Wow, it's been 5 months and 7 days since I quit smoking. I believe this is the longest I have ever gone.
I smoked my first cigarette when I was 12, well I didn't 'smoke' it, I took a few drags and tried hard not to throw up. I wanted desperately to be cool and belong and from my viewpoint of the world smoking was my ticket. Considering how sick that first cigarette made me it's a wonder I kept at it but my desire to belong was strong, so what if I threw up.
By the time I was 14 I was buying my own packs of cigarettes with my allowance. I would hide them in my jacket pocket or stuff the pack in my sock as I made my way past my mom and dad, completely sure that they didn't know what I was up to. This isn't a post about how stupid I was back then, but suffice it to say, I was pretty stupid at 14 years old. Both my parents smoked, my sister smoked and I distinctly remember my grandmother having a single Cameo menthol cigarette every morning with her coffee. I would occasionally steal her smokes as well, thinking she wouldn't catch on either. Yes, I was dumb ok.
My sister could get me to do just about anything she wanted and pay me with smokes, or drags of smokes. She was 3 years older and than me and could smoke in the house, but I wasn't allowed to. Thankfully we spent most of our time in the basement so I could smoke pretty much anytime downstairs although hiding in my sisters room, smoking her cigarettes and listening to Peter Gabriel on her stereo was my favourite thing to do. If she wasn't home I pretty much lived in her room, she had the coolest records and it was the late 70's so there was alot of great music to listen to.
By 15 my mom had given up and let me smoke in the house. I had a part time job as a clerk at Consumers Distributing so I could afford to buy my own packs. I was free, no longer a slave to stealing/borrowing other peoples smokes or my sister's slave labour. From that time on cigarettes were always a part of my life, my best friend, a part of me. They were another limb, an appendage I was never EVER without. I loved my cigarettes. I loved the packs and how they smelled when you opened a fresh pack, how that first drag tasted and smelled. A cigarette with a coffee? Bliss! A cigarette with an alcoholic beverage, absolute heaven. I remember how panicked I would feel if I was running low on smokes and started buying them by the carton.
Over the years I tried to quit, but never really wanted to quit, hell I still don't want to be 'quit'. I quit once for about 4 months but all it took was a single drag while out drinking with friends and I was on the slippery slope. I KNEW I was on it and figured, screw it I may as well start again and so I did, really I spent months just looking for a good excuse. I was back to it, as bad or worse than before I had quit. My breathing was horribly laboured, I couldn't walk up stairs or down the street without my lungs burning. Still, I did not want to quit. A part of me just assumed I would simply keel over one day from smoking. I thought about what my funeral would be like and hoped someone would remember to put a pack of smokes in my coffin so I could smoke in Heaven or wherever I ended up. I also wanted my ipod buried with me too.
I did not die, obviously, and in 2007 I started working out on a more regular basis. I can promise you it's not easy to do a 60 minutes session with a trainer, bootcamp style and then run/walk on the treadmill or stepmill but I perservered. Even when I started this whole triathlon business I was still smoking. Of course my training was very laboured and the whole time I knew I would have to quit smoking but I put it off another day, another week. My race was in Sept and by May I knew that I needed to do something. It was too late to make any substantial training gains but maybe the 'burning lung' syndrome would go away or at least feel less painful. I would do 2 laps in the pool and my lungs were literally on FIRE. Normally when I make a deal with myself my follow through sucks, I just don't have any. I am a great joiner but I suck at follow through HOWEVER, I decided that I would quit on 'Monday' and if I started smoking again I would quit again on the following Monday and I would keep at this until I literally got sick of quitting and guess what..
Let's just say it took quite a few Mondays, some weeks I'd make it til noon on Monday and other weeks I'd go 6 days and start again on Sunday. By July 27 (which ironically enough is a Tuesday), I had had enough so my last cigarette was that Tuesday and I haven't picked it back up since then. This is not to say I've been perfect. I did smoke that 'woman's cigar' at the Kona party and I had a drag of a smoke two weeks ago but I have effectively been a non-smoker for 5 months, 7 days and some hours. I don't want to say I will never smoke again because that is likely not true but I really hope I don't. I still have incredibly intense cravings, today has been a bad day which is likely why I am writing about this right now, but thankfully the cravings come less often. About 6 times a day I think I might die if I don't smoke a cigarette immediately but I just try to ignore it and move on and then I don't think about it until the next craving hits.
I'm not sure why I've had success this time, this is the longest I have been quit since I started smoking regularly but I think training and wanting to be better has a lot to do with it. I know all of you at some point or another have offered support and kind words my way which help immensely. I still struggle, I have trouble being around smokers, not because I judge them but because I'm afraid I may tackle them for their smokes but overall this experience has been better. I am sad to say I was really looking forward to 'hocking up a puck or two of pghlem (sp?)' and feeling like I have more air when I'm training but there have been no pucks, no easy breathing. Don’t get me wrong, things are definitely better but I have been waiting for an epic difference in my breathing and so far, no epic.
My nose runs more often.. Weird..
That's all I got...