Monday, November 29, 2004

This Is Way Too Cool

I'm starting to think that I'm gonna need to find a steeper hill to climb on my daily dog walk. I've noticed over the last couple weeks that by the time I reach the top of the hill, I'm not the slightest bit winded. This is no piddling little hill I'm talking about goes straight up for about 40 feet, levels out for about 40 feet, then goes around a corner and up for another 20 feet or so. The other day, I really noticed a difference. Usually, by the time I hit the top of the main hill, I'm breathing a bit harder...and by the time I hit the top of the other hill, I'm breathing harder still. Not today, or any day for the last week. I hit the top of the second hill and didn't draw a single laboured breath. I walked up this same hill a few times as a smoker and I'm telling was all I could do to make it up the first hill. I sucked wind like I'd just run 10 miles. I didn't even attempt the second hill in those days. Not only could I not breathe, my leg would hurt horribly. Since I quit smoking, my chronic pain condition has improved vastly...along with my lung function. I still have pain every day, but its more bearable, if that makes any sense. My life is 150% better in every way. My pain is tolerable, I can breathe decently, I have more energy, I have money in my pocket...if I knew my quality of life would be this much improved, I'd have quit years ago. I really can't see the point of smoking anymore...and to think that just 18 months ago, I swore I'd die if I had to spend even 2 hours without a cigarette. When I first quit, I was petrified. I thought I was "too addicted" to quit.You know...the other day my girls and I were going through some loose photos, and we came across a smoking picture that was taken shortly after my 13 yr old was born. It was like looking at a photo of someone else. That person looked miserable. I just don't see myself that way anymore. Now, when I think about my smoking career, all that comes back are bad the things that I'd do to get a fix. Rolling tobacco from used butts into cigarette papers...scamming butts out of other people's ashtrays, even. Then there's all the times my smoke would get stuck to my lips. I'd burn myself between the fingers 'cause I pulled the cherry off trying to remove the smoke from my mouth. You know what I mean...ending up with 3rd degree burns and a chunk missing from your lip. Then there was trying to light a smoke on a windy day. Wind gust catches a lock of hair, blows it into your face, and the next thing you know you're doing the stop, drop and roll boogie. The worst was the way my loved ones would shy away from me, and sometimes even tell me outright that I stunk!Miss smoking? Ppffffttt!! Gimme a break! Sure, there are times when I think about smoking. After all, I did it for over 20 years in response to every emotion. Eighteen months without is a drop in the bucket, really. But, the times that I think about it are few and far between, and it's never my first response anymore. This from someone who averaged a pack a day when all was well...up to 2.5 packs when caca hit the fan. There were a couple times that I was in the hospital, and I only came in to eat, pee and sleep. The rest of the time I was outside smoking.I guess what I'm trying to say is that it gets easier. The beginning was no picnic, but once I decided that nothing was worth poisoning myself over, and I made the commitment...quitting was inevitable. I can't see myself smoking ever again. I don't want to go back to that hacking, choking servitude. I've spent the last eighteen months discovering that life without smokes is actually pretty cool. All I can say is...keep fighting the good fight. Each urge you say no to makes you stronger, and before you know it, the urges are less frequent and less ferocious. Then the next thing you know, you're rambling about how great being smokefree for a year and a half is!


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