It’s my anniversary!

Four years ago to this very minute I was most likely in the midst of a massive freak out. I was crabby, and anxious and fidgety – and smoke free.

Yes, it’s my 4 year anniversary of quitting smoking.

I was a bad smoker – up to 2 packs a day. In order to keep the costs down I smoked generics – GPC Lights in the box to be exact. But when I saw on the news that Virginia was going to up the taxes on smokes by a substantial amount, I knew I had to quit. I was robbing my family of our money, and my health.

I’d tried to quit in the past. My method of choice was the patch. It cut the cravings way down, but I had a hard time with the mental aspect of quitting. See, I liked smoking. I liked the few minutes I got during each cigarette to sit and veg – usually leaning over the railing of my porch watching the world and getting my nice, relaxing fix.

But I knew it had to be done. My husband HATED it. I can’t put it in enough italics, bold type or capital letters to express the amount of loathing he felt for my habit. He’d tell my children that I was going to die, and then they would fly into a panic, begging me to stop. I’d flash him dirty looks, but he was telling the truth. Problem was, none of them knew the stronghold that addiction had on me.

I had quit once before for more than 9 months. Then one day after taking photos of the Walton’s Mountain Museum in Schuyler, VA I was chatting with the proprietor of a a little bed & breakfast down the road. He lit up a cigarette, and I casually asked him if I could have one.

I bought a pack on the way home.

That’s all it took. Once cigarette to undo 9 months of good work. I was over the hump. I had quit, and then I’d blown it. That’s the kind of smoker I am. I think if I had a cigarette today, I’d be a full blown smoker again in three days time.

The good thing? I have no desire to go back. This past weekend with my daughter’s graduation, I had a smoker staying at my house. I’d sit with her and chat and thoroughly enjoy the smell of her cigarette, but I had no inclination whatsoever to bum one off of her. I don’t want to go back to that.

Now I see folks smoking in their cars, or getting a few packs at the grocery store, and I feel sorry for them. They are still hooked. They still have the long road of withdrawals and crappy moods ahead of them. They still have to deal with the ever growing social ostracization that is linked with smoking. They’re the ones who have to get in their car at 10:30 at night because they realize that there is only 2 cigarettes left in their pack.

But I am free. I did it. I actually did it. I never thought I would be able to quit, but somehow I did it.

It’s one of my greatest achievements in life. And if I ever catch my kids smoking, I’ll slap them silly. But I don’t think they will – they saw what it did to their mother. My addiction might have taught them a great lesson.

I sat on the beach yesterday and would occassionaly catch a whiff of a cigarette. I still love the smell. I’m just glad there is no longer a little stash of GPC lights dug into the sand beside my chair.