Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Many of you probably have no idea that I ever smoked. I hid it a lot. The only person in my family I smoked in front of was my brother once or twice. My parents probably never knew. A lot of my buddies knew because I'd bum a smoke at a bar etc. Anyway, I just wanted to kinda hash out my life with cigarettes.
I didn't start smoking until I was 22. That's a late time to start for sure. I had smoked the occasional cigar from about 17 or 18 on throughout college. No more than about 1 a week at the very most. After college, a very close buddy of mine and I went on a month long motorcycle trip around the western US. We started at our homes. Me in Illinois, him in Ohio. We met in St. Louis. We told each other a few weeks prior to meet at the first rest stop west of St. Louis on I-70 at 8 am on a Monday. We both showed up a half hour early. My buddy smoked, but I didn't. I bummed a few smokes from him at our rest stops the first couple days. I was on a motorcycle trip, it seemed cool, and ultimately, I liked it. Yes, cigarettes can be very pleasant in the very short term. So, for the rest of that trip I was smoking about half a pack a day.
After getting home from the trip I didn't smoke nearly as much. I think I stopped for a month or two. Then I went out for a weekend ride on a Saturday and bought gas and picked up a pack. I'm not sure why, but it just felt right. Riding my Harley and smoking seemed to go together well.
I smoked off and on for the next couple years of my military career. If I went out of town I'd buy a pack. Monica hated me smoking. However, I didn't realize exactly how much. Here's a tip to women. If you don't want your husband to smoke don't say the phrase, "I don't care if you smoke as long as you don't do it around me." Men are simple creatures and will take that at face value. I remember learning this lesson when Monica hung up my leather bike jacket and found two cigarette butts in the pocket. I didn't want to litter and figured I'd throw them out in a trash can later.
I'd stop smoking for a few weeks, then I'd bum a smoke and this habit went on throughout my 4 years in the Air Force. I rarely bought smokes unless I was out of town and away from Monica. After I got out of the Air Force I ended up in a job working a night shift as a manager at a large distribution center. I was working nights, getting home at 5 am or so. Monica worked during the days. This is when I started up smoking kinda seriously. Some days I'd smoke almost a pack a day.
I knew Monica knew. She knew I knew she knew. However I think to avoid a fight we both ignored it. I quit for 13 weeks once, then I started again. With my new job, the first year or so I was traveling. I was gone Monday through Friday and only home on weekends. I smoked when out of town then didn't when I was home. Then I got more brazen and smoked during the day but not at home. Then I'd quit for a few weeks, and start back up.
I smoked a lot when I was doing what you'd think of as "manly" activities. Heading out to the gun range, grab some smokes.
I don't know how many times I threw half a pack of smokes out my car window in anger and disgust with myself.
Then, last year, on December 2nd, I smoked my last cigarette. I think it was a Wednesday. I quit on my own...again...for 2-3 days. On that Saturday after, Monica and I went out for lunch. I finally opened up to her about it. I told her that I needed her help in quitting. I told her I wanted to tell her how I was feeling about it. I asked that if I came home and said, "Damn I wanted a cigarette today so bad," that she'd listen and not judge. I asked her to ask me if I had smoked. I needed to know someone was in there helping me quit and would keep me accountable. Essentially, quitting smoking is hard enough on its own. Especially if you are trying to hide the fact you're quitting.
So, this last year hasn't been that hard. There have been a few days when I've had a really stressful day that I craved a smoke. But nothing would be worth giving up my streak now.
One year smoke free. I can't wait to make it two.