away with smoke

At times I stare at myself in the mirror and wonder what is wrong with me. Why have I allowed myself to get so out of shape? Why is it that when I want comfort, I think of food? I quit one of the nastiest habits you can have, and that was smoking. It was quite easy for me because it was time. It wasn’t because of someone else, it was because I was finally ready to break free. Smoking cigarettes was “stress relief” to me. And I am beginning to believe that the comfort of it was something that I made in my mind. I wanted something that would comfort me regardless of the situation, and that’s what cigarettes did. Instead of eating, I smoked. And when it was a habit that was affordable in New York State, it was easy for me to feed that habit endlessly. I never really sat back and looked at what I was doing. I just felt that the smoking relaxed me, and life was so stressful; or so I thought. But I truly had no idea what stress was. No idea what real responsibility was. All I knew was that the $40 a night I made waitressing at Pizza Hut was a lot of money, and I felt like I could handle the pressures of a job, school and home. I was in for a rude awakening. 
At 145lbs, and 5ft 8in tall I felt amazing. I felt like I could accomplish anything. I felt energized. But I didn’t realize that the cigarettes were tearing me apart from many things. Slowly, but surely; they were giving me the seclusion that I so desperately didn’t need. At some point, I felt like I was cool. As if it was somehow glamorous to be seen at 3:15 walking to my car after school and sitting in the parking lot with a cigarette in my mouth. It wasn’t cool. And looking back on it, I would have done so much more than participate in activities that were going to do nothing but ruin my body. Drinking. Drinking was never a huge habit for me. But it became more than recreation for me in a stage of my life. And I did it more than needed. In turn, I felt like garbage more and more. I soon realized that getting drunk and going out on Fridays and Saturdays isn’t “The Life.” It was a wish for a “Sad Life.” Once I had my daughter, I knew that I had to take a handle on how much I was smoking and consider making the necessary efforts to quit completely. For myself and for my daughter. And I thought that I was was going to be making the right decision to include Neve in my reasoning behind quitting. But I wasn’t. See, it was great that I wanted to include her in the motivation behind my efforts for quitting. But in all honesty, it needed to be something that I wanted to do for me, and not for anyone else.I needed to sit back and realize the control that smoking was taking over my life, my wallet, my time, my friends, my daughter and so on. And I wasn’t ready to quit just yet. But I knew for Neve, I needed to make a conscious effort to cease the habit. During my whole pregnancy, I was able to not smoke, although sometimes the thought would grace my mind briefly. And up until she was almost 1 year old, I was able to leave the habit behind. Put it away in the closet for a while.
For a short while, yes I was able to quit. And it came back. Or rather I picked the habit up again. I made it so that I was able to control how much I smoked, and where I did it. I did it when I was at home, but only if my daughter was sleeping, and I wouldn’t smoke in the house. I eventually met my ex, and he bluntly stated that he refused to be with a smoker. And so began the journey of quitting for someone else. It was not a happy journey. And I made it. But I knew that I would be healthier, I would feel better about my decision, my body, my lifestyle, and most of all; being a role model for my daughter. Something I could say that I was proud of, I was glad that I made that decision. Or was I? I succumbed to my worst fear towards the end of that relationship. Insecurity was a large part of it. And more so, my fear of not having the “relaxation” that cigarettes gave me. And so until almost 2 months ago, I was yet again another customer at the store paying hard earned money for cigarettes. Except it was now almost $10 I was paying for my habit. It was no longer $5 or $6 a pack. And every time I handed the clerk a 10 dollar bill, a part of me cried. And every time I lit that cigarette and inhaled, I felt horrible. I felt dizzy, and like I wanted to throw up. But it was at that point I was done. I was fed up. I wanted a change. And I realized that it was time, and I was finally ready. So one day, I had at least half of my pack of cigarettes left, and I ran them under the water in the kitchen sink. Then I took them over to the trash can and crushed them one by one. It felt amazing. I felt like like I could conquer anything, and I couldn’t wait to get back to being me. And although I know it’s not going to come overnight, I know that I will be able to enjoy learning how to love and take care of my body to the fullest. 
This exhilarating journey is something that I can’t wait to include each and every one of you in. I am so excited to finally say I am done!! I no longer smoke cigarettes!! If you smoke cigarettes, and have ever considered quitting but don’t have the strength, or motivation to do so…do it when you are ready. And to prepare for that you should sit down and think of all the things you might be missing out on by continuing to smoke. I know for me, I was missing out on the true taste of food, the energy that was lost, and the feeling of true health. And so I will continue to learn more and more about what this success means for my self esteem and my life in general. I hope all of you are doing wonderful. Until next time….