5 Months, 8 Days, 14 Hours……….

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since I lit up and smoked my last¬†cigarette, according to my handy-dandy¬†QuitIt app.¬†If you’re a former smoker, you understand what the last few months of my life have been like.

It’s hard to believe as a 12-year-old, I thought smoking was oh-so-cool. Now, as a woman turning 45 this year, I regret lighting up that first cigarette. Let me clarify: I DID NOT smoke from 12 until 44. I didn’t ¬†join in as a ‘real smoker’ until I was around 15 or 16. My friends did it. My parents were chain smokers. It was a part of my world for as long as I can remember.

Another thing I remember is getting car sick on long road trips with my parents as they smoked. Looking back, I don’t know why they didn’t crack or roll down the windows during those endless miles. My complaints weren’t met with the obvious reaction. Instead, we’d pull into the nearest rest area so I could get somewhat of a break, as they continued to smoke.

I also remember learning in school, ¬†cigarettes would kill my parents. I rectified that situation by throwing away newly purchased cartons of cigarettes. Problem solved, right? Uh no! More like I ended up in trouble. I was worried about my parents but it was still a time where the Marlboro man was cool and smoking was just the thing to do. My parents weren’t concerned with the years worth of damage ¬†smoking was doing to their health. In fact, my mom ended up on an oxygen machine during the last few years of her life. Ironically, the first time I went over to see her and the new oxygen machine, she was sitting in bed smoking!

I will admit, I was the adult smoker, puffing away, warning the younger generation of the perils of the nicotine addiction. One of my most ironic and sad memories relating to smoking is: A good friend of mine, who use to babysit my daughter, was outside, you guessed it, smoking, when I arrived. I did what any good smoker does and lit up a cigarette to join her. Tears streamed down her face as she delivered the bad news: her grandmother had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. My heart sank and clenched with pain for my friend and her family, even as we both puffed and puffed away. Despite the news, neither one of us thought, it’s time to quit smoking.

Fast forward a few years. My daughter is in elementary school and has asked me to accompany her class on a field trip to one of our state parks. Sure, why not, I think. It’s Spring, the weather is perfect and I’d never been to this particular park. Yeah, lemme tell you. Little did I know her teacher and the teacher she partnered up with were evidently in training for an¬†Olympic¬†type of marathon! Initially, I did give it a good-hearted attempt to keep up with the teachers-determined-to-whip-me-into-shape. I even made sure to keep the stragglers caught up with us. That’s right, I was the BEAST! For the first five minutes.

Then my smoker’s lungs started kicking in. Sweat glands I didn’t know existed made their presence known. Luckily, I’d established with the teachers from hell ¬†I was in charge of the stragglers, so it became easy to slow it on down and walk their pace. No longer was I encouraging them to keep up, I was begging THEM to s-l-o-w down! I can remember at one point where they gave up on me trying to catch up with them. Not only did we finish the walk in 2.5 miliseconds, we also had to wait another 20 something hours for the other classes to arrive at the meeting point. Okay, okay, so I’m exaggerating just a little.

It was at that point I knew I had to quit smoking. There was no reason for me to be in my 30’s and ready to keel over from what should have been an invigorating walk. My mind was made up and I quit. For over 2 years. At least, in the sense that I didn’t buy cigarettes. I didn’t smoke cigarettes. But I never stopped feigning for cigarettes. It was oh-so easy to start back up. I’ll just smoke when: fill-in-the-blank. And then as I became more comfortable with the different allowances to smoke, I was a full-time smoker again.

Now, I am back into the world of not smoking. Again. After another attempt back in August of last year. I went three weeks before I just had to smoke again. I have been wanting to post about ¬†my non-smoking journey that began a few months ago but honestly, I was afraid that I would have given in again. I am trying, no not trying, I am succeeding at being a non-smoker. The first month really didn’t bother me. It’s been the second month going into the third that had me going absolutely bonkers! It was through a newsletter for people who have quit smoking that I read once you get to the third month and haven’t smoked, your chances for remaining a non-smoker increase tremendously. That is what I held onto for dear life as the days from 2 months into 3 months slowed down drastically.

I’m still struggling with the addiction part at times but not so much that I am willing to taint my non-smoking lips and lungs! The app does tell me how much money I’ve saved as well as how my body is healing. Like most smokers who quit, ¬†I have packed on the pounds. ¬†I can’t even say it’s because food tastes so much better. It’s because I want to SMOKE! The next phase of kicking the habit is to turn my eating habits around. I knew I would gain weight and gave myself a time period to substitute one oral fixation for another. Temporarily, that is! ¬†And so the determination continues into another day I can add to my time of kicking the habit. I’m off into the next journey of kicking the jiggly off my belly!

Any addictions you quit? How many times did it take you? What are some words of advice and encouragement you can give the rest of us?

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Some More Of Those Random Thoughts!

