Eight years ago today, I quit a 17-year smoking habit. I loved cigarettes. I think I first tried a Marlboro Red in 8th grade, then started smoking clove cigarettes in high school which eventually lead back to Marlboro Lights. I remember sometimes we ditched a class or two, my friends and I would a) drive down the beach and have a smoke b) go to Denny's for onion rings and chocolate shakes followed by a smoke c) or go across the street to Donut Nut. Later, I remember my first few full-time jobs where actually smoked in the office! That seems like a million years ago.
The thing is, as much as I loved smoking, I also enjoyed exercise and have belonged to-and-used a gym membership fairly regularly since high school! It was a contradiction to a healthy lifestyle from the beginning. I was the person who worked out and on the way to my car or walking home would light a cigarette. It's crazy but true. I also 'thought' I was pretty good at hiding it from family and non-smoking friends and dates.
It wasn't until 2001, my mentor Helen told me to either commit to quitting smoking OR commit to smoking. After a few failed attempts in the past, this time I committed to quit. I quit on 4/28/01 and went to acupuncture treatments to help detox from the nicotine and the habit. I went to the gym even more and started making art postcards to keep my hands busy. It was hard. But over time, I learned to get used to living like a non-smoker. Although, technically I'm an ex-smoker which really only means that I complain more if I'm around smoke. If I can quit for good, anybody can, seriously.
Happy anniversary to me and my lungs.