Smoke and Mirrors (continued)

My journey towards smoking cessation probably started about 20 years ago; the first time I had tried to quit smoking. It was a monumental success for about five years. Then? Well, then it was a monumental fail, and all it took me to restart was saying, “Ok, I’ll just have one.”

Uh, yeah right, only one cigarette. It was in a bar

Of course, what I did not realize then was that just having one was akin to just having one drink of your favourite spirit when you are an alcoholic. Just having one ultimately leads to another, and so on…

I am now on my third try. I know this time I will succeed. Why? Because my mindset is there. I am quitting because I want to. Not because some federally driven advertising campaign on cigarette packages; not because of high taxes levied on cigarettes; not because of a restricted smoking environment; and certainly not because non-smokers seem to feel the need to jump up on a soapbox to spew the virtues of quitting­–because God knows I don’t get out much and I had no idea that cigarettes could be so bad for you.

I hate to break it to you, all you non-smokers, (who I fully realize have only the best intentions in mind) but you would be hard-pressed to find someone that does not know about most, if not all the reasons to quit. Preaching to a smoker, at least in my case, did not help. If anything I found it aggravating, and it exposed my hidden anarchistic tendencies to rage against the machine. I became an expert at rationalizing my habit. However, deep down I knew it would never be true no matter how much I rationalized it.

Well, after more than two months of quitting and now being more active, looking in a mirror no longer scares me. I can now see what lies beyond the smoke and it has given me a new perspective with a brighter outlook. 

Happy holidays to everyone. Until next time.

Smoke and Mirrors

In all my excitement to talk about my new foray into running and blogging, I forgot to mention something else I had quit doing… Smoking. Yup, I took the plunge. It wasn’t easy; and I must admit I had a bit of a panic attack the days leading up to my quit date. But, so far so good.

Seeing as this blog is all about getting better back, I thought this would be an appropriate subject to take on.

It has been well documented that nicotine, a naturally occurring stimulant, can suppress appetite.  So natural plus appetite curbing properties equals healthy. Right? That conclusion begs the question, however rhetorical – Is appetite suppression a healthy thing to partake in? I surmised that surely if cigarette companies could blatantly advertise that cigarettes could essentially improve body image by maintaining your weight, who was I to argue, and I needed all the help I could get.

Throughout my back story as a smoker, I had been often asked the question, why do you smoke? I have had numerous answers to this question including, but not limited to:

It relaxes me;

I enjoy smoking;

It’s a great stress reliever; and

If I stop now, I’ll gain weight and I really can’t afford to gain more.

That last one was as if smoking had a health benefit. No need to point out the obvious that I had gained weight while smoking. Of course I knew I had gained weight, but I did not think it was much until one day while in the mirror; I could not believe what I had seen. My weight had crept up on me so slowly that I hadn’t really noticed, until the day I couldn’t help but notice. I was at least 25 pounds overweight and thought, when the hell did that happen? Being only 5’1”, I knew I couldn’t really afford to gain too much before having to search for clothing in the big and short aisle. Not a pretty picture.

But, I still clung, albeit subconsciously, to the notion that cigarettes held a trace of a health benefit. In fact, coupled with a good dose of coffee in the morning, every smoker knows that they speed up the laxative properties of coffee. Surely they can’t be all that bad, I reasoned.

With all that, I still could not see that smoking was more detrimental to my health, and on a far greater scale, than gaining a few extra few pounds of weight ever would be. And I knew that I would be hard pressed to find a doctor that would back my skewed reasoning behind my not quitting.

I also knew that there were triggers to smoking. I think indulged in all of them. If I were to quit smoking, would I have quit coffee and alcohol as well? What the hell was I supposed to do after meals? I couldn’t be expected to quit eating too? No, quitting smoking was a way too difficult task, chock-full of wrenches adept at bringing any plan to a grinding halt and rendering me a full-on certifiable bitch.  So, I kept on inhaling those cigarettes.

Check back for part two to see how this journey is progressing…