I started putting cream in my coffee, because black coffee without a square is like corn flakes without the milk. I made changes, and I made it a week, a month, a year.
I quit smoking (for the fourth time) on March 2, 2004. In the past eleven and a half years, I have not had one single drag, because I learned from the first three times that for me, it’ll just snowball, and I will start smoking again.
I just dreamt that I started again for a few months, quit for a few months, and started yet again.
Marlboro Reds. Which were what I smoked when I first picked up the habit, 25 years ago. When I woke up, in those first few moments of post-dream confusion, I knew that I hadn’t really un-quit for months, but I did think that I had smoked a couple of cigarettes last night. My lungs felt thick and achy, and my heart felt sad that I had broken my perfect streak. And I knew that now, I’d have to start all over again with the cravings, which have all but vanished over time.
As the dream fog dissipated and I realized that the only vices I indulged last night were my sweet tooth and my Netflix addiction, my heart lifted, and my lungs cleared. Isn’t it amazing, what our minds can convince our bodies they’re feeling? Having felt that heavy, brittle lung feeling again, and then having it instantly disappear, I realize just exactly how much better I feel, so I guess I’ll take this opportunity to get on the soap box and tell all y’all who might be struggling with/thinking about quitting how good it feels to be a decade past it.
To tell you that you can do it. I know, I know, the Becky you see here today sets her mind on something and works steadily until she accomplishes it, but if you’ve known me for awhile, you know that Eleven Years Ago Becky was a complete mess. I was deeply depressed and anxiety ridden. I overslept for my three jobs and mixed up my work schedules regularly. At that time, goals were the same to me as pipe dreams. If I achieved one, I considered it blind luck. I’d smoked for half my life by then, a pack a day most of that time. But I managed to quit.
I drank cream soda after long nights working at the bar, because beer or wine or whiskey made me want to smoke. I started putting cream in my coffee, because black coffee without a square is like corn flakes without the milk. I made changes, and I made it a week, a month, a year.
I didn’t stop wanting cigarettes, but I didn’t smoke them.
It got better, and better, until finally, in the past few years, when the urges do come, few and far between, they’re pale ghosts of a craving. Just a surprising wisp of “isn’t now when I should smoke?” that gets blown away on the wind before it even becomes a real thought. It’s so much better. And it’s 100% possible. If Eleven Years Ago Becky did it, you can do it, too.
This has been a public service announcement. Brought to you by weird dreams and Big Tobacco.
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