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Death of a good friend – I mean – Breaking the bonds of nicotine addiction – The Decision

January 18, 2013

Hi my name is Brandy, and I’m a smoker. 

“Hi Brandy!”

I have smoked on and off, but mostly on, for about 25 years.  Somehow, by the grace of God, this and caffeine have been my only chemical addictions, and I always felt proud of that.  I like smoking.  It calms me down.  It gives me an excuse to get away from people for a specified period of time.  It’s the last little bit of my “rebel” personna from my youth.  Yes it appears that my ego has clung to this particular identifier with intense fury. 

But as the world gets more and more anti smoker, and my body gets older, I realize that I really need to quit.  As the only one in my little community now that smokes, I am hyper aware that I smell really bad when I come back in (and that’s just my clothes – I don’t even want to think about how my breath must smell).  It has also occurred to me that, hey, this is pretty bad for my lungs.  And while I don’t really feel it now.  I could very well end up with emphysema in the next 10 years and that could really make retirement suck, lol.  What really got under my skin lately, however, was how much power nicotine has over me and my life.  As a friend of mine pointed out, us smokers spend an unnatural amount of time thinking about cigarrettes and smoking.  When will we get our next smoke break?  Do I have enough to last the day?  Is there anyplace nearby I can get some?  Does anyone else in the group smoke, or will I have to defend my habit to a bunch of rabid anti-smokers?  Who cares what they think anyway!  I am who I am and they can bite me if they don’t like my habit…

So, ya.  I got a wild hair after Christmas.  I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions.  I do believe in goals, and I think people should set them whenever is convenient or appropriate, not just when everyone else is.  It just so happened that this opportunity came at the start of the year.  My brother in law and his wife were all set to visit in a week.  Sis in law had quit smoking using Champix.  It was in the back of my mind to quit for awhile, but this propelled me forward.  I knew that if I smoked around her, I was going to set her back again (we don’t drink around alcoholics, right?).  I gathered up my resolve, smoked my last cigarette from my pack, and decided I was going to try to quit. 

When Mr. Herren came home from golf I informed him of what I was going to do (so he could identify why in the world I was much more difficult than usual).  Instead of the expected support and positive reinforcement for taking such an important step, I was met with a blank look and “Why?”  This reaction was less than encouraging.  I started to freak out.  I won’t be able to do this.  What was I thinking?  No one thinks this is a good idea.  Upon reflection, I can completely understand his hesitation.  We had house guests flying in from the other side of the world.  Did we really want to subject them to the horror that is Brandy without nicotine? 

In the end, I decided to go ahead – with the caveat that I may not make it through.  If it was too bad, and I was too unbearable, I would give it up and try again another day.

Turns out that it was somewhat smart – if not entirely pleasant for those around me – to choose the timing that I did.  One – I gave myself 3 days to get over the initial OMG! of giving up before we took off on our trip.  Two – the social responsibility of not the being the one to knock a friend off their wagon weighed heavily on my conscious mind. Three – I would be constantly in the company of others for 3 weeks, so there would be no opportunity to sneak in smokes while I was at home alone.  Any backsliding I did would have to be done up front and in full view of those who are encouraging me to quit. 

So there you have it.  My decision to quit was made.  Tomorrow I’ll take you through the lovely journey of quitting.  I’m currently in the bitter angry stage of grieving, so that may color my language, but I’ll strive to keep it pg. 

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