I’m watching one of those cheesy horror flicks. Well, not really watching it. I’m working on a prompt, keeping up with my Cafe World, and have the movie on for background noise. I can’t even tell you what the title is. The story line is a handful of college kids “break” into an abandoned building, get drunk, and the next morning they’re locked in. Of course, one by one, they’re disappearing and being tortured. Guess the building wasn’t so abandoned.

So why am I telling you this?

At one point, I hear one of the girls say, “Why are you doing this?”

That started my brain thinking.

Why is it in horror movies, 9 out of 10 times, the victim asks that question? I mean, the insane killer is obviously INSANE! 

Then my brain went on to ask the question: Do you think the killer is going to stop his torture, grab a cup of coffee, maybe offer you a cigarette from his pack as he sits down to explain why he is doing this?

How would that conversation go, I wondered?

Would he share with you the tremendous amounts of insight gathered as victims were tortured and butchered. As the ax¬†slams down on the arm, does the killer ponder, ‘I wonder why I am doing this? Why am I taking such delight in severing this poor girl’s arm? I mean, look, she obviously had a manicure recently. Her nails look nice, outside of the nail polish. Such a shame to chop her arm off.’

Then we have the dramatic pause as the killer looks at his victim, who is whimpering, “Why are you doing this?”

A clash of music as the killer tells her, “Because I don’t like the color of your nail polish, biotch!”

Chop!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, okay, I will make a slight confession.

If I found myself in that predicament, I too, would ask the question. I really would. I would be morbidly fascinated with what would make a person choose this, um, career path.

I would throw out questions asking about childhood, parents, siblings, all those things that might give me an understanding as to why the killer is wanting to do some type of chop suey on my limbs.

I mean, isn’t it only fair that I get to try to understand why you’re about to show off your carving skills on my body?

Let’s take it a step further, shall we. Let’s say my killer is somewhat of a narcissist and offers me a cup of coffee and a cigarette as ¬†he/she shares with me the events which led up to me on the chopping block.

Bottom line?

He would still chop me up.

Ever Wonder Why?

Making coffee is so ¬†messy?¬†It doesn’t matter if you’re pouring the water in your coffee pot at home.¬†If it’s at the office. Or a friend’s house.¬†No matter how carefully you aim, take your time to pour, water goes everywhere.

The test you predicted you would pass with flying colors is the one you bomb? And the test you just knew you failed, you passed with flying colors?

On the days you’re having an amazingly B-A-D hair day, those are the days you get the most compliments on your hair?¬†

If it’s a good or bad thing when someone says: “You don’t look your age?”

When somebody tells you not to do something, it makes you want to do it more? 

Why time drags on when you’re younger and speeds up, runs you over and passes you when you’re older?

When we eat healthier we declare we’re on a diet?

How A Friendship Begins

When I was in 7th grade, my parents decided to buy a house and move us off post. I was heartbroken because it meant leaving my friend, Mickey. Sure, we were only minutes apart  but it felt like miles. We talked on the phone every day. Eventually, I adjusted to my new school and friends. And I still did my daily talks with Mickey. 

Of course, a lot of our daily conversations centered around the cute boys! My topic of conversation was Tim. He was sooooo hot! He had that nice pretty light brown hair, styled to perfection. Deep brown eyes. The cutest face. Yep, I was smitten by hottie Tim. During one particular conversation, I noticed Mickey wasn’t keeping up with her usual animated chatter. Curious, I asked what was wrong. She kinda hem and hawed around. It took some prodding but eventually, Mickey spilled the beans.

A new girl, named Jennie, had moved on post after I left. Mickey and Jennie became friends and often talked. In fact, Jennie and Mickey seemed to be having conversations similar to ours. Hmmm, turns out Tim was not just my boyfriend but Jennie’s boyfriend as well.¬†

Oh no
he dit-int!


Mickey had put two and two together from the conversations. She thought we should both know he was two-timing us. Jennie broke up with Tim when she found out and asked Mickey to pass a message on to me. She apologized and said she hoped I wasn’t angry with her. Angry with her???!!! ¬†Oh, I wasn’t angry with Jennie. It was Tim who did wrong to both of us. I told Mickey to let Jennie know I was not angry with her because it wasn’t her fault. I promptly broke up with Tim!¬†

Jennie and I didn’t officially meet until we went to high school. During that time, we went to separate middle schools based on where we lived. It wasn’t until high school when the Army brats and civilian kids were put together. Tim had moved long before we could all be reunited.

Jennie and I hit it off in person and had a good laugh about our “introduction” to each other. We hung out from time to time during those years and remained friends. During our senior year, ¬†Jennie became a wife and a mommy. Not long after graduation, she moved to be with her military husband. I became a mom about a year after graduation.

Three years later, Jennie moved back. Her life had moved on from her marriage and she had fallen in love and was expecting her second child. Out of the blue, on a Saturday, I¬†received a call. It was Jennie. She’d looked me up and wanted to know if I was interested in taking our kids to the zoo. Sure, why not? My other alternative was to clean. ¬†During the hour drive, we caught up with each other and it was as if we’d never lost touch.

