Monday, July 29, 2013

Bad habbits

I started smoking cigars when I was 15 years old.

Mostly macanudos, but the occasional natural as well.  When I was 19 or so, I also started smoking pipe tobacco (apparently, at 5'5" and overweight I didn't look enough like a hobbit)  The funny part was that the first time I was ever carded I was 23 years old....
....and buying pipe cleaners.

Later, when I was working at the casino around smokers all day and going through a particularly difficult time in my life, I started smoking cigarettes.

For those of you who smoke, don't worry. I promise not to get preachy.  I know good and well that you have tried to quit 42 times, and that you don't want to hear or read anything else about how evil smoking is.

For those of you who have never smoked, you may find this enlightening.

For those of you who used to smoke, but have successfully quite, you just rock on with your bad self.

The problem with quitting cigarettes is that you get hungry for them.  I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's almost the exact same sensation.  It gnaws at you until you find a way to justify 'one more smoke.'  You don't think about the way it makes you smell, since you don't notice when you're a smoker.  You don't think about how much they cost, since you buy them a little at a time.  You don't think about how terrible and scratchy your throat feels every morning, since you once again don't notice.  You just think about how much better you'll feel while that cigarette is in your mouth.

The first time I 'quit' smoking was shortly after I met my wife.  It lasted until we had our first argument.  The second time I quit, I went through this big online support group program, and stayed free of cigarettes for about 6 months.

Like a lot of smokers, I tried a lot of different things, but the thing that finally got me free from cigarettes was an electronic cigarette.  (no, I am not here to sell e-cigs, and I won't be posting links where you can buy your own.  Try google...)  For a long time, I continued to use an e-cig.  They don't make you, your clothes or your car stink.  They don't cost as much.  Most importantly, while there's not a lot of good long term research, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that they're not nearly as bad for you as cigarettes.

However, like a lot of things that seem to be the lesser of two evils, it's easy to overlook that fact that they are still 'an evil' and we usually have a 3rd choice.   We can choose neither.

After 2 years of using electronic cigarettes exclusively, I've finally kicked them as well, with the help of some nicotine gum, and now the gum is gone as well.  Like so many things, the real secret was motivation.  There are some really wonderful things in my life, and I want to make sure I'm around for them as long as possible.