Thursday, September 09, 2010

40 Years Is Enough, I Think




The sign of a truly dedicated athlete is the smoke in his hand!



As you read this, I am not at work and I am somewhat uncomfortable. Today I am attempting to quit smoking.

Before I say anything else, let me give reassurance to those of you who want it. I’m not quitting because I’ve been told I must. I didn’t go to a doctor and hear him say, "Quit now or you’re going to die!" No, I’m quitting because I want to be a non-smoker. I’m tired of being slave to a weed.

I enjoy smoking, for the most part. That’s why it’s going to make me uncomfortable to quit. Cigarettes are my reward when I’ve accomplished something good, and they are my solace when something doesn’t go right. When I want to relax or take a break, cigarettes provide my excuse. A smoke is my aide when involved in strenuous mental activity (not a common occurrence within my head, as you know, but still...)


It's going to be hard to never again look like this...



I am deadly tired, though, of carrying cigarettes wherever I go, and planning ahead to make sure that I have enough cigarettes to last me through whatever I’m going to do. I’m sick of going to a sporting event, or a movie, or a concert, or some other place where smoking is not allowed, and intermittently ruining my enjoyment of the event by wondering how long I have to wait until it ends and I can have my next smoke. I hate going out to dinner - with friends or family who are unfailingly solicitous of my behavior, by the way – and sucking down a hurried last dose of nicotine before entering the restaurant, and then lighting up as soon as I get out the door afterwards (or, even worse, excusing myself from the table, between finishing my entrĂ©e and ordering dessert, in order to go out and suck on a cancer stick.)

Mostly, I want to quit because it has become more of a pain in the ass for me to continue than I would like it to be. For instance, MY WIFE and I have a vacation planned for October. We will be flying to Chicago, and staying a week. And you know what really sucks about airline travel, aside from everything else about airline travel? Not smoking. And it’s not just the inability to have a cigarette while on the flight. That I can generally deal with since it is a delineated period, supposedly beginning at a scheduled time and ending at a scheduled time (although we all know that isn’t always the case.) As long as I know I’m going to be sealed inside of a tin can for a certain length of time, I can usually make my peace with that. But, damn, ever since 9/11 there’s an indeterminate eon before the damn flight when you can’t smoke, too, since you have to get to the airport two hours earlier, to subject yourself to various scans and searches, and if you really feel the need to go outside and have a smoke, rather than sit like a lump in the airport waiting area for two hours, you have to subject yourself to searches all over again, and the security folks look at you as though you have personally insulted them each additional time you come through and I’m not interested in tempting them to do a strip search. Then, at the other end of the journey, no cigarettes until after you claim your baggage. And, believe me when I tell you, I’ve left my luggage at the mercy of thieves, more than once, by ducking outdoors to have a smoke before getting my bags. Anyway, big-time pain in the ass. And that’s the sort of thing that makes quitting a less-onerous pain in the ass, for me, now.

(Admitting that rankles me. That’s because there are a certain amount of do-gooder busybodies out there who have spent their puckered lives making folks like me more miserable in the hope that the misery inflicted by them would accumulate to a point where I would consider quitting less of a pain. If there’s one overwhelming reason for me to continue smoking, it’s to prove those sorts of assholes utterly and completely wrong, and if it took my contracting cancer and emphysema to do so, so be it.

OK, that’s idiotic, but it truly pisses me off that any interfering and overly-officious state-sponsored dickweed might take my quitting to mean that his persistence in tormenting me worked to modify my behavior. Fair warning: If anyone from the government takes credit for my quitting, I’ll mutilate him.)

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing today (and tomorrow, and over the weekend.) I’ll be back to work on Monday, and I’ll have kept a diary of my non-smoking experience. It should be chock full of invective, obscenities, and other fun things.

Soon, with that.



So handsome and sophisticated! Will you still recognize me?



49 comments:

Anonymous said...

no cash sorry..........but u will have some and can go and get some roast beef sandwich

Craig said...

I'm tempted to give you some smarmy bit about how much better you're gonna feel once you quit, but, eh, you're a big boy, and you can take yer own gratification however you wanna frame it. . .

