It has been 5 years since I stopped smoking. I am not even sure of the exact date when I stopped. I never really cared about the date. I debated about writing about this topic as I don’t look at stopping smoking as any kind of accomplishment. I am disappointed that I had started the disgusting habit in the first place. I applaud all those who never started to smoke as never starting is the bigger accomplishment to me.
I was in my early twenties when I started smoking. Being able to control the habit was my claim to fame. “Oh, I only smoke when I go out to the bars and have a drink!” was my motto. Then I became single and was out at the bars every night having a puff or ten. Soon thereafter I became a full-time smoker. It didn’t take long before my smoking became a psychological vise. Going outside to have a smoke to sort out lingering thoughts was a treat for me. I had tricked myself into believing that the toxins I was inhaling and freezing my ass off outside to smoke in the middle of a blizzard were eliminating my fears and anxieties. But in reality, it was killing me. My anxieties and fears were only illusions created by my brain so it could get another hit of nicotine. Little did I know, I was being fooled. My brain was hooked.
My smoking habit went on for another 12 years until one morning I woke up with a slight smokers cough. That was when I finally began to realized that my disgusting habit was leading to the end of me. I had enough. The fears and anxieties switched to the very thing I was ingesting. Going out for a smoke became a mental struggle of “I can’t get away from these vile things. I don’t think I will ever quit! In fact, I can’t quit! But I have to quit!”. I began to notice that my son was becoming more aware of my ugly habit and I knew that I had to set a better example. I could no longer expose him to these disgusting things. It was my time to stop.
You will notice that I never refer to myself to have “quit” smoking. I had tried to quit smoking many times before without any success. To quit something has a negative tone to it and who likes a quitter, right? So this time when I decided to stop smoking, I was in control of it. I didn’t quit.. I started my bad habit now it is time that I stop my bad habit. This change in mindset really became an effective tool for me, I haven’t quit anything; I just stopped.
I am very much happy to have left the smoking habit behind me but I am not proud of it -I never will be. The day I become proud is the day I will spark another one up. Once you believe you have reached the pinnacle of success is the very moment that you have begun to fail. Once you stopped and looked back at your accomplishments is the moment you have stopped trying to reach for them. I will never let that happen. I am in control. I started smoking therefor I stopped… I am not a quitter.