I love quitting. Quitting is my favorite.
This post represents a sponsored editorial partnership with the American Cancer Society. All stories and opinions are my own.
I started smoking cigarettes in high school. I didn’t make a lot of bad choices in high school, as I was generally too busy studying the bible, but the bad choice to start smoking initiated a ten year struggle with cigarettes. I asked a friend for a cigarette and rode my bike to the back of the Christian bookstore where I knew no one would find me. I was by myself with that stale first cigarette and a box of matches. It was terrible. My heart beat out of my chest. My first cigarette was certainly not my last. Even though it was horrible. Even though I was terrified of getting caught.
By my senior year, I was ready to quit. My parents bought me a car that year, so I named it Ruth after my grandmother who had died of lung cancer. I thought that naming the car after her would remind me to never smoke in the car and it would help me quit. It worked. Temporarily.
Once in college, I started smoking clove cigarettes. My friend, Corey, convinced me that they don’t count. Corey and I mastered mutual justification. I just made up that phrase, but can’t think of any better way to describe our friendship. We smoked a lot of cloves. We justified a lot of big ideas. We eventually justified switching from cloves back to cigarettes. Justifying that switch wasn’t so hard once we realized that our justification for cloves wasn’t so solid. As most big justifications go at age 19.
While we talked about religion, poetry, philosophy, and music, we smoked. That’s what kept me smoking. I had come to crave the community of smokers who showed up outside every building. We talked, but not too long. We always ended up digging in to the hard questions, but only for five to seven minutes.
In my late 20s, my wife and I decided to we were ready to start a family. For the lesbians, this means start saving money because things are about to get really expensive. I also needed to get my body as healthy as I could. Less late night drinking, some exercise, and I definitely had to quit smoking.
My wife had tried to quit over and over while we were together. She has asthma and it doesn’t go very well with smoking all the cigarettes. Who knew? Oh, right, everyone did. Because I refused to quit, she struggled. Once I was ready, we quit together. Together, it wasn’t as hard. Together, we supported each other. Together, we quit. For good this time.
It wasn’t until after we quit that I realized that all I associated with smoking didn’t go anywhere. My friends were still my friends. Philosophy and religion were still my favorite conversation topics. It wasn’t that smoking made us talk about all the things, it was that being together made that happen. Quitting made us better.
Join the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 20th and win your life back.
Check out the Quit for Life Facebook page, call GASO 800-227-2345, and the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smoking to help you get started.
“Quit together. Win together.” For real.
This post is a part of the Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society, all opinions and stories are still my own. Just like they were at the beginning of this post. And always and forever.