November 23, 2008

On quitting

I am by nature somewhat anxious. I agonize over important decisions, and unimportant ones. I worry about stupid things I said or did. Or things I haven’t done yet. I have trouble sleeping. Etc.

Stress management literature suggests various behaviors to help deal with these feelings of anxiety – deep breaths, calling a friend, going for a walk. Since none of these suggestions have been AT ALL effective for me, I once asked a friend for his suggestions. He answered: drink, smoke and eat. Heh. I can do that!

But as I’ve gotten older, the appeal of drinking has begun to wane (somewhat). And I found that I genuinely enjoy eating healthy, mostly natural foods in smaller quantities. So that just leaves smoking.

And sweet Jesus, do I love smoking.

I love that it distracts me, that it gives me something to do with my hands, that it soothes me, that it breaks up every work day with a much-needed excuse to step away from my desk. I love the aura of danger and reckless self-neglect and frank stupidity that surrounds it. I love lighters and ashtrays and the way a cigarette looks between my fingers. I love the way smoke curls up from my hand and my lips. And the tingling warmth that spreads through me when I take that first drag in the morning.

But as much as I love smoking, it doesn’t love me back. When I started smoking, cigarettes were less than $3 a pack. Not anymore. A $7 pack a day is a staggeringly beautiful skein of yarn in the first week. It’s a hot pair of boots in the first month. It’s a tropical vacation at the end of a year.

And quitting smoking means I probably won’t get bronchitis twice a year. It means I won't have to huddle outside on a frigid day, clutching a cigarette between numb fingers. The constant smoker's hack will dissipate. If I quit now I probably won’t get what I – charmingly – refer to as “puckery butt mouth.” It means the backs of my teeth won’t be stained brown within weeks of each dentist visit. My sense of taste and smell will improve (imagine if bacon could taste EVEN BETTER!!).

And most importantly, it means I’m much less likely to get cancer and die.

So for all these reasons, I am quitting. My quit date is January 8, 2009.

Wish me luck.

13 comments:

Kristy said...

Yay for you! Good luck!

PS. My word verification is "brapact". Could that be a sign?

Sarah said...

Good luck!!! Mmm...bacon even better.

Emily said...

Woot! Do it, go you! The benefits start showing up really quickly, too.

Karen said...

I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! You can do it! And I think you should buy a staggeringly beautiful skein of yarn after the first week, a hot pair of boots after the first month and a tropical vacation at the end of the year!

Jo A said...

You forgot another benefit - you won't repulse non-smokers with your smoky stench! Thats got to be good for your clothes (and yarn!).

kim said...

We can be quitting buddies! I did a smoking cost/benefit analysis last week (not just the $$ costs), and seeing it on paper made me realize that the benefits of quitting faaaar exceeding the benefits of continuing to smoke. So, I totally support you, quittin sista! *fist bumps*

babyjenks said...

yay ariel! congrats! you can have a celeblation (my word verification is blation so i thought i would try to use it)

i like the idea karen had to treat yourself to the things you can afford if you aren't spending the money on cigs. what a wonderful reward...

Elaine said...

Woohoooooo!!! I'm so happy for you. Feel free to call any time if you need to gab off your jonesing. May the Force be with you.

Siercia said...

Good luck!

You can do it!!!!

Jenny said...

WAAAAAA CONGRATULATIONS!

I just wrote a book of advice in your comments, which is ridiculous, so I'm emailing you instead. But I'll just say you CAN DO IT, you really can.

Yay!!!

Quirkles said...

I'm with Karen and Sabe about rewarding yourself with things you can suddenly afford. You can do this! I'm psyched for you.

Sue said...

You can do it! It sucks at first, but then you don't think about it anymore.

By the way....freakishly enough, my verification word is "chemos".....

Kimberly said...

Oh Lord, I hear you loud & clear, I'm on Chantix and my 1st day without smoking is the 15th...I'm afraid :S

Best of luck to you, here's hoping that we BOTH can kick this filthy habit!