Stop Smoking: Day 1225.

Because my wife was a smoker I became one, too. Once we started the Divorce Ordeal, I started smoking even more. I tried to cut down, I tired gum, I tried everything on earth, but quitting cold turkey. Weeks turned into months, and the months grew up to be years. The habit was sticking with me, and it began to gnaw on my health, like a mouse chewing on wire.


In 2004 I decided to quit on the anniversary of the divorce, in August, but it didn’t work. I then vowed to quit on Labor Day, and it didn’t work. I vowed to quit on Halloween and that didn’t work at all. I tried quitting on my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve, New Years Day, and every attempt found a reason not to quit right after it began.


On January the eight, 2005,  I threw a little cigar down on the ground and stubbed it out with my shoe. Enough! Enough, I cried aloud. This ends, and this ends right damn now. I vowed to quit for forty-two days  and thanks for all the fish. If you don’t understand that obscure sci-fi reference, don’t worry.


The hardest thing to do was to drive past the store where every morning I would buy a twenty ounce Pepsi and a little cigar. It was a spiritual thing. I would drive to work, relax, drink my Pepsi, smoke the little cigar, and by the time I got to work I would be ready for the day. I drove past the store and it felt as if I had just drove past a stray dog in the road, who thought I was going to stop. At work, I felt antsy and lost. I drove past more stores, and I knew that in each and every one of them, there were cigarettes and cigars.  By lunch, I was a wreck. My co-worker, who smoked, kept offering me a cigarette.


Smokers do not want you to quit. It makes them feel bad to know you can and they cannot. They don’t want you to turn into one of those “ex-smokers” who have such a bad attitude towards the habit. They are your support group for not quitting. You have to stay away from these people or you will never be able to walk away.

I started walking instead of smoking.


After the first three days time began to drag like it did when I was in High School English class. I cleaned out all my ashtrays and I threw away all my lighters. I began running at the gym. Always, after a good run, I would cough like hell. But the days were dragging. Three days seemed like a long time but it was just  three days. I then decided to count hours instead. Hey! Seventy-two hours! That was almost one hundred! Forty-two days is one thousand and eight hours. That seemed bigger and better.


One hundred hours was a lot easier than four days. The first work week pushed it to one hundred twenty hours. I was gaining eight hours a night just by sleeping! It was easier to get from one hundred to one hundred fifty than it was to get from four days to six days. That first weekend was a monster. But I nailed down one week, and that was seven whole days, and that was one hundred sixty-eight hours. Two hundred hours didn’t seem so out of reach all of a sudden.  Two fifty didn’t seem unreasonable. Three hundred might be able to be grabbed. Then, as I made an Excel program to keep up with it, I realized I had made it to my second weekend.


It was still hard as hell. My smoking friends kept a Death Watch on me. Hanging in there, Mike? Wow, two weeks? That’s great! But I could tell we were already drifting apart. I couldn’t drink with them. I couldn’t eat with them. I had already stopped smoking with them. The first few days I would walk past and breathe deep, trying to get just a little. Suddenly, I discovered I didn’t like the way it smelled. I didn’t like breathing the same air as my friends.


At five hundred hours, or three weeks, I was halfway there. I remember feeling as if some magical barrier had been passed. The physical part of smoking is totally gone after three weeks, but it’s the mental part that is the hardest. Smoking tastes good with coffee, beer, Pepsis, and that first smoke after a good meal is incredible. Smoking help you unwind a problem. Smoking gives you something to do when you’re stressed. Smoking is a bonding thing with other smokers. Leaning over to start your cigarette off the cigarette of a woman gets you within kissing distance, and you can tell if she likes that idea or not.  Oral fixation jokes with a smoking woman will get you either a roll of the eyes, or it will, get you a leer. Good information, that.


But it’s deadly, and we all know it. Smoking kills slow, painfully, and without any dignity whatsoever. Smoking killed my mother-in-law, and we watched as they strapped her down to a hospital bed. The pain that grew inside of her caused her body to try to escape it, but she could not. For days we watched as it finally ended her life, slowly, painfully, and without any sense of compassion or humanity.  Each time you light up you place yourself that much closer to that sort of death. You place your loved ones on the side of that bed, watching. You place your future there, and there is nothing you can say, or do, that will change that as a fact of your habit.


I still want to smoke. After 1225 days, or 29,400 hours, I still want to smoke. I still like it. I realize that it was so much a part of me, that I can never smoke just one, or have one with a friend, or do anything other than never smoking again, ever. It’s a habit still, and it always will be. But I refuse to die like that, I refuse to live like that, and I refuse to be chained to death, just for the sake of habit.


Take Care,


Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/21/2008 6:28:22 PM
Quitting will save you, Victoria.

vwhitlock   vwhitlock wrote
on 5/21/2008 8:14:51 AM
Awe inspiring! I will do this thing even if it kills me!!!

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/19/2008 6:34:05 PM
Sweetpea, Watching someone die helps you want the habit to die. It just took a while.

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 5/19/2008 6:33:25 PM
Hi WP! I am so flattered! You're not doing so bad yourself being a featured writer and all!

Warriorprincess55   Warriorprincess55 wrote
on 5/19/2008 7:57:07 AM
Mike, you are awesome! I've been reading your work and it is truthful and to the point. You ought to consider writing books. Seriously, you write that well. I'd buy your book (s) as I'm sure everyone else who reads your writings, would. I especially liked the story about the eggheads that stop and look at accidents thereby holding up traffic and keeping the EMT's from doing their jobs. Keep up the good work and keep them coming.

Mike Firesmith
Special Interest
Self Help
writing Mike Firesmith
I write
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How To Stop Smoking in 29,400 hours
A Word from the Writer
It's as bad as you think.