I've been blessed with mild asthma, so back when I was ten or so, and one of my buddies tried to initiate me into the joys of inhaling burning tobacco, my lungs refused to cooperate, and I never knew what I was missing, I guess. . .

'Course, on a parallel plane, the same mild ailment meant that I never managed to, uh, get the full benefit of certain other recreational herbs, either. I might be the only person on earth who could give our erstwhile former president the least bit of credibility over his 'didn't inhale' claim. . .

Linda said...

Good luck. My husband quit 5 years ago, after almost 40 years of smoking. He decided to do it, got nicotine patches to help, and succeeded.

Although he was pretty good about smoking outside (mostly) our son and I went through 'withdrawal' with him, to a much lesser extent of course. That surprised me.

Leeuna said...

Wishing you success with not smoking. I know the feeling of being tied to a pack of cigarettes. It sucks.

Quirkyloon said...

Good luck in your endeavor! Don't beat yourself up if you slip a time or two.

We are all just doing our best!

And one day (don't hold your breath) I will attempt to quit my Diet Dr. Pepper. But definitely NOT today!

And in case you didn't know: I'm a cancer survivor and have never smoked.

Take that for whatever its worth!

I admire you for trying! That's the spirit!

Uncle Skip, said...

If you're really ready to quit and really want to... for yourself and nobody else... it will work.
How do I know? I'm one selfish S.O'B. (<- hah!) and that's what it took for me. I had to really want to.
I may have mentioned that I had previously quit for like six years a then restarted for another 25 plus? Obviously I wasn't done yet.
Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you find yourself reaching for a smoke every time one of life's little triggers reminds you that it's what you do. If you can find a substitute for lighting up when that happens, you're in pretty good shape.

Uncle Skip, said...

Wait!
Did you say you're not at work?

Rhea said...

Good luck! I never smoked probably because my parents did and I thank them for that. It made me realize what a rotten habit it was.

Michelle H. said...

Good luck! I truly hope you succeed at this, MLGF, and have all the support in the world. But if you fall off the wagon... I'll personally come to Boston and kick your butt.

Kidding. I know something like this has to be hard for you. I do hope you succeed, but I'll understand if it takes a few tries. I can't imagine any other addiction to quit than smoking.

Maggie May said...

You are the second of my blogging friends to decide to quite this week! I think both of you will find it difficult though.
While I was having my CT scan lat week I met a really lovely lady in her 50s and she & I seemed to gel right away. She got to tell me that she had been a very heavy smoker & had the worst kind of lung cancer that you can get.
She realised that the ciggies had destroyed her life.
You are worth more than that and also your family. I think you have made an excellent decision to stop.

My whole family managed to stop smoking and my husband said that sucking sweets helped him during the worst of the withdrawals. all those relatives managed to keep from smoking ever again.
Good luck and try nicotine patches if the going gets tough.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Jeni said...

Well Jim, you probably know -since I am still a "bad person" (i.e. a smoker) you do have my support in your decision to quit and you also have my sympathy as well as empathy in this project too. I know I really should quit, but I also know how damned difficult it is to do that and I really don't have the energy to devote to that cause at this particular point in time -even if the other issues of mine are medically related and smoking cessation would be a good thing, the right thing for me to do, it also helps me to calm down, to ride through certain types of pains I get these days as well. Okay, maybe that is my own excuse too for being a coward and not stopping what I should have stopped many moons ago, who knows. But at any rate, I will keep you on my own private little prayer chain that you meet with much success in this endeavor. And yes, to quit smoking you will be able to afford a lot of nice steaks, not just a measly roast beef sandwich, that much is for sure!

IT said...

Do you realize that if you succeed someone... not me... is liable to give you an award?
Do you really want another award?
Yeah! Good luck and God bless.

lime said...

i know it won't be easy but i'm wishing you success. i'll say a prayer for you (and the folks around you during the process ;) ).

Eva Gallant said...

Good for you for deciding to quit. I wish you success. My dad smoked 3 packs of Camels a day and quit after probably that many years. It's not an easy thing to do, but I know you are strong enough to succeed.

Elaine said...

I sincerely, wholeheartedly, wish you all the luck in the world. I hope you succeed because if you can do it, I can do it. x

Buck said...

Good luck, Jim. Nicotine gum worked for me, the patch didn't on three previous tries.

