Sunday, February 10, 2013

Seven Smoke-Free Years And Counting

When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone smoked. I think most people I knew did. Even one of the doctors my mom occasionally took us to (as an alternative to our pediatrician). He was quite the character, this doctor of ours, and I don’t think he ever took himself too seriously. After the examination, he’d ask you to ‘come back into his office’, and as soon as you planted yourself in a cushy, over-sized chair across from him, he would light up a cigarette, take a deep puff, exhale and then say (quite seriously, I might add) “Don’t ever smoke. It’s not good for you.” This was always the first thing he did before he told you what the results of your examination were. When we were very young, we didn’t pick up on the irony of his actions, but when we got a little older, my two brothers and I used to joke about the smoking experience at this doctor’s office all the time. And you’d think that it would deter us from picking up this habit. But it didn’t.


An incident like this would be horrifying – and criminal – in this day and age. But when I was growing up, smoking was socially acceptable, and it was permitted everywhere. In fact, it was rather cool to be a smoker, particularly in high school. There was so much pressure to smoke, and being a non-smoker was harder than being one. Moreover, there were so many teenagers that smoked, that many secondary schools even had designated smoking areas. My high school was one of them. And the smoking area was packed during recesses and lunch. And you think that’s bad? At least we weren’t allowed to smoke in the classrooms. Unlike college. Where we were allowed. Right on our desks. Yeah, really. Well, if you’re around my age, you’re probably not surprised because you know all this already, right?

So it was easy to become a smoker with everyone – young and old - smoking around you. And unless you were one of the ‘fakers’ (the ones that pretended to inhale but never did), eventually you became addicted. Which, you realized somewhere along the line, wasn’t as cool as you thought. My mother never smoked. She pretended to at social gatherings before she had kids, but never pursued it. My father smoked for many years, and eventually quit. Cold turkey. And never looked back. The older of my two older brothers was fortunate enough never to get caught up in this habit no matter how many of his friends smoked. Smart move. The younger one (the one that passed away in 2011), unfortunately, did smoke. Until he died. He never quit, and we’ll never know if he would have achieved that ‘freedom from smoking’ goal. I also didn’t escape the smoking addiction. But I did mange to finally kick it to the curb. For good. Seven years ago today. WOOT!

We just don't learn, do we? We go from one bad habit to another...
I’m often asked if I ever miss it. Or crave it. My answer is no. Never. I am not nostalgic about a habit that I was desperately eager to kick. The best thing I ever did is to quit the cigarettes, and just the very thought of being a slave to them ever again is unnerving. I’m proud to be free of this addiction, and thrilled that it is no longer socially cool!

So, today I celebrate another smoke-free year and take great pride in this accomplishment!

Seven years and counting...


32 comments:

  1. I had no idea you were once addicted to the dreaded weed. I just can't see you as a smoker, Martha. I'm glad you've managed to stop, good for your health and wealth.

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  2. Good for you! it is such a tough habit to kick!! I seen all the stats ... did you know that most people trying to quit try to 9-11 times before they are successful? I learned this working with GSK's Nicoderm product (the patch). I knew it was hard, but wow.

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    1. It is a terrible addiction, and it is difficult to get rid of. But it can be done. And I am so thankful it's over.

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  3. Congratulations on 7 years of smoke-free living! Yes, it's amazing how our society and attitudes have changed. I think the three most profound social changes in my lifetime have been society's new attitudes to women, gays and smoking.

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    1. Our society has made many changes in the last few decades. It's nice to see our own country evolving in a great way.

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  4. Smoking has been a kink in my side ever since I was a child. My mother was a smoker and every morning at the breakfast table the curl of smoke would invariably work its way over to me. From age 5 I knew that smoking was NOT for me. I did try one cigarette and coughed up a lung...at least it felt like it. Peer pressure was not a factor in my life because I was not about to let things like smoking and drinking get the best of me. You see drinking was witnessed too, so I put 1 and 1 together at a very early age.

    I am so HAPPY for your 7th anniversary Martha.

    I know how you must feel and the freedom you are experiencing. Addictions can be so crippling and your decision to stop smoking is the best thing you could do for yourself.

    Congratulations!!

    Ron

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    1. Thank you, Ron. And yes, I do feel the freedom in so many ways. I hated the habit and couldn't wait to get out of it. It's a terrible addiction, and quite difficult to kick. But it is well worth the effort. I intend to stay smoke-free for the rest of my life. I never want to have to deal with this again.

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  5. Congrats on a GREAT accomplishment!!! I quite in 2007 and it was the best decision I ever made.

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    1. Congratulations! Looks like we got there at about the same time. Yes, it is a great decision, and I am glad I made it.

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  6. I'm so glad you kicked the habit, Martha! My father died at 58 of emphysema. My best friend in my life died at 35 on the side of an LA freeway from an asthma attack. My cousin, just a few years older than I am, died last week at 65 of a heart attack from completely clogged arteries. They all were heavy smokers. I never smoked because I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer ~ fat chance! ~ but it kept me from smoking. Good thing too because I discovered decades later that I have chronic asthma. I'd probably be dead too. So go for year eight smoke free, Girl! Having watched people I love struggle to kick this monster, I'm so glad that you succeeded!

