Be Patient, Liberation Takes Time

“It is said that the average smoker will try and fail to quit smoking seven times before they finally succeed, if they succeed at all.  Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet, more chemically addictive than heroin, alcohol, cocaine, or caffeine,” says Megan Walker of damngoodyoga.com.

I cannot tell you how many attempts it personally took me to quit smoking. First, there was the quit in high school when my jock-boyfriend insisted on it. Next there was my very own first well-intentioned quit in college. This was the one where I stopped buying packs of Bali Shag and asked my then-fiance to keep his cigarettes out of my sight. I started exercising during the evenings in our apartment-complex workout room (which wasn’t very busy) while watching Oprah episodes on a TV propped up in the corner. When my then-fiance and I broke up, well I started smoking again. It was a stressful time and in short: I knew nothing about quitting smoking! I didn’t know that just replacement therapy wouldn’t work. I didn’t know that I also needed to be prepared for unexpected circumstances. Circumstances where there just wasn’t a workout room available: bars, hospitals, family reunions.

So a few more years go by. I get another boyfriend who doesn’t like smoking. I quit, because I want him to be attracted to me. Quitting for him works okay, until I start to fall out of love with him and start picking up cigarettes when he isn’t around. I start taking walks and literally asking people for a smoke: I am not buying them, so obviously I am not addicted.

Boyfriend and I break up. He comes to pick up his stuff, unexpectedly, and I am on the porch smoking “I thought you quit smoking?” He asks me, catching me off-guard, “That was just for you,” I tell him, dragging on a cigarette. I do not feel proud. I do not feel confident.

Another couple of years go by.

I turn thirty.

I am losing my youthful charm.

The nagging feeling that I am damaging my health and my vitality begins to pick at my brain. I buy books on quitting smoking. My current boyfriend smokes, and enjoys that I smoke too, so that won’t work this time.

One day I quit.

The next day I start again.

I get a Quit Smoking book-on-tape at the library.

I stop smoking in my car, but that’s it.

I feel out-of-control.

I set a date, start an online program.

I take the gum.

I hate the gum.

I start smoking again.

I bitch at my boyfriend, blame it on him “if only you would quit too,” I tell him.

I read books about yoga and breath.

I get a gym membership.

I go one day but never go back.

I feel guilty.

I start smoking again.

I stop smoking again.

I start smoking again.

I stop smoking again.

I start smoking again.

I get a cold.

I stop smoking again.

I do a cleanse.

I do yoga.

I exercise.

I bitch at my boyfriend some more but I do. not. smoke.

I relapse one night.

The next morning I quit again.

I relapse again.

I quit again.

I think I am going crazy.

But I look around and I am the only one quitting smoking.

My friends are smoking. My boyfriend is smoking.

I relapse again.

I quit again.

I read some more. Watch videos. Do yoga.

Follow #quittingsmoking on Instagram.

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

I employ all types of techniques: post-it mantras on my mirror, peppermint candies, licorice, I talk, talk, talk about it. I get mad (nobody gets it! nobody cares!), I pull myself together. I go one month, two, three.

I relapse again (I thought  I was cured, I was not).

I watch for: moments of stress, moments of joy.

I employ more and more strategies.

I talk about it.

I read about addiction.

I read about AA.

I realize: smoking was always my thing.

I realize: I was a child smoker.

I realize: how human I am.

I forgive myself.

I say enough is enough!

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

I learn.

I grow.

I am not cured, but finally:

I do not smoke.

I gets normal.

It gets routine.

I do not smoke.

I bake.

I eat chocolate cookies.

I do not smoke.

I sit on my ass and read.

I do not smoke.

I clean compulsively.

I do not smoke.

I order mock-tails.

I do not smoke.

I go to parties.

I do not smoke.

I wake up in the morning.

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

I do not smoke.

The only reason

I do not smoke

is because Patience.

Because patience

I do not smoke.

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