written on the occasion of being eleven months free from smoking (and originally posted on october 19, 2002); this tale reaffirms that taking your freedom back from your addiction is all about repeated conscious choice; "luck" has nothing to do with it.

“lucky” eleven

2009 February 20

early on in my quit (on day 13, actually; talk about lucky...), i ran into one of my still-smoking friends; it was intermission at a concert i was recording, and she asked if i was going out for a smoke. i told her i'd quit smoking, and she said she "wasn't that lucky yet" (or words to that effect).

if you decide to quit smoking and some time later you find yourself with a lit cigarette in your mouth, it won’t be because of bad luck; it will be because you made a bad choice.

i remember wondering if she thought i'd won the "addict's lottery" and been magically released from slavery to my addiction - i wondered, "where do they sell tickets for this lottery?" and "does she buy a ticket every week, hoping she'll get lucky enough to win and be effortlessly released from slavery to her addiction?"

over the past eleven months, i've seen many people come onto this (or another quit-related) site and make their first posts, and a significant percentage will inevitably say something like, "i'm quitting tomorrow (or whenever); wish me luck!"...

i always want to tell them that luck has absolutely nothing to do with it.

when you wish someone luck, it implies that there's an element of chance involved in what they're doing. but if someone decides to quit smoking, and sometime later, they find themselves with a lit cigarette in their mouth, that wasn't bad luck; it was a bad choice.

quitting smoking is not a game of chance. it's a series of choices.

aristotle said, "we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, then, is not an act but a habit". you could substitute "choose" for "do", and say, "we are what we repeatedly choose" - if we repeatedly choose to smoke, we are smokers; if we repeatedly choose not to smoke, we are non-smokers.

every time we feel an urge to smoke, we're given the opportunity to choose; one choice leads to freedom, the other to slavery.

one choice leads to life, the other to death.

choose life.

kevin - grateful to be in my 336th day of freedom!

2 responses leave one →
  1. 2006 May 29
    Barbara K. permalink

    I feel as a veteran ex-smoker I have complete different outlook than smokers. A different language almost when it comes to quitting.

  2. 2009 February 20

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

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