I miss it... I truly DO. I'd still smoke were it not for the emphysema. But ya can't bitch about a self-inflicted wound. I just wish I'd have been smarter, earlier... like at age 50 instead of 60+. Ten years makes all the difference.

haphazardlife said...

Good luck Suldog. You can do it. And I'm sure you'll find a way to piss off the do gooder busybodies while you do it.

Whalehead King said...

You can always move to New Orleans if you fall off the wagon. There's not anti-tobacco stigma here. It's like another planet.

Christina LMT said...

Good luck, Jim! I'm rooting for you. :)

Expat From Hell said...

Switch to Cohibas. More expensive, longer smokes, but it's the thought that counts, right? EFH

Thumbelina said...

Well done.
I'm with Uncle Skip. If you are doing it because YOU choose to, you'll do it.

Do you want my tip? If not, skip the next line(s). If so... tell yourself it IS ok to want a cig. Don't beat yourself up over wanting one. Just CHOOSE not to have one. Take control. Don't let it control you.

Ok, you can read again now. You'll prove 'em all wrong and do it. I know you will.

Last tip - if you have one, don't throw it in there. If you were climbing a ladder and slipped down, even hanging on by one hand, would you let go and fall to the bottom so you could start all over again? Course not. You'd start climbing from where ever you'd slipped to...

If I can do it - you can! Keep on keeping on....

Mushy said...

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette!

I quit back around '85...and don't miss'em at all. I quit carrying a comb in '95...that was a hassle too! I just bur it off and let the wind blow!

Good for you dude...they aren't good for you...you know that, even though you smoked. It's just a habit...like eating!

~jill said...

good for you!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I'm ROFL over that last photo!!!! Getting in one last big smoke, eh?? You are priceless, my friend!!!! And a keeper!!! Love this!!! Best wishes and prayers for you this weekend...my heart is with you...tough go...you are courageous! Hugs, Janine

gayle said...

I do know how hard this is going to be!! You can do it!!

Dave Daniels said...

Good luck, you can do it. I quit for most of the same reasons five years ago. Once i realized it was an addiction (duh moment???), I decided not to let the addiction beat me, I beat it.

Pam said...

Good luck with this! I know how hard it is and you can do it!

catdoggg said...

Good luck Suldog. It's the hardest thing I ever did, and I only managed with the help of Chantix. It'll be 2 years this October.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I know it might sound kind of dorky but have you read The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Alan Carr (Aaron? Shoot, I forget but you'll find it on Amazon under the title easily enough if you want to)? It was a book that greatly helped me a couple years ago when I tried to quit. Nothing can ever fully prepare us for how we act & react to relieving our bodies of nicotine but I completely applaud you for giving this a go Jim! Especially because it was your decision and no one else's.

I'd say good luck but you seem to be a pretty stubborn guy so I have no doubt you'll put your all into this! Can't wait to read all your self created curse words in the next couple weeks :-)

TechnoBabe said...

No lectures. No condemnation. No snotty ass advice. No long and lengthy stories of my past smoking and then quitting. No statistics.
Best wishes to you. Sincerely.

Daryl said...

good luck .. I quit 3 or 4 times before I got pneumonia in 1986 .. that effectively helped me quit once and for all ... tho I admit I occasionally have this twinge when stressed to inhale .. I just dont

WV scompup .. scomp up and out all those desires to inhale .. you can do it

Shammickite said...

I wish you every success in kicking this habit.
I think by announcing it to the world via your blog, you are determined to succeed.
And if you fall off the wagon, we bloggers are never gonna let you forget it.

Moannie said...

Every reason you have given for quitting can be echoed by me and I wish you all the best luck and success. Now I suppose I shall be the lone spectre at the feast. I have cut down [a bit] not from outside pressures but because I realise that spending a £1.000 a year on blowing out smoke is not fair when money is tight.

Good luck, sweetheart.

Nick said...

Okay, then you'll like my smoking piece... Good luck.
http://getnickt.blogspot.com

Ananda girl said...

Aw Jim... I'm right there behind you.
I can feel it. The determination and sincerity. You will do it. (I'll help with the mutilations!)

Yay for you!

connie/mom said...

