- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
An Ex-Smokers's Lament: Why I Quit Smoking Cigarettes
An Ex-Smoker's Lament
I begin to write this Hub right smack in the middle of an urge to smoke a cigarette. This seems appropriate, does it not? I am in a literal sort of pain as I write these words. If I had a cigarette in front of me, I honestly don't know if I would resist the thing. That is addiction. That is also part of the story of my life.
I am a fairly new Hubber and consider HubPages to be my new writing home. The marvelous part of this relationship so far is that I have never smoked while 'Hubbing'. That sounds trite, I suppose, but to me it has huge meaning. The very fact that I am writing this is miraculous, since as a smoker I found it quite annoying to put my cigarette down for any reason. I smoked 2 1/2 packs every day for many years, and there is absolutely no evidence of that on my desk. Nary an ash!
Now, while I write this I am apt to give updates on the nicotine fits, etc., so please bear with me. I mention this because that last one has gone. I have found that it doesn't take long if you wait them out. A dear friend of mine likened them to waves, which do ebb. What a relief this is. Another friend told me to take very deep breaths when the urge to smoke became strong-"That's what your body really needs."
In telling a little of my love affair with tobacco, please don't misunderstand, I am not making light of cigarettes, addiction or smoking. I have been battling most of my life to quit this detestable habit and have only recently stopped. Relapse waits, peeking around corners, waiting to pounce. I have no sense of certainty or immunity. In fact I am much more apt to pick up a cigarette than most anyone I know. Humor has been a lifeline for me during this process, though, and I have seen it work for others.
I began smoking for the usual youthful reasons, peer pressure and boredom in school. Back in the early 70's, images of sociable smokers were all the rage, I seem to recall photos of quite attractive smokers lounging next to hotel swimming pools. The dangers of the habit were not discussed-or known-for a number of years. What with hippies and the old-fashioned 50's, well, cigarettes seemed middle-of-the-road, at the very best. My high school chums and I also had the dubious distinction of being students at the local girl's boarding school, which made every clandestine activity all the more desirable and sinister. We reveled in trips to the bathroom during study hall, managing to arrange trips with one another, one bringing the cigarette, the other, the matches. Ahh, cloak and dagger stuff, indeed.
And it was fun.
Now as an adult I can enjoy these memories thoroughly, and I fully understand why I took up smoking.
It was a social event.
I am concerned that today the desire to belong will overcome education's influence. But this is becoming a Hub about beginning the habit. I would like to focus more on the long term. Please indulge me here as I discuss smoking as a smoker, for that has been my identity for most of my life. Oh, boy, here's another wave....sometimes just writing about it sounds good.
Cigarette smoking is insidious because it becomes who you are. I know smokers who I do not define primarily by their smoking, but then they smoke so little that it seems incidental. Most of 'us', though, are bound by when, where, how and if we can smoke. Most people know all of this, although people who have never smoked have very little idea how defining this horror can be. When you smoke, the world is physically divided, and these days, it's the law. But even more than that it is considered a characteristic.
A negative characteristic. Which, of course, it is.
I am confused now, though, because I managed to quit. Does that now make me a non-smoker? An ex-smoker? How am I to behave? I am actually amazed that people become rabid ex-cigarette smokers, almost acting as if they have no idea whatsoever why smokers do what they do. They can be vicious, mistaking victory over addiction as some sort of superior morality.
All I know is that I miss my friends. At smoke breaks, you understand. I choose not to hang out with them at these times because the smoke can be overwhelming, but they have as much a right to smoke outdoors as I have to simply stand there! As long as they take care of the trash, I really don't care.
So here I am, a new Hubber who has rambled on far too long about something important to me...sounds like time well spent.
And still, nary an ash! :o)