Jennie and I are so different. When you see us together, you will see Jennie: tall, auburn hair, freckles, blue eyes, very fair complected and oh so quiet. Then you have me: almost as tall, dark brown hair, brown eyes, darker complected, and talkative. We complement each other well. Jennie is the calmer of the two of us. I tend to be the one who can be more high strong.

We have similarities as well. We both have a great sense of humor, play off each other’s zaniness well, have each other’s backs no matter the situation, are each other’s voice of reason, and can spend hours on the phone not saying a word and content in the silence.

One of the things I love about Jennie is her sweet nature. She is the most non-judgmental person I have ever met in my life. You can tell her the most outrageous story of your life and she won’t make a judgment call on you. A very accepting person. But I will tell you this, you don’t ever want to tick her off. Through our friendship, we’ve met the men the other has dated. I always warn them, don’t make her mad. It takes her a looooooonnnggg time but when she gets to that point, duck! Yep, as you might have guessed, there’s always that one who doesn’t heed my warning! It kinda reminds me of the saying: Don’t take my kindness for weakness. Just because Jennie is extremely laid back and the quiet type, it doesn’t mean you can walk all over her.

Jennie has two adult children and eight years to go with the youngest. They are my god-children. The oldest is the spitting image of Jennie. The younger two are spitting images of each other. The two oldest have their mom’s laid back manner. The youngest is a spitfire and keeps us in stitches with her flair for the dramatic. She also bears my first name for her middle name. I call her Lil Chelle. (My daughter’s name is Jennie and my name combined.) We both share the heartache ¬†having lost babies.

At some point in our friendship, I came up with this extremely long, goofy nickname for Jennie. In fact, it was so complicated, the only part I could remember was BoBolicious. Don’t ask me where I came up with that. Over the years, it’s been shortened to BoBo. No matter the time or the distance, we’ve always remained best friends. We already know we’re gonna be the wild roomies in the nursing home! I look forward to that.

Yeah bay-beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

When people ask us how we met, we always smile and start laughing. We love to tell a good story. The typical response is: You weren’t mad at each other? Nope, why should we be? Tim was the one in the wrong, not us. Why would we be mad at each other? Besides, if Tim hadn’t been two-timing, I would have never met my best friend!

How did you meet your best friend?

Did You REALLY Just Say That?? (1)

The other day I had a conversation with someone and it was one of those moments
 when all I could do was look and remain speechless. 
So I decided it would be fun to share those moments that make me think:
 Did you REALLY just say that??

Before I get started, understand, I am a smoker. Of cigarettes.
 (I‚Äôve learned over the years
 people have different interpretations of what a smoking is.
 I wanted to clarify.)
 I did have a period of being a non-smoker for about 2 years.
 And yes, I have been thinking about returning to the world of non-smokers. 
But that’s a different post.

I’m talking to a friend of mine who smokes about 2 packs of cigarettes a day.
 That started me thinking about how many cigarettes a day that makes. 
You have 20 cigs in a pack. So that translates to 40 cigs a day.
 We have 24 hours in a day.
 Let‚Äôs take out 8 hours of sleeping. Reduces us to 16 hours a day to smoke. 
Now, let’s take out another 8 hours of working
We’ll figure you can get about 3 to 4 cigs during the 8 hours.
 That leaves us with 36 to 37 cigs left to smoke in the next 8 hours!
Let’s not forget the extra 8 hours on the days off.

That‚Äôs a lot of smoking! 
Okay, with that being said, the irony of the conversation was as follows:
Friend: I think I need to go to the doctor next week.
 (This is said after a bout of coughing that goes on as soon as this person lights a cig.)
Me: What are you going to the doctor for?
Friend: To see why I cough all the time.
Me: (in my head) REALLY? 
Me: (aloud) Oh. 
Instead of paying the doctor to find out why you cough all the time,
 you can just give me the money and I can tell you why you cough all the time. 
You cough as SOON as you light a cig. 
You cough during the WHOLE time you smoke a cig. 
You cough AFTER you finished smoking. 
You cough in between smoking.
 Not just a little ‚Äúcough, cough‚ÄĚ but a 
gut-wrenching, your-lungs-are-trying-to-escape-your-body cough. 
You sound horrible when you cough and smoke. 
You sound horrible when you cough and don’t smoke.
 Your lungs get more smoke than they get air. 
That will be $85, please. 

On a more serious note, I have talked to my friend for 3 years now about the smoking and the coughing. His co-workers are making comments about lung diseases because the coughing is that bad. His only problem with quitting smoking is: he likes to smoke. I suppose on some level for him there is a sense of denial about his state of health. I only hope that it doesn’t go down that deadly road. 
They say trying to quit smoking is harder than trying to quit heroin. It IS hard. I managed to do it for 2 years and often wish I’d never started again. I am trying to decrease my smoking and become aware of when I actually want a cig or when it’s just a habit because I’m use to it. That’s how I quit the first time. 
Any  former smokers who has some tips or ideas to share with us smokers? Any smokers have any frustrations to share regarding quitting?
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