quitting for health reasons
the last lesson in module 2 (of the american lung association's freedom from smoking program online) asked us to post about why health reasons weren't sufficient to motivate us to quit smoking already - in my case, i guess they never seemed "real" to me until now. even though i watched my father struggle with smoking almost until the day he died of cancer, it still wasn't happening to *me*...
i remember thinking, "what an idiot! he can't even breathe on his own any more, and yet he continues to smoke!" (the irony of my thinking this as i stood there smoking was lost on me at the time...)
reading that back, it sounds awfully cold, but it's true; until i found out last week that i have emphysema, it wasn't real for me, because it wasn't happening to me personally.
and even though knowing i have emphysema scares the hell out of me, and the last couple of weeks have been a nightmare (between the emphysema and the asthmatic bronchitis, there have been times when i couldn't take even the shallowest breath without starting to choke; that's scary as hell), there's still a little voice inside me saying, "hey, lots of people live with emphysema; maybe if you just cut down on your smoking, you'll be O.K."
of course, my rational side realizes that this is just a cop-out (a way to avoid the pain of withdrawal by continuing to let this addiction control my life), so i continue to try and think of (and write down) as many reasons as i can that appeal to the emotional side of me (i.e.; reasons that appeal to my little voice); things it can understand, like "if i quit smoking, i'll be more attractive to women", or "if i quit smoking, i won't be a social outcast any more", etc.
it's almost funny; when i was a freshman in college, i had a friend whose father had an advanced case of emphysema (he had to carry a tank of oxygen with him everywhere he went). the first time i met this friend's father was when he came to campus to see his son's guitar recital, and during intermission, i was astounded to see the father come out to the lobby with the rest of us smokers, turn off his oxygen, and light up! i clearly remember thinking, "what an idiot! he can't even breathe on his own any more, and yet he continues to smoke!" (i guess the irony of my thinking this as i stood there smoking was lost on me at the time; now the shoe's on the other foot and i'm starting to get it...)