Cancer Sticks a No-Go

Congratulate me: it’s officially been over a month since I’ve had a cigarette.

It’s so strange to think that just a year ago, I would bust out onto my freezing cold, covered in snow & ice rooftop in NY just to inhale cancer causing chemicals into my body. It’s even stranger to think that just four months ago I was living in a city where 60ºF weather would be a paradise. Now, in California winter, anything under 70ºF and I’m freezing (and complaining about how cold I am). But I digress.

My doctor actually called me today to tell me how happily surprised he was that I was so incredibly healthy—save for my Vitamin D deficiency—and that I should continue doing whatever it is I’m doing. Yay, me. Quitting smoking is something I’ve promised myself for so, so long and I’m so glad it’s paying off especially considering my long history with the bad habit.

The first cigarette I ever had was when I was 13-years-old. I was running with an Asian crew back then and it was the “cool” thing to do to hang at the corner and smoke menthols. Oh, how I wish I was uncool back then. I pretty much smoked on and off until high school when I really found myself addicted to those awful sticks. By the time I was 16, I was smoking regularly—first Marlboro Reds, then Parliament Lights, then Camel Turkish Gold—and was able to keep it a secret from my family for years. I did make one attempt to quit when I was 18 and was rather successful for about a year until I went though a stressful move to San Diego and then a huge falling out with my boyfriend at the time. I was 19, incredibly sensitive, and completely alone in a new city so I used exercise and cigarettes as an outlet.

A similar situation happened to me when I moved to NY, though it was more along the lines of socializing and by NY standards that means partying in which alcohol and cigarettes are practically the norm. In truth, while I was trying to meet people in a new city in which I knew no one—much like my situation in San Diego—I was also attempting to redefine myself after a long 7-year relationship in which I pretty much grew up dating my high school sweetheart. Moreover, I was also trying to simultaneously cope with missing my family in a new city and a new coast with only a teeny-tiny support system to rely on. Eventually of course, I created my own little family in NY with close friends and certain family members… but by then the habit of walking into the streets and lighting up was just too hard to break. Now that I’m back in California and especially because I see my nephews often, it’s so much easier to quit. Besides that… I can walk farther, run faster, and sing louder.

So let’s see… smell like an ashtray and look older than I am OR look younger, healthier, fitter, more refreshed and smell like spring time in Paris? I think I’ll take the latter.

By the way, if you ever see me out socializing and tipsy with a cigarette, I give you full permission to smack it out of my hand & maybe slap me around a bit as well (though I can’t promise I won’t hit you back).

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Lent Promises.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which marks the start of the forty days of Lent.

As I do annually, I’m giving up eating cheese which to be quite honest gets easier and easier to do as each year passes. I was seriously considering giving up smoking but I literally felt an anxiety attack approaching just thinking about not being able to smoke. This revealed to me two things—

  1. I really am addicted at this point. I used to always make excuses and tell people I can quit whenever I feel like it, but I know now that this is a serious problem and I need to quit as soon as possible since it will only become harder and harder to do so as I get older.
  2. I can’t quit cold turkey. The last time I tried, I had intense stomach pains and was such a terror to be around that I became extremely anti-social for nearly two weeks.

My solution to this dilemma is to slowly reduce the amount of cigarettes I consume throughout the forty days of Lent. I know it’s not giving something completely up, but I think God will forgive me… at least I’m trying right?

So one pack a week. Then hopefully one cigarette per day. And eventually by the end of Lent, no smokes at all.

One thing I do hope for is that if I’m successful in quitting, I don’t revert back to smoking. I once quit for an entire year and then some stressful event hit and I was back to putting waste products into my body.

Ok. No cheese. A pack a week. One full meal per day (except Sunday). And no meat on Fridays. Got it. Will it. Do it.

To change and to change for the better are two different things. – German Proverb