written on the occasion of reaching nine months of freedom from smoking and originally posted on august 19, 2002; in this tale, i make an analogy between having a baby and successfully staying quit.

having a baby

2009 February 16

not really, although there do appear to be some similarities - along with the obvious differences - between being nine months quit and having a baby...

as long as you choose not to smoke today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

one similarity that's become increasingly obvious over the last couple of months is that i'm not really immune to the "quit smoking/gain weight" thing like i thought i was (i'd guess i've packed on about 25 pounds since i quit, and several people - no doubt with the best of intentions - have told me i look pregnant lately); it looks like i'm going to have to actually start exercising after all...

one obvious difference is that, in a real pregnancy, the labor pains come at the end, while in a nine-month quit, you get the labor pains out of the way up front (especially during the first few days, which to me were each at least a week long, and a hell week, at that).

but both change you in ways both subtle and profound, and both give you something incredibly precious to be nurtured, cherished and protected...

i've never had a baby (and chances are pretty slim that i ever will...), but i'm here to tell you that there is nothing like the feeling of freedom you experience as an ex-smoker. people who never smoked will never get this, any more than nicotine addicts who continue to feed their addiction will; it's like joni mitchell said in "big yellow taxi":

"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone?"

and that cuts both ways; you never really appreciate your freedom until you lose it, and you never really comprehend the full horror of slavery to an addiction until you're free from it. because as long as you're free, you'll take your freedom for granted, and as long as you continue to keep yourself locked in the prison of slavery to your addiction, you can never admit to yourself how horrible and degrading it is, or else you'll be forced to do something about it.

the good news is, you can do something about it, and you can do something about it today:

today, you can choose life!

today, you can choose health!

today, you can choose strength!

today, you can choose self-control!

today, you can choose freedom!

today, you can choose NOT to smoke!

and as long as you choose not to smoke today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

promise.

kevin - grateful to be in my 274th day of freedom! (nine months quit today!)

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4 responses leave one →
  1. 2003 October 1
    Brenda permalink

    I had my nine month anniversary on September 16, 2003. I thought of the same thing....of having a baby. It is like having a baby. It is creating a new life, cell by cell. It is restructuring your entire life. Nine months is significant because you realize that an entire new person could have grown in the same time period. This is certainly the case for me....I feel like a new person....like a renovated historical home with "many updates." I am an exciting new environment all by myself. Life is wonderful.

  2. 2009 February 16

    note: the comment above was left on the original tale at the date and time indicated.

  3. 2009 October 31
    Cindy permalink

    I enjoy your tales so much..They have helped me through my quit..I am having breathing difficulties after getting h1n1..Did quitting help you with your copd?

  4. 2009 October 31

    thanks, cindy, glad you've found them helpful. and yes, quitting helped a lot; after a very short time, i was able to breathe much easier, and, after a year or two, my lung capacity had returned to about normal for someone my size and age.

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