I quit smoking in 1970, which was my last year in the Air Force, and I have not touched a cigarette since. Back then, it was not easy to quit smoking because it was trendy and fashionable to smoke...it was the "in" thing to do! It's amazing how immature we were, isn't it? If you didn't smoke back then, you were some kind of square or cube, etc. People smoked everywhere...on talk shows; in restaurants, etc. There were cigarette ads in newspapers; magazines; all over television and billboards in advertising...all designed to temp the person to smoke!
"People come up to me and tell me that my smoking is bothering them. Well...it's killing me!" Wendy Liebman
By quitting smoking, it gave me the discipline I needed, I am able to do other things in my life that required discipline such as losing weight and many other things, etc. At that time, there was also the peer-pressure...whereby people didn't want me to quit! They would blow smoke in my face; leave a pack of cigarettes laying around to temp me; light up a cigarette in front of me and so forth. You know the type...there are people around who have no common decency!
They were negative people...people who couldn't quit smoking themselves, and they didn't want anyone else to quit smoking, either! They're what I call, "excuse-makers"...people who always seem to have an excuse about the things they CAN'T do! They never talk about the things they CAN do...they're the jealous and resentful type! I am not a crusader or preacher for anything...but if these people want to commit suicide...one puff at a time...be my guest! I really don't care!
Thirty years ago, smoking was the "in" thing to do, but how things have changed over the years. Today (2008), smokers are slowly being pushed off the planet, by those of us who place a high priority on our health and the health of those around us. You can't do it! That's what I heard from the "little minds of the world," as I like to call them, who would try to steer me in a different direction and to keep smoking! At that time...I loved to hear it, because it would inspire and motivate me to accomplish what I set out to do.
Back then, I quit smoking in the most unusual way, and I got sick with the flu, etc. I was never a heavy smoker...about a pack a day...and that was a pack too much! But, then one day...I got sick...really sick! I got the worst cold/ful with a deep chest congestion that I ever had. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise...a silver lining in my life, if you will. You see, I had tried to quit smoking before and had failed twice! After those two failures, I didn't know what to do. Back in 1970, they didn't have all the medications and patches they have today, so I think is was harder to quit back then.
Getting sick was lucky for me, and I'll tell you why. With all the stomach flu, where I couldn't keep things down; a deep chest congestion and all the rest of it that goes with the flu! I was in miserable shape, and the last thing I wanted was a cigarette! (Yuk!) And, during this awful time in bed, I went to about ten days without a cigarette, and YAHOO...I was excited...sick but excited!
Ten days without a smoke, and this turned out to be the beginning of the end...the end of
smoking! If I could make it ten days without smoking...who knows...maybe I could make it all the way! I was very hopful! Those ten days were followed by 11 days...and then 12 days...and then 13 days without a cigarette! YAHOO! I felt I was on my way to quitting!
Although...sick as a dog at that time, my confidence level and hope was at an all-time high! I was so sick, that I lost my voice to a whisper. And one day, the doorbell rang. I answered the door, and it was a young man about 15 years old...
"I'm collecting for the newspaper," he said.
In my whispering voice, I asked him, "How much is it?'"
Where upon, he answered back in a whispering voice, ""7.50."
And, in my whispering voice I said,
"You don't have to whisper, young man...I have a bad chest cold and I lost my voice."
And, the young man whispered back,
"Sorry to hear that, sir...but whether you whisper or not...the bill is still $7.50!"
Picture this scene...two people out in front of the house whispering...and the more I laughed...the more it hurt!
Like the little train that could...I know I can...I know I can...quit smoking that is! I was headed up that steep mountain, but I was determined to make it! Nothing worthwhile comes easy! Agony; depression; more agony; and more suffering is how I described the next few days, etc. My top priority, was to try to stay out of my crybaby and whining mentality...and just stay on the road to quitting. I was making progress and I didn't want anything negative to happen, and throw me off course.
Up the mountain I went...I know I can...I know I can...16 days without a cigarette...then 18 days without a cigarette...and then 22 days without a cigarette...WOW!...I'm really making progress now! I was getting close to that 30 day mark, and I couldn't wait to "X" out another day on the calendar the following day!
"Smoking is one of the leading cause of statistics." Fletcher Knebel
FINALLY...26 days without a cigarette...28 days without a cigarette...and I reached the top of the mountain, when I went 30 days without a cigarette! I DID IT! I was so sick...but at this point, I didn't care! All I wanted to do was to celebrate...high fives for everyone! There was nobody around, but me and the dog...so I gave the dog a high-five! BOW-WOW! YAHOO!
Two of the evils in the world, in my view, are temptation and peer-pressure, and they're around all the time, and they have to be dealt with! Week after week and month after month, I struggled with my effort to quit smoking, but I was not going to give up. This was the best start I had ever had, and now I intended to make it all the way. The toughest part back then was temptation...it was everywhere!
I think quitting smoking and losing weight, and I've done both, are not so much a physical challenge, but a mental challenge...a mental toughness is required to do it! Discipline and sacrifice play a part...and the constant...I can do it...I can do it...self-motivation to do it...and don't let peer-pressure or temptation get the best of me! Week after week and month after month...I continued on!
FINALLY...when all the dust settled, it took me about ten months, which seemed like ten years to quit smoking, and to get the craving out of my system, etc. TEN MONTHS! Over the years, I've listened to all these crybabies of the world, tell me their sob story, about how many times they've tried to quit smoking! They really don't want to quit...these people are just into self-pity...plain and simple!
"One thousand Americans stop smoking everyday...by dying." Unknown
It's one thing to quit...(which is the easy part), and quite another to NOT start up again! And, over the years, I've seen a dozen people struggle to quit and then start up again months or years later! They're weaklings! They don't have what it takes to quit...FOR GOOD! They don't have what it takes to fight off temptation and peer-pressure! I don't listen to their sob stories anymore!
Over 35 years have gone by, and in 2008, I have yet to touch a cigarette during this long period of time, and I don't plan to either! Why would I want to put poison in my body?
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Copyright; 2008; Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor
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