On quitting smoking
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 12:55:45 AM
First of all, ask yourself why you are doing it.
I started when I was 14 years old because my dad did it, and there was a bit of hero worship going on there. When I was about 12 years old, he caught me pilfering individual cigarettes from his pack of 'Lucky Strike' smokes, and lighting up in the garage. He made me smoke several in a row; a sort of aversive conditioning designed to make me green around the gills and very sick. It might have worked, except for the fact that this guy burst onto the movie scene a few years later:
Now, I know I was confused; smoking didn't make me more handsome, but I thought doing it would make me just as cool with the ladies. Just bullshitting myself, but what the hell; I was young. My Dad quit smoking when he turned 30. He just up and quit cold turkey; substituting a stick of gum when he got the urge to smoke. His older brother continued to smoke big fat cigars until the day he died from a lung condition.
As for me, over the years, I have 'tried' to quit on various occasions for various reasons, failing miserably each time. The reason was that I was bullshitting myself about quitting. For example, I tried tapering off gradually, getting down to only three ciggies a day. But guess what? I was simply maintaining my habit at a very low level, and it always came back to bite me in the butt until I was back to a pack a day. I even tried switching to cigars and smoking a pipe. No luck there either.
I can now say that I have thoroughly quit smoking tobacco in any form. I quit last year and it was very hard, as I have been smoking for some 55 years.
I did it by quitting cold turkey just like my Dad did. For the first week I took Chantix pills. They do cut down the urge to smoke! It turns out that the addiction to tobacco is as great or greater than being a Heroin addict. It takes at least 72 hours of non-smoking to get rid of the physical addiction, and maybe a lifetime to get rid of the urge to smoke. I don't know. I DO know that the really intense urges are becoming infrequent, and I can deal with them by shifting my mental focus to something else. In a few minutes the urge goes away.
As I now have a fairly chronic case of Emphysema, I merely have to imagine my lungs rotting away and my wife crying over my coffin.
I am still amazed how my father made it look easy to quit. But then, he was an amazing man. He was an occasional wilderness guide for a few Hollywood actors and he was friends with Robert Redford. I think he consulted with him on the making of the movie about Mountain Men,'Jeremiah Johnson'. Yesterday, I was looking through one of the old photo albums I inherited of my childhood , and found a photo of one of the actors that I suspect had the hots for my mother(if not for her looks, for her cooking. She was without a doubt the best camp cook I have ever known). Here is his photo: