Young woman smoking cigarette

Five years ago today I was pulling my hair out, gnashing my teeth, and eating everything in sight.

Because five years ago today I quit smoking.

I’ve blogged about this just about every year, and I might continue to do so until my time of death is called. Because the fact that I was able to quit smoking is nothing small of a miracle.

I smoked a lot, and I liked it. My husband and kids would complain about it constantly. But heading outside for 90 seconds of solitude while I got my nicotine rush was my little escape. I smoked 2 packs a day – I switched from Parliament to generic brands when the prices started to go up. But when my state announced that there was going to be a significant price hike in cigarettes, I knew I had to quit.

We are not a wealthy family, and the money I was spending on cigarettes already made me feel guilty. But the thought of spending more? That was enough to make me try quitting again.

I’d tried tons of times before. I’d made it 9 months back in 2009 or so, but while visiting the Waltons Museum on a photo shoot, the guy that ran a small tourist offered me a smoke while I was asking him questions. I don’t know why I took it, but I did. We smoked while looking at a bench with the words “Goodnight Jim Bob” on it. On my drive back home I stopped and bought a pack. Fucking Jim Bob…

For some reason, when I tried to quit in 2009 it stuck. I remember getting a prescription for Chantix but when I found out it was more than $100 a month, I was ashamed. Here I had become addicted to a substance that was going to cost my family more money than we could afford just for me to quit it. Ugh. It was there and then I decided to give the patch, at a $30 per month cost, another try.

And here I am 5 years later to the day.

I see people smoking now and I feel so utterly sorry for them. I know how hard it is to quit. I know so very well. Somehow I was able to muster up the strength to resist those slender white mothers. I hope they can find the strength one day too.

And now? I don’t have to worry about buying them anymore. At 10 pm I’m not driving to the store to buy a pack because I only have 2 cigarettes left. I don’t have to stock up if a storm is coming. I don’t have to make my family pull over on long trips so I can hot box 2 smokes in the span of 4 minutes.

And I really don’t miss them either. But… I will walk through a cloud of smoke if I’m behind some dude smoking a Marlboro. And I inhale deeply and say “aaaaaah.”