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Eleven months ago today I had my last cigarette. It's funny, I actually had no idea it would be my last. I had been saying for months I was going to quit smoking, and I would for a day or two, but then I would pick it up again for whatever good reason I had at the time. I really think a person has to be 100% committed to quitting for it to work.
Out of all the cigarettes I smoked from the time I was about 14-years-old until I was 35, I'm surprised I remember that last one so well. I can remember who I was with, what we were doing, and how I felt. I think it is so clear because that cigarette was a huge turning point.
Quitting smoking was not easy. It may have been a little less difficult if I had used the patch, or gum, or something, but I didn't. I just said I wasn't going to smoke- and I didn't. The hardest part was that my husband was still smoking. I would literally have to walk away from him at times so I didn't ask for some of his.
That's the other part that was really difficult. I found that I couldn't be around people who smoked. So many times in the past I had said I was going to quit, but it only lasted as long as I was alone. Around a fellow smoker, I would cave. I would "bum" a cigarette, and I would be right back at square one. I don't know why I did that to myself time and time again, but I think it goes back to that whole commitment thing. I wanted my friends more than I wanted to stop smoking.
I had come to a very important cross-roads, though. In three months I was going to start student teaching. There was two things I told myself about student teaching: I would not be a fat teacher who's butt could be laughed at when I turned my back, and I would never go to school smelling like an ashtray. I'm still working on the fat part, though I did start the year off pretty well. I kept the promise to myself about the smoking, though. If nothing else, I can be a good role-model in that area.
It was hard to lose my friends. Every couple we hung around with had at least one smoker. So, we stopped calling our friends, we stopped suggesting we gather around in the front yard, and we went to the gym every chance we got. A lot of people gain weight when they quit smoking, so the gym was helpful because it gave me something to do to keep my mind off both smoking and eating. I imagine this is a lot like what an alcoholic has to deal with. Stop being around the people who remind you of the bad habit, stop going to the places the bad habit would take place, and find new and different activities for a new lifestyle. As much as it works, it still hurts in a lot of ways.
Keeping myself busy allowed me to ignore the fact that my ENTIRE life was changing all at once. This blog started for that reason. It gave me an outlet to share my frustrations, joys, and accomplishments. I can't believe how far I have come in such a short time. Thank you to both old and new readers for hanging in there, for stopping by to comment once in awhile, and for sharing my life.
Please join me in celebration today as I raise my fruit smoothie glass and toast to an incredible eleven months. Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do for the big one year anniversary. Oh, I know... I'll call the life insurance company and let them know I'm ready for my saliva test so I can finally get covered at a decent rate!
What is a habit you stopped (or started) to make your life more healthy?