This post is incredibly personal. If you don't want to know more of me than crazy mushing antics or unfounded rants, then stop reading now.
I started smoking at the age of 13. My sister and a friend down the road introduced me to the seductive and bad-ass world of cigarettes. We were rebels. Sneaking ciggies from friends' parents, finding the biggest butts in the ashtray and running off to puff our brains out. In high school, there was a clan that would gather between classes to smoke. My friend's brother bought me my first full pack of Du Maurier Lights. They stayed under the mattress of my bed forever. I contemplated taking the plunge. Diving into the world of 'my own packs.' I took that step and now, 17 years later, I still smoke. I don't know if any of those girls still do. In Whitehorse, I would hide it. I was the sports editor and would interview and photograph svelte athletes on a daily basis. How could I have any credibility if they saw me puffing away. So, even driving around town I was very aware about who might see me. My parents don't smoke and my father has been the biggest advocate of me quitting. A few years ago he said he would no longer accept Christmas or birthday gifts until I quit. That would be his gift. But no matter how much he pleaded, I still couldn't even begin to imagine quitting. Smoking is the ultimate addiction. It puts you in a strangle hold in so many different ways. Nicotine, tar and all the other carcinogens are just one facet. The physical act, the habit, the routine, nay ritual. I like it. I like smoking. I don't like the discerning looks, the cost or the stench, but I like how it makes feel. I need it.
But, now, after 17 years, I'm quitting. I have to. It's too hard. It's too much.
The final straw was a couple nights ago. I've been sick for about a week now and the other night I left work early because I was coughing so hard I kept throwing up. On the drive home, face still burning, lungs on fire, I lit up. I felt so disgusting and helpless. I knew then that it was time to say goodbye, once and for all, to my stinky lover.
This morning I called the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance. They set me up with a quit coach. I'm going to buy some nicotine gum and hopefully that's all I will need. The problem is, I'm still so unsure about quitting. How will I have coffee in the morning? I sit on the porch with the dogs, smoking and drinking coffee. Or beer. How can I go out for beer and not smoke? I realize that this huge step will take some adjustments in regard to my other vices as well and that scares the crap out of me. Can I do this?
I have to.
I don't want to die.
I need support from you. And posting this, for the world to see, is a commitment in itself.