By Melodee Currier
When I was a little girl, I remember being fascinated with cigarettes – the chocolate and bubblegum kind. It was a real treat when my parents bought them for me. They were smokers and I felt so grown up when I had my own candy cigarettes.
At five years old, my parents divorced and twice a year I was put on an airplane to visit my father in Miami Beach. In those days, the airlines had a policy of giving each passenger a sample pack of cigarettes. It was a real treat when the flight attendants let me pass them out to the other passengers.
When I was fourteen, after a flight, I decided to take my sample pack of cigarettes home with me. As soon as I got home I closed my bedroom door, quickly lit a cigarette, inhaled, and had a coughing fit. My mother always told me that she had eyes in the back of her head – and I believed her. So, I ran straight into her bedroom to tell her I tried to smoke a cigarette and had a coughing fit. She said my body was trying to tell me not to smoke. I vowed I would never smoke again.
That promise lasted only three years. The next time I smoked a cigarette was when I was in high school. My friends would gather in the school parking lot during lunch hour to smoke. I thought it was cool, so I took a puff of someone’s cigarette. I didn’t realize it was the beginning of a love/hate relationship with cigarettes that would last the next twenty years.
I loved the ritual of smoking – the process of taking the cigarette out of the package and lighting it seemed so sophisticated. I kept a lit cigarette in my ashtray at work nonstop. I couldn’t talk on the phone – or even sip coffee – without lighting up first.
When my son was in high school, he despised when I smoked and would beg me to quit, but I just kept on puffing.
A few years later when smoking finally lost its allure for me, I tried many times to quit –with nicotine patches and even taking a class through my local hospital, but nothing worked. Until one day.
I’d like to tell you the reason I quit was honorable, but that isn’t true. I quit because I was in a relationship with a man who wouldn’t live with me unless I quit smoking. One day at work I experienced a pain in my back and thought it might be related to my smoking, got scared, snuffed my cigarette out in my ashtray and proclaimed out loud “THAT’S IT!” And it was.
Withdrawal was difficult especially when I was around my triggers such as drinking coffee or alcohol, talking on the phone or being with friends who smoked. In fact, I cried, screamed and used some four-letter words the first couple weeks. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to have a cup of coffee or a drink without a cigarette.
What happened to the relationship — the main reason I quit smoking? It didn’t last — but it was a blessing because I believe the Universe brought him into my life just so I would quit smoking. It’s been over thirty years and I have never looked back – on him or the smoking. Now when I have coffee or a drink or talk on the phone, it never occurs to me that I need a cigarette.
Did I mention I gained eighty pounds after I quit? And after all these years of trying, I still haven’t lost the weight. That was the only negative outcome of quitting, but it was still worth it.
They say former smokers are the worst -– and it’s true. I cannot stand to smell cigarette smoke now and will go to any length to get far away from it. Not only does the smell nauseate me, but second-hand smoke has proven to be lethal.
The notion that smoking is glamorous or cool is no longer believed. It’s certainly not glamorous to see friends and family saddled with an oxygen tank wherever they go or die of a lung-related disease.
The only “action” required to quit is simply to throw away your cigarettes and don’t buy anymore. Simple, but true. Going cold turkey works. As author Edith Zittler says, “The best way to stop smoking is just to stop – no ifs, ands or butts.”
© 2018 Melodee Currier
Melodee Currier left corporate America in 2008 where she was an intellectual
property paralegal. Since then she has devoted her time to writing and has
had numerous articles published on a wide variety of topics. Her articles
can be read on her website www.melodeecurrier.com. Mel is an occasional contributor to True Stories Well Told.
Great story. I especially loved reading about your fallibility and how you let us see you are human.
Quiting cold turkey couldn’t have been easy, but I admire your tenacity. I watched my husband go through it. Hooray for both of you.
Thank you so much Suzy! I appreciate your kind comments.