August 25, 2011
I was raised in a house where my father smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. I remember sitting in class and craving a cigarette. Whether that is even possible, I don’t know. I started smoking when I was 16 and smoked regularly until my father had a massive heart attack at 59 years old. Thankfully he survived, but the surgeon told us if he could list 100 on a piece of paper to save my father’s life in the future, number one was for him to quit smoking, which he did.
I was so enraged that these sticks of death had almost caused my father to never see his 60th birthday, that I put them down and didn’t touch them for over a year and a half. One day, my then-husband and I had a fight and in the midst of fury, I went and bought a pack of cigarettes with the idea I would have one and give the rest to my best friend. I smoked the whole pack and went back for more.
Three years later, I quit again; I had it licked; no cravings, the habit was broken — I was in the clear. It didn’t bother me to be around other smokers; I felt free from the addiction. About four weeks ago, I was reminiscing about time-gone-by and wanted a Swisher Sweet Cigarello. So, I had one, which led to one more the following week, then two the next weekend, and now I’m back to smoking cigars on a regular basis. I made a deal with myself that I would ween myself off of them and when my stash was gone, I wouldn’t buy any more.
Two nights ago, I stopped at five different stores looking for my cigars. I told myself after the second stop, “I’ll go to one more store, and if they don’t have them, I’m done. I’ll take it as a sign.” My children are very disappointed in me, and while I completely relate to how they feel and remember how I felt when I begged and bargained with my dad to quit, I find myself still coming back for more and seeking out that which feels embedded in my anatomy.
While I’m reluctant to compare nicotine addiction to alcoholism, I feel I have some sort of understanding and compassion for my qualifier that I’ve never had before. I want to do the right thing for my health and set a good example for my children, and in the midst of this, there is a gnawing that begs me for just one more drag. Sometimes I cave, other times I stand strong.
I feel my Higher Power is the only thing that can free me from this addiction. I’m not strong enough to do this on my own; I’ve proven that. I’ve also proven to myself that I will never be able to be a casual smoker, and that makes me very sad today. I know I will quit again, and it will hopefully be for the last time. I will apply the first three steps summed up as, “I can’t; He can; I think I’ll let Him” and lay this addiction at the feet of my Higher Power. I have become willing, and now I pray for the power to carry it out.