written on the occasion of completing my fifth month of freedom from smoking and originally posted on april 19, 2002, this piece talks about why i am qualified to talk about how to successfully quit smoking, and stay quit long-term.

five month ramble

2009 February 11

five months ago this morning, i made the first of many posts i made on my day one. it was the following:

yesterday, i chose to be a slave to a disgusting, filthy, self-destructive addiction.

today, i choose freedom!

yesterday, i chose to be controlled by that addiction.

today, i choose self-control!

yesterday, i chose disease and sickness, because it was easier to remain a slave to my addiction than it was to break free.

today, i choose health!

yesterday, i chose weakness, because if i was too weak to break the chains of my addiction, no one could blame me for remaining bound.

today, i choose strength!

yesterday, i chose to suck multiple poisonous substances into my already severely damaged lungs because i "needed" one of those poisons to feed my addiction.

today, i choose not to smoke!

yesterday, i chose death.

today, i choose life!

on day one, i found it so important to own the choices i made; i still do. this morning, for the 152nd time, i wrote out an abbreviated version of the above post in my quit journal; it's been my daily affirmation for the last five months. every morning, i renew my choice not to feed my addiction to nicotine today.

because it's all about choice.

if you're smoking today, it's because you've chosen to smoke today. if you're a recovering nicotine addict, like me, and you're not smoking today, it's because you've chosen not to smoke today. it's that simple.

and that hard.

imagine a man, 46 years old, who started smoking as a child of ten.

imagine a man who grew up smoking and tried to quit countless times (and succeeded on several occasions; once for as long as three years).

imagine a man who watched his mother develop asthma, copd, and eventually congestive heart failure from smoking, but continued to smoke.

imagine a man who watched his father die of cancer, but still couldn't find the strength to quit smoking.

imagine a man who stood vigil with his 43-year-old brother, watching him waste away and die from cancer, but kept smoking.

imagine a man who finally gave himself an advanced case of emphysema by choosing, of his own free will, dozens of times every day, for decades, to feed his addiction to nicotine.

imagine this man finally choosing not to feed that addiction any more, and going through a profound personal hell in his fight to overcome his demons.

do you think that man might be qualified to tell you something about smoking? about how to quit?

i do.

because that man is me, and this morning, just like every morning for the last five months, i woke up and made a conscious choice not to smoke today. and if, by the grace of god, i'm fortunate enough to wake up again tomorrow, i intend to make that same choice again.

want to know how to quit, and stay quit?

choose life.

every day.

kevin - grateful to be in my 152nd day of freedom!

3 responses leave one →
  1. 2004 April 12
    Fightn4life permalink

    So intence, your passion...I can feel it. I can feed from your example and relate to the daily choice I continue to make not to smoke.

    When I finaly understood it was my choice...my quit, and my life the journey began.

    I am over five months into my quit and every day I still have to make that choice not to smoke.

    Being an addict is a life time of watching and listening for the Demon to rear it's ugly head and speak nothing but lies. I watch careful knowing I am only a puff away from a pack or more a day.

    I will win this battle one day at a time, one crave at a time, one deep breath at a time. Just as you are doing.


  2. 2004 May 20
    Marvel permalink

    I've been having some hard days here lately and wondering what's wrong with me. After all, I quit smoking 7 months ago tomorrow. Life should be easy and going well by now. I have to remind myself that I don't get over a 23-year habit in 7 months. And I thank you Kevin for all your "tales" and for all the work you put into saving us from our addiction. It helped me a lot to read that you make an affirmation to yourself every day. I still light candles to commemorate each month and week and I have to remember to be patient and I have to learn how to live without this addiction. Thanks for letting me rant. It seems like I've been sitting on Pandora's box for 23 years and when I quit I stood up and let all the emotional demons out. Whew! I'm still taking deep breaths and I'm so thankful there are people out there like you who are just there--you are so needed and so appreciated.

  3. 2009 February 11

    note: the comments above were left on the original tale at the date and time indicated.

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