Only The Last Time
Yep, I used to be a smoker. I don't know when the exact time I started, but I remember being in 8th grade pretending to smoke one, just to be "cool". I didn't really start inhaling until I was probably around 17. Now, my smoking habit wasn't that extreme; as I only smoked maybe two packs a week. Most of my smoking occurred either while I was driving (bad habit, again!), or while I was at work. I tried quitting many times during the past decade, but being around a lot of smokers that you work with, and plus, an excuse to take a break usually, made it quite difficult to put down the cancer stick once and for all.
Upon moving to Canada back in July '07, I made a goal for myself to quit since I wouldn't be in that atmosphere any longer. Jay didn't smoke, and he also informed me that he didn't want any smoking in our new home. So, before we left the States, I purchased two packs of my favourite brand of cigarettes (Marlboro Red 72s) to help me gradually quit.
Those two packs lasted about a month and afterward I began fighting the cravings. I think I went into bitch mode once or twice, or maybe more for all I know, then generally started feeling better. My sense of smell and taste improved, and I got rid of that nasty smell that would hang around on my fingers, and within my clothes. I know that Jay enjoyed it also since he didn't have to worry about kissing an ashtray when he kissed his wife.
Within about two or three months after quitting, I noticed that I couldn't handle the second hand smoke in confined areas like I used to when I was a smoker. It made me feel like I was suffocating, or nearly to the point of having an asthma attack. If I was out in the open it wasn't as bad, and I enjoyed the feeling it would give to me.
Fast forward to December of '07. About the midway through the month, I had to make a trip down to Buffalo, New York to take care of some business (That story comes on another day). Nearly as soon as I crossed the boarder into upstate NY, I stopped at a gas station to fill up and to pick up a pack of my favourite smokes.
Now, you might ask, why didn't you just go and get some cigarettes from the gas station/corner store in Canada, and why did you do that!? Well, for one, you see, I don't like Canadian cigarettes. They're just not as strong as a Marlboro red, and to me, the flavour wasn't the same. Throughout the whole time I was a smoker, I stuck to the same brand. I did smoke some others, but Marlboro was my brand. For question number two, I'm not sure exactly. I think I just wanted to feel those feelings again. Habits are hard to break, especially if they make you feel good.
So, after excitedly buying that pack of cigarettes, I quickly packed and lit my first cigarette in about 4 months. Boy did that sucker hurt! After that first one, I was hooked again. I'm not sure if I purchased another pack before coming back to Canada, but I remember wondering if I really wanted to quit. I kept thinking on how good it made me feel, and then again, disappointing Jay and worse yet, getting lung cancer.
Those last two things outweighed the good feeling, and since we were getting ready to go to Montreal for Christmas and New Years, I made my New Years resolution: To stop smoking, and this time for good. I knew I wasn't strong enough to do it beforehand due to Jay's mom is a heavy smoker and since we were staying with her, it would be impossible for me to not ask to bum one off of her.
Right before the ball dropped on New Years Eve, I took my last drag off the cigarette I was smoking. After putting the smoke out, I went to the room to which we were staying and informed Jay that I was done, and the relationship between cigarettes and I were over. He smiled.
Since that day, I haven't touched a cigarette, until today. Yes, I still fight cravings, but I just attribute them mostly to memories. My health has improved so much, and my asthma attacks are few and far between. All that causes them now is laughing too hard.