I began smoking when I was Thirteen-years-old and I finally kicked the habit 55 years later and I have never looked back.
(Image is from PIXABAY and is in the Public Domain.)
My smoking habit began when I started stealing a cigarette now and then from my Dad’s stash. He smoked like a chimney … always filterless … cigarette after cigarettes — a “Chain” smoker … which is what I became myself after awhile.
I smoked all through the Military because in those days the clarion call was “Smoke ’em if you got ’em” and I heard that command every hour on the hour during all my basic training. Smoking was the “In” thing to do back then … the “Cultured” thing …. “The classy thing.”
Smoking was permitted in restaurants, in airplanes, on trains and buses — in stores — everywhere it seemed.
I even remember smoking in theaters as movies played on the screen.
Smokers like myself who were addicted to tobacco defended our smoking habits as a “Right” that nobody could ever take away from us or that anybody had a right to take away from us or that nobody dared try to take away from us.
That was before the “Polly Purehearts” came along with all their “Family and Moral Values” bullshit of the rising Neocon era.
But the time came when my smoking began to bother me.
I developed the classic smoker’s cough and I began to have a hard time sleeping at night because it seemed harder to breathe easy and be comfortable in the bed.
Finally I couldn’t even walk a few blocks without a coughing fit and there were stains on my fingers and burn places on my lips and I knew the time had come to do something.
Luckily my X-rays showed no damage to my lungs … or at least none that my doctor could consider as relevant. I got lucky. I quite before the habit killed me.
How did I quit?
I went to the Veterans’ Administration medical facility and enrolled in their “Smoking Cessation” program and got some nicotine patches and the help and support of a dedicated nurse and a cadre of fellow ex-smokers …. It was all kind of like a 12-step program that alcoholics experience when they are trying to stop their drinking.
It took me Eight long weeks of agonized nervousness and fidgeting and sleepless nights but finally the patches and the support system worked and today I am as fit as a fiddle …. no more signs of my former addiction … the lip burns have healed … the stains on my fingers are gone … I do not smell like Hell anymore … I am so grateful to be alive because I can breathe easily again.
I did gain about 30 pounds of body weight after quitting but the doctor told me I would do that and he said I would be better being a little overweight than I would had I kept on smoking.
I didn’t believe the doctor back then but I am a believer now.