In 2008 I finally broke my addiction to cigarettes. I had been secretly (and not so secretly) smoking for many years, starting at age 16. As they say: “It’s easy to quit, I’ve done it a hundred times.”
For 25 years I battled chronic bronchitis and asthma, I would receive a nebulizer treatment in the hospital and then go home and smoke! I had such a ‘regular’ cough that my sister said she could always find me in store if she just stood still for a moment, she could find me by my hacking.
Through the years I tried patches, nicotine gum, pills and will-power with no success.
I healed from two pacemaker and one heart surgery, amazingly – as the most basic cut or bruise took weeks, sometimes months to heal from – as my body was so starved of oxygen from all the tar and nicotine I was inhaling. And yet, I continued on. The cost of smoking was more than I could afford; prices were climbing upwards of $6-7 a pack, $65 for a carton, and yet – I was not deterred.
One day my husband had a very serious conversation with me; he asked what it would take for me to quit smoking. I didn’t have an answer. His reply was simply: “I need you to decide; me or the cigarettes.” He went on to say that he tried to imagine a long life with me, one that included traveling the world and sitting on the porch in our old age, holding hands, but at the rate I was going, I wouldn’t live to see our golden years and that…..made him very sad. It made me terribly sad as well, so the next day I called my doctor and we agreed to try Chantix and I successfully quit and never went back.
As the years passed by I realized that I finally had energy, I could climb a flight of stairs without stopping. I really enjoyed eating; tasting my food for the first time in ages. I didn’t have to freeze my butt off outside puffing on a cigarette, I didn’t have to hide my habit from anyone, and mostly — I felt so good, so free, the crutch I had been leaning on for so many years — was gone. My husband gave me the push I needed; him or the cigarettes. It was not a difficult choice.
But what is really amazing? Is being able to breathe deeply and not have it erupt into a coughing spell. It feels so incredibly good to open up my lungs and breathe in, breathe out, feel my body using the oxygen that is 100% pure and good and healing.
I am not the kind of reformed smoker that is going to spit out statistics at you or go on a tirade about how bad for your health it is, or what a waste of money it is………because you KNOW that already. Smokers know what they are doing! Very smart, educated, wise and wonderful people smoke. Some do it until their dying day. Some believe it’s a stress reliever, or a dieting aid. Some don’t care if you care.
I will say this, better than having money in my pocket, or not having a terrible cough, or being sick all the time, or hiding my habit — is being able to breathe so incredibly deeply it’s as if I am breathing new life into my body with each in and out breath.
Perhaps I am.