I'm rally happy to hear this. I know you can do it because you've conquered so many other addictions before.
Do you still have the 300 lollipops I gave you.
If YOUR WIFE needs to get away from it all for a few days, send her to us.

Teacher's Pet said...

I panicked for a moment. I saw the title....saw the photo...and thought, "Oh no...he can't be quitting playing ball." Whew!
After I read your blog, I read the first comment from "Anonymous"...and laughed until tears came to my eyes.
I'm loving the last photo...another smile!!
I love coming to your blog. You are the real deal....and I like that more than I can tell you. Smiles and hugs from Jackie

The Good Cook said...

I routing for you!

Chris said...

*snickering innocently at The Good Cook's comment*

Rooting. You're "rooting" for him.

As are the rest of us.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great decision Jim.
I quit 30 years ago and I was a 40 cigs a day man. First thing I did in the morning BEFORE I got out of bed was to light up.
Jim, it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life because nicotine is almost as powerful as heroine and is a twin to alcohol. Have a beer or whatever and you feel like a fag (as we call them). It was hard for 6 months then gradually got easier.

The downside is smelling the delightful aroma of traffic fumes. LOL

I do not think of smoking at all now.
Please stick at it if you can.

Love the last photo LOL

Good luck with it, Jim, and if I can do it so can you I am sure. Eddie

i beati said...

There is something uncomfortable about all your semi nude shots - kidding- black uniforms are intimidating. wvU my alam mater just got uniforms to tribute the miners who lost their lives and their hard work- black blue and gold edge..nice idea- smoking. I have cancer so I quit cold stage 4 - but I smoked those long brown cigaretty cigar mores and I could smoke one today and still love the flavor- a double edged sword.
Who can resist the fag out the mouth look ??haahha

eileen said...

Good luck!! I wish you all the best in this endeavor.

Angela Christensen said...

Jim, forgive me ahead of time if someone's already said this to you. When I quit (about a hundred and fifty years ago) a psychologist friend explained some of the physicality of smoking to me and it helped; I'll share it here and you can skip it or use it, as best fits. Essentially, he said, smoking is at least as addictive as, and possibly more addictive than, heroin. But you get addicted on a continuuum: if you're REALLY addicted, you're one of those people who wake up in the middle of the night to smoke; you're the person who lights a cigarette before your feet hit the floor in the morning. If you're less addicted, there's a sort of "option-ality" to smoking, and you do it at habitual times, like when you drink or after meals (for me), but it may be easier to put down than it is for people on the other end of the continuum. Wherever you fall on said continuum, I'm sending thoughts, prayers, and best wishes. I know it's not easy and I always shared your feeling of annoyance at the sanctimonious jerks whose opinions about me and smoking just pissed me off. A writer whose voice really helps on the topic is David Sedaris; you might want to spring for a copy of "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" so you can laugh your head off more than once while you're doing this really hard thing.
Love, love,
Angie at Eat Here

Shrinky said...

I feel for you, my friend. I hope it isn't too painful. I'm disgusted every time I truly panic when I run out of smokes - and will probably be joining you once my present stash expires (you noticed that probably in there, yeah?).

I'll be following with interest to see how you are getting along.

Carolina said...

I'm glad you've come to your senses.

You don't need luck. You need willpower. So... good willpower to you!

;-)

Theresa said...

Hey Jim, good for you for taking the first step in your life to freedom. Forget that you will live longer, smell better, have more money or cough less, the true reward is the freedom of not having to figure out where you're allowed to light up, or if you should make that trip to buy a pack at 10 pm so you'll have a smoke in the morning. I recently quit (1 year ago). I'm sure Chris told you i quite with Chantix. It was sooo easy. But you know me, I never recommend medication to other people. Chantix comes with some pretty bad side effects. I personally never suffered from any of them. But everyone's different. Good luck to you! I'm rooting for you!!

Hilary said...

You know that I wish you the very best.. to manage this with minimal discomfort (sipping on ice water seemed to help me, I recall) and renewed energy. Hugs to you, friend. :)

Karen said...

I'm hoping you succeed on this try. It took me many but I've been smoke-free now for 28 years :)

Ruth and Glen said...

As smokers we can commiserate with you Jim. Hopefully this will give us some inspiration to join you. :o)