and gum in the past. This time I just stopped outright. I didn't have any special tricks. I don't chew ice or eat sunflower seeds by the thousands. I didn't get hypnotized or meditate or pray or anything. I just stopped buying cigarettes and said "No" every time a tiny voice tried to convince me to buy more.
It was frustratingly simple. After a while, the voice started telling me, "This is so easy, you could have another pack and go right back to quitting!" I didn't fall for it. The voice would say, "OK, just go bum one from (Blank). That way you won't have to buy a whole pack." I didn't listen. The voice said, "Go get a cigar. Just don't inhale. Or a clove cigarette. Something. Anything!" I ignored it.
It's only been 10 days, so I feel like it's a little early to tell you whether this was easy or hard. For all I know, the hardest part may be yet to come. Or maybe I've already done the hard part. Who knows? This is as far as I've ever gotten.
The thing that made it work was I finally decided that I don't want smoking to be a part of my life anymore -- not in any capacity. I would learn to live without it. And I am, step by step.