Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Butts

At 9:45 a.m. 15 years ago on this date, I tossed something out the car window – a cigarette butt. I suspected but didn’t know at the time it would be the last one.

After a third session of hypnosis, I was ready to quit 33 years after first picking up a Kent with a Micronite® filter – before the Surgeon General’s warning and back when they were about 30 cents a pack, maybe even less.

I had quit many times before, once for as long as six years, and I still maintain I was not addicted to the nicotine as to the pleasure of having something in my mouth all the time as a necessary diversion from the stress of being me. The act of fishing for the weed and lighting it up would interrupt an already inattentive mind and reset it to attack the next executive mental function.

Obviously, there is nothing good about smoking, and, as with all addicts, there is always a general desire to quit. For me, hypnosis worked permanently on the tobacco as it did temporarily six years later when I lost a lot of weight.

One effect I think is recognizable among substance abusers of all kinds was the occasional dream/nightmare where I am going about the normal course of business and find myself with a half-smoked cigarette in my mouth, without remembering have made the decision to light it up. Failure! Wasted effort! Defeat! But that dream has subsided, replaced by other ones, where I can’t breathe at all!

I still have post-nasal drip, an occasional dry cough, little lung capacity, a substitute addiction for caffeine in the form of soft drinks and chocolate, my highest weight ever, nail-biting and tooth grinding.

Yet look at the money I’ve saved – about $2,500 a year based on the current price of a pack.

Aside from unknowable long-term health benefits, the main value of quitting was the knowledge that I could. Just like when I learned to drive my wife’s stick shift when we were first married and then traded the car in after proving I could.

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