written on the occasion of being quit for three weeks and originally posted on december 10, 2001; it describes my commitment to remind myself every day that i am a nicotine addict who chooses not to smoke, just for today.

three weeks old

2009 January 12

tonight, my quit is three weeks old. that's 21 days. or 504 hours. or 30,240 minutes. or 1,814,400 seconds. hmmm... 1,814,400 seconds; now that seems like a long time. and it is, kind of, but it's also just the first part of a much longer time:

that's my commitment; that every time it becomes today again for me, i will remind myself that i am an addict, admit that i can't control that addiction and commit not to feed it today.


i know; the conventional wisdom is that you never think about never smoking again. forever is too long. forever is forever, for god's sake. nobody can commit to doing or being something for that long.

but i know something that conventional wisdom doesn't take into account; for me, forever only lasts until the day i die. and the day i die will start much the same way today started; the way all the todays for the last 21 have started:

i'll wake up. and before my eyes are even completely open, i will recite my mantra:

i am a nicotine addict.

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

so, today, i choose not to smoke.

that's my commitment; that every time it becomes today again for me, i will remind myself that i am an addict, admit that i can't control that addiction and commit not to feed it today.

i've done this the last 21 times it's become today again for me, and it's become so ingrained already that now i'm even doing it before i get out of bed to go to the bathroom for that 3am pee call.

and i'll continue to do this until the last time it becomes today again for me.

i saw my brother do this with both of his addictions (alcohol and nicotine). he did not take that first drink today for the last ten years of his life, and he did not take that first puff today for the last seven or eight. because he reminded himself every morning that he was an addict. he admitted that he couldn't control his addictions. and he chose not to feed them today.

he was committed.

back when we were kids, bob and i were fiercely competitive; he was two years older than me, and i used to get so pissed off if he ever got to do something that i wasn't also allowed to do... my war cry throughout childhood, adolescence, and beyond was, "if bob can do it, so can i".

now, i'm three years older than bob ever got to be. he died four years and five days ago, at the age of 43. colon cancer. i hope i never again see anything as heartbreaking as what i saw that disease do to him over the last six months of his life.

but i also saw an incredible strength in him during those last six months that i never saw (or never recognized) when we were growing up. looking back now, i wonder if that strength didn't stem, at least in part, from the commitment he made every day for all those years not to feed his addictions...

and i've only got one to worry about.

four weeks ago, as i prepared for my quit day, i remembered bob's last six months, and decided that i would try to emulate his strength to keep this quit.


and i am committed; if bob could do it, so can i!

3 responses leave one →
  1. 2004 October 19
    shayne permalink

    God Bless Your Brother Bob.... I too have a brother with a addiction to drugs which is why this quit is so important to me. I have decided to prove to myself that addiction can and will be overcome. Im 19 days into my quit, i have slipped once but will never again, I have decided to live by the motto too, that each day is a new one, and today i will not smoke.

  2. 2007 April 8
    Masagoes permalink

    I am sorry for your brother. I am sure he ended his suffering knowing that he had sucessfully motivate others like you. Anyway, i have sucessfully quit for exactly three weeks too and it feels damn great. I am going to be a graduate soon so i do not wish to carry this cursed habit to my new stage in life..... I wish all of us a sucessful journey ahead (",)

  3. 2009 January 12

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

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