written on the occasion of being four months free of cigarettes and originally posted on march 19, 2002; in it, i talk about how repeated conscious choice made me an addict, and how repeated conscious choice set me free.

four month ramble

2009 February 10

from dictionary.com:

an·ni·ver·sa·ry (n.) - The annually recurring date of a past event, especially one of historical, national, or personal importance. From the Latin "annus" (year) and "versarius" (returning).

it's always bothered me a bit when people say things like "our three-week anniversary" or "my two-month anniversary" (as many people do); since "anniversary" refers to something that recurs yearly, it's never made sense to me to apply it to units of time measurement of less than a year.

so, i substituted the Latin root "luna" (moon) for "anni" to make:

lu·na·ver·sa·ry (n.) - The monthly recurring date of a past event, especially one of historical, national, or personal importance. From the Latin "luna" (moon) and "versarius" (returning).

yesterday marked my fourth lunaversary; four full months of freedom from feeding my addiction to nicotine. if you had told me in early november of 2001 that i could quit smoking for four days, let alone four months, i would've told you that you were nuts. i wouldn't have believed it; i'd spent way too much time (over thirty years) feeding my addiction and convincing myself that i didn't have a choice.

now i understand that i always had a choice.

when i was ten years old, i could've chosen to listen to my body when it screamed, "are you crazy?!?!? what the hell are you sucking in that poison for?!?!?", but i chose instead to be "cool". i chose to poison myself to gain external validation. and i chose it repeatedly, until my body stopped protesting so loudly.

i chose it repeatedly until i was an addict.

when i was 25, i could've chosen to maintain a quit that had lasted over three years already, but i chose instead to throw that quit away because i was under a lot of stress. i thought that "just this one" would help me deal with that stress more effectively. but "just this one" led to the next one and the next and, in a couple of days, led me back to a pack-a-day habit, just as if i'd never quit. but i thought that, when my life calmed down a bit, i'd just stop again.

my life never really calmed down all that much, and i continued to feed my addiction for another twenty years.

during that twenty years, i watched my mother develop asthma, then copd (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and finally, congestive heart failure, all from smoking.

i continued to choose to feed my addiction anyway.

i watched my father battle cancer, have half a lung removed, then have the cancer come back as stomach cancer and finally kill him six weeks shy of his sixty-fourth birthday.

i continued to choose to feed my addiction anyway.

i watched my brother battle cancer until he died at the age of 43.

i continued to choose to feed my addiction anyway.

i continued to choose to feed my addiction until i gave myself an advanced case of emphysema, and my doctor said, "quit smoking now, or die a slow, horrible death, fighting for your next breath until you finally lose the fight" - that was my wake-up call. it came on november 12th, 2001. on november 19th, i started to make a different choice:

i started choosing life.

on the morning of november 19th, i woke up and recited my "mantra" for the first time:

i am a nicotine addict.

i cannot afford to feed that addiction; not even one time.

so, today, i choose not to smoke.

when i went to bed that night, i congratulated myself for having stuck by that choice that day. the next morning, i recited my mantra again, and the next night was able to congratulate myself for sticking by my choice again.

this morning, i recited my mantra for the 122nd time.

in a little while, i'll congratulate myself for the 122nd for sticking by the choice i made this morning.

it's all about choice.

choose life!

kevin - grateful to be in my 122nd day of freedom today!

3 responses leave one →
  1. 2004 July 18
    Fantashia permalink

    I have now passed my 4 month mark. I never thought I could have ever quit smoking. I wish I would have found this web site sooner because when I quit smoking I thought I was losing my mind. This site helps me sort thru what's happening to me and why it is happening. The stories are great because I can see me in a lot of them. The way you feel and so on. Now my husband has decided to quit and I am now reading him stories from this site and trying to help him cope. It's nice to know that someone out there is willing to help others thru there own personal hells when they decide to stop smoking.

  2. 2004 November 19
    Jacque Totaro permalink

    Today is 120 days of being smoke-free. I can't believe it is actually 4 months for me. Thank you Kevein for all the incentive you've given me, and everyone else at Wolfmang!!!

  3. 2009 February 10

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

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  1. 88 months today (what is that in dog years?)

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