Phase I – Busted
I noticed an odd phenomenon when I gave up smoking back in 2000. At first, if someone lit one up around me, it smelled so good. I’d find that person and go stand near them, just for the second hand smoke. Afterward, a year or so I guess, the odor started making me turn away. To this day, I never know how my body will react to the smell of tobacco burning. Whether it is appealing or repulsive, the reactions are polar opposites, much to my chagrin.
My return to the world of smoking began during one of the times when the smoke smelled really good (duh). Also, pain and frustration from a recent surgery. Also, stress. Also, I can come up with at least four or five other good/bad/embarrassing reasons/excuses for putting the nasty thing to my lips. Basically though, addiction. There are any number of excuses I had for lighting up. None of them good, and I knew this to be true.
During this rough patch, I invented a game to play with my own psyche. I bought a pack at a convenience store. Then, I took one out, and threw the rest in the trash can at the store. Only one, I told myself. Just to get the monkey off my back. This happened once a month. Then, twice a month. Then, once a week. Finally, I hid the pack in my purse, instead of throwing it in the trash.
Yes, the reason was addiction. I’ll also admit to a slight thrill. Since a ‘thrill’ is excitement with an element of danger, the experience of sneaking a smoke with no one knowing was a small thrill. The fact it could kill me might have added another level.
After a while I admitted backsliding into the realm of cigarettes. She’s the only one who still smoked among my group. She gave me a ration of shit about it.
One day, she and I were at my house in the middle of the afternoon. I decide to have a smoke. Our conversation turned to the guilt I felt about hiding it from my husband. “This is my last pack,” I announced. While half-way through that smoke, my husband opened the back door where we sat.
No ranting, raving, scene-making for him. Nope. He said five words that hit me like a punch in the gut. “So, you’re lying to me.” Then, he left.
We can all speculate what he thought, felt, or what else he could have said. I call all irrelevant. Those five words will haunt me for life.
I quit that day. Of course, I started again in six weeks. But for right then, I quit.
Six weeks later…
I bought a pack at a convenience store.
I lit one, threw the rest away.
Bought another pack two days later. Told myself this would be my last pack. Put it in my purse.
About two days after that, I told my husband I’m a smoker. It didn’t go well. But, the gut-wrenching idea of lying to him again, for any reason whatsoever, made the admission necessary.
Fast-forward. After several heart-to-heart conversations, I offhandedly told him that this would be done by my birthday, which was about six weeks away.
I gravitate between, “What was I thinking?” and “I can do this,” for the next couple of weeks. My friends, with whom I’ve shared this dark patch of life, are supportive. My husband has stopped his sarcastic quips and he looks forward to the day I quit.
Being honest with myself, I’m not happy. About smoking. About having to quit.
My smoking friend and I have agreed to quit together. She’s trying one of the nicotine drugs to quit. I’m going cold turkey.
JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.