Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Don't like my attitude?

Someone sent me an email today with a lot of "Maxine" cartoons and sayings, and my favorite is: "Don't like my attitude? Send me an email at www.likeIcare.com (I don't think anyone relly has this web-site but maybe we should check it out?)

Brenda Love at http://planetbrenda.blogspot.com mentioned quitting smoking this morning and since every blog I read prompts me to write on the same subject, I decided this is the topic tonight.

I should have had www.likeIcare.com tatooed on my forehead when I was quitting smoking! I started smoking when I was 15, just to impress the crowd I was hanging around with at that time. They were all a little older and once I asked to try a cig and of course, I coughed and sputtered and hacked for an hour afterward. That should have been my clue to never try it again - but no - I had to prove I could do it. So I bought a pack of Winstons, locked myself in the bathroom at home, and lit every damn one of them until I could inhale without an immediate coughing fit. I swear by then I was hooked (I am, no doubt, the most addictive personality in the history of humankind). I couldn't smoke at home, so I had to content myself with having one on the way to school in the a.m. and whenever I was out with my friends. I even took a job from noon to 12:45 at the local sandwich shop across the street from my school and bought cigarettes with my pay. By the time I was in college, I had a minimum 2 pack a day habit, and 3 if I was up late studying or partying. I smoked all throughout my pregnancies (shame on me!) and when I was about 37, my kids started begging me to quit. They really hated it when I smoked in the car with them, and I just thought they were exaggerating about the smoke and irritation.

By the time I was 38, I had had a lot of sinus infections and colds. I never thought they were attributable to smoking, but now I am certain they were. I began to have the feeling every morning like a bowling ball was resting on my breastbone, and little by little I realized that I really needed to stop smoking. On the day I decided to do it, I was very nervous and grouchy. The next morning, I did not light up before getting out of bed, as I had done every other day for 2o years. By noon, I had cried so hard my face was red and swollen. At 3pm, I had to pick up my younger daughter from school and take her to the YMCA after-school program. When she got in the car, she said something that "gave me an excuse" to light up - and I did. She knew that I had been trying to quit that day and after I lit up and took the first puff, I turned around to look at her and the look of sheer terror and disappointment on her face made me more ashamed of myself than I had ever been before. I threw the cig out the window and I have never lit another one since.

It was not easy; in fact, it was the single hardest thing I have ever had to go through, including childbirth without anesthetics and a root canal while I was pregnant, also without anesthetics.
I alternately cried, prayed, cried, yelled, screamed, cursed, prayed and cried for about 2 weeks.I referred to it as my "dark night of the soul". I don't know how I managed to get through those 2 weeks and still have a husband and family at the end of it. They really must love me, because I am pretty sure I could NOT have put up with me during that time. I can say now that quitting smoking is one of the best accomplishments in my life and one I am most proud of. Immediately, my coloring improved; I went from sallow grayish to pinkish and healthy looking. My stamina improved tremendously too, and I had never realized before how much cigarettes sapped my energy. Everything smelled better and tasted better - plus I had a lot more spending money! I did gain weight, but since I had always been built like Kate Moss (or Twiggy, for you older folks) it didn't matter that I put on a few pounds.

Smokers take heed to my story, and quit while you can make it worthwhile. You will never regret it!

1 comment:

Scarlett said...

I heard a coutnry song last night coming home from school. The lyrics were something like this, "my give a damn is busted."

I almost peed on myself.