Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?
Caveat 1: It took so goddamn long to format this post, because apparently, WP likes the blockquote+alignright code so much it devours it.
Caveat 2: This writing prompt is from The Daily Post. I realize it was from Jan 4, which I hope you’ll forgive, random reader. I haven’t done this in a while.
One of the longest relationships I’ve ever had ended a few weeks ago.
An unequivocal truth: Breakups suck. Even that breakup with the boyfriend you didn’t really like all that much sucked in some way or form.
Like that job you hated with every fiber of your being. You will have emerged with a feeling akin to somebody drawing a “Get out of jail free” card, but in some ways, it will suck. You have left people – your people – behind. You’ve left something that seemed so good at the beginning, so promising, up until the point the fangs and the teeth, and the dick moves showed up.
And the more horrifying bit of every breakup is, it’ll stay with you long after you’ve accepted everything, long after the dust has settled and you’ve come miles away from the scorched earth you’ve left in your wake.
One of the longest relationships I’ve ever had ended a few weeks ago. I broke up with cigarettes.
I remember that first cigarette more than I remember my first kiss.
One chilly night in the middle of April, I stood with my fellow trainees outside an office in Eastwood. I had just finished my practical exam, the exam that would pretty much decide whether or not I get the blessing to work on the production floor, or get axed.
I was convinced that I was going to get the latter. I watched my friends puff away as if cigarettes lent them a sort of Calm-Cool-As-A-Cucumber superpower that I sorely needed.
First puff, I sputtered. Of course I did.
Months later, I picked it up again. I associated it with breaks, with something I do while I am with friends and at ease. Fast forward to 10 or 11 years later, I am closing the 2-pack-a-day mark. Somewhere along the way, I’ve associated it with something I love: writing. I kept fooling myself that if I stopped smoking, maybe the writing will go away too. Maybe, just maybe, it did lend me a sort of superpower.
I smoked even during a bout of what I’ve come to call as the Acute URI Trifecta.
One day last year, I woke up and knew I didn’t want it anymore. Have you had that feeling? A friend and colleague recently told me she woke up and realized she didn’t want to go to work. She quit the next day.
When I really think about it, it wasn’t an abrupt sort of realization. It was a long, drawn out epiphany, mired in healthcare plans and insurance policies. It was a decision brought forth by the idea of changing for the better, of ridding myself of things that don’t really do me any good. And let’s be honest, of not romanticizing things that are bad for me.
So those things in mind, I knew cold turkey simply wouldn’t work for me, and I started asking around for alternatives. Vaping seemed like a very good idea. I won’t smell like a chimney, I won’t be slowly killing my dog (along with favorite people) with secondhand smoke, and I won’t have burn marks on my keyboard.
I know vaping isn’t quitting – quitting – but I do know that I haven’t touched a cigarette in six weeks. So yeah, that’s good enough for me.
And if you’re curious, the writing didn’t go away. Or it hasn’t gone away with the cigarettes. So big win all things considered, yeah?
1. Writing Prompt from The Daily Post
2. It was the middle of April, so no, not chilly at all, but I was shivering. Nerves tend to do that to me.
3. Because I couldn’t pronounce Kyrie, goddammit.
4. Upper Respiratory Track Infection, in my case, was a cough deciding to hang out with Laryngitis, Pharyngitis, and Bronchitis.