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    1. Oh, I intend to keep going...year eight, nine, and so on... I always promised myself that if I ever kicked the habit, I would NEVER go back. It is such a struggle to get out of it that it would be a terrible shame to have to start all over again!

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  7. Congtatulations on 7 smike free years. 30 years for me and I have to tell you I still get a twinge when I pass someone somking. It is a terrible addiction and I know if I ever took even one puff I'd be back at it. Fortuantely I don't know any smokers and the few people I pass who smoke have such stinky clothes it isn't likely I'll take that puff! :)

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    1. It is a very terrible addiction. I'm not tempted when I see others smoke, and I never feel the desire. I think I grew so tired of smoking so much and desperately wanting to quit that I simply resent it. I'm happy to be done with it and just know that I'll never go back.

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  8. Congrats Martha! That is a wonderful accomplishment and worthy of an award! The dragon cartoon is quite funny too!

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    1. I am proud I finally kicked the habit, and I remember and celebrate this day every year!

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  9. I've quit and started again at least five times, so I'm one of the statistics quoted above. My last quit attempt was around Xmas, and so far so good. My problem is that I can be smoke free for months and years, and still fall back to it during a stressful period in life. Like Mark Twain said, quitting is easy, I do it every day. I think e-cigarettes are a fabulous way to wean oneself off the smoking. They're far less noxious and toxic.

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    1. Hey Tatiana! I'm so happy to see you here. It's been so long. Yes, quitting is easy. But staying off for good is the hard part. I never made previous attempts to quit because I knew they wouldn't be permanent. I figured when I was truly ready, I'd do it once, and never look back. So far, so good. I don't intend to ever pick up this habit again. I've had very stressful periods in my life but have never thought of cigarettes. I've found other alternatives for the stress. I do hope this is the last and final time you quit! Good luck to you.

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  10. Congratulations Martha! And Happy Anniversary! I smoked from 15 to 20 years old. My body started to reject them! And told me I better stop! And I did! It was difficult but I have not looked back.
    There was so much pressure when I was young too, to smoke. It was cool and we all had to be cool!
    Funny thing was, I was reminded of smoking when you mentioned high school. I taught in a high school for 10 years. It was when there were smoking areas on school property. Teachers did 'duty time' and you'll never guess where mine was for two years....THE SMOKING AREA! The principal and I did not get along and this was one of the tactics he used to get me to transfer. It worked! lol

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    1. You were lucky, Jim! Perhaps you developed some type of allergy? Either way, your body was smart! That is terrible what the principal made you do! And who wouldn't get along with you? You are such a great guy! His loss...

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  11. times sure have changed. I don't really care when older people smoke, because they are from a different time and it's hard to quit. But people my age disgust me when they do it.

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    1. Your generation is totally different, and I am so happy about that. My own kids and their friends would never dream of smoking. They don't even think about it.

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  12. Martha, I knew you were a smoking, wild child!!
    Now, what do you think about me, do you think I was a smoker?
    HA! NEVER! Although, both of my parents smoked and I used to have to buy their cigarettes!!
    I was anti-smoking before anyone had ever heard of it.
    Good for you that you quit, many of my relatives could not.
    My Dad quit when he turned 50. He will be 86 in April!! xx

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    1. Good for you, Kay! The ones who never picked up this habit were smart!

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  13. Congratulations Martha!!! This is a fabulous achievement :) I'd never have taken you for having been a smoker - I've seen you up close and your skin is beautiful, so you obviously quit before any damage was done. I tried smoking off and on in my late twenties to early thirties, but I was never 'successful' at it, lol!! It made me so sick with headaches, so I couldn't have become a smoker even if I'd wanted to.

    Your doctor reminds me of the doctor I had for 5 years when we lived in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This was when I was first married and then pregnant for both of my children. He would sit with his feet propped up on the desk, just puffing away! I truly thought nothing of it at the time (my how times have changed) and he was & still is one of the best doctors ever - my mother in law still sees him to this day.

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    1. Thank goodness your body reacted so terribly to it and you never got truly addicted! What a horrible habit to get stuck with. No one who didn't know me in earlier years believes I was a smoker, but there it is. I'm just glad it's over. That doctor you write about sounds so funny! And no matter whether he smoked or not, it didn't take away from the fact that he was a good doctor.

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  14. Well done, Martha. Like you, I started early and smoked for 46 years before quitting on January 1, 2001, my liberation day, after many attempts over the years.

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    1. That is wonderful! Yes, it is truly a liberation day when you quit for good!

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  15. Congratulations, Martha! I know how hard it can be to kick the habit---kudos to you for your success. I know your family is particularly grateful for it, too. We weren't allowed to smoke in the classroom in high school, but we had outdoor "smoking courts." I was very fortunate in that the one and only time I tried a cigarette, it made my mouth taste so nasty that I never had any desire to try it again.

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    1. It is very hard to kick the habit, so it's best not to start at all. Thank goodness you never did. It's a terrible thing to get addicted to! I'm glad it's over.

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  16. Nice. It is been around 15+ years for me since I gave up cigs. I started smoking a pipe about 5 years ago though because the urge to smoke never left. But I can enjoy a pipe and not inhale so all is good, not to mention how relaxing it is.

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    1. Wow, 15 years! Good for you. I think smoking the pipe helped you stay away from cigarettes for good. Yes, all is good!

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