Hi everyone. Today I want to talk about smoking. Both my mother and stepfather smoked growing up, so I guess it was inevitable for me to light up at some point. That coupled with the fact that my mother always told me that if I wanted to, I should smoke at home and not hang out on street corners to do it. That’s an open invitation, right? I’m not going to blame my mother for my decisions, even if I made them at a very young age where I could probably have used some firmer parenting. I can’t say that it would have made a difference, I might just have rebelled anyway. It is what it is.
I think I first lit a cigarette when I was around 14 years old. I remember it was a box of Benson & Hedges No 1 that my mother had purchased for me. I made a pretty big deal of it. I ran myself a bath, put out my cigarettes, ashtray and lighter and had a smoke while relaxing in the bath. So very grown up. At that point I decided I didn’t like it. Why would anyone want to make their mouth taste that way? No 1’s were so light, I didn’t even get light headed. I gave the pack back to my mother. This was a funny story to tell her friends, wasn’t it? Fast forward 2 years and I was in high school trying to fit in, just like everyone else. I took it up again, smoking a stronger brand this time. I smoked all through high school (not at school, although I did a few times. Shameful, I know!) and continued when I started work. I was never a heavy smoker. If I smoked 10 a day it was a lot. When I got married in 2007 I spontaneously quit. I had never had the desire to quit before and I always said I would quit when I am ready. I just didn’t see the point any more and quit cold turkey. It was during winter and I remember knitting at work to keep my hands busy when they were idle. I also went through a large number of lollipops for the oral fixation. It almost seemed too easy. I remember being really upset that I could quit smoking so easily and do something so good for myself/my body yet I struggle to lose weight.
Since then I have relapsed a few times. Usually during very stressful periods in my life. I managed not to smoke throughout all of my pregnancies, which I am grateful for. I lit up again when Jamie died and then I quit. I lit up again when my grandfather died and then I quit. Rudi started smoking full time again since starting to drive trucks. He says if he is sleepy it helps him stay awake. Yeah I know. Scary, but I would rather he stay awake. I started smoking socially while on a project in one of our other buildings and before I knew it I was buying smokes again. I started smoking full time for the first time in a long time. Again, not heavily. A pack of 20 would last me almost 5 days, but I was still smoking. So I’ve quit. Again.
By the time you read this post it will be 3 weeks. The cravings are still strong sometimes and it takes some willpower not to just go and have one if I’m annoyed about something at work or particularly stressed at home. For quite a long time I got away with smoking one here and there socially. Some people who always saw me smoke in social situations were puzzled when I told them I wasn’t actually a smoker. I guess I’ll never completely be a non smoker. Just like an alcoholic stays an alcoholic even if they are not drinking. I have had thoughts about having just one socially, but that’s a slippery slope for me as of late. Previously I could really just have one or 2. Now not so much. I’m not sure why. I am not particularly stressed right now. Not like I was when my loved ones died. Not even nearly. I felt that smoking again under those circumstances certainly was justified and a better coping mechanism than drugs or alcohol. Although…cigarettes are nothing more than a legal drug, aren’t they?
I have a little countdown app that displays how many days it has been since I last had a cigarette. I was thinking of quitting quitting and decided to put it on my home screen as a reminder of how well I’ve done and to motivate me to keep going. Will I relapse again? I’m not going to lie. It’s likely. This seems to be something that I will keep going back and forth on for the rest of my life. I’m just grateful that I do manage to put it down again every time I start. A quitter for life it would seem.
Do you have a vice? Something that you just keep going back to even though you shouldn’t?