Kicking the smoking habit
I started smoking when I was 21-years-old to be cool. Those were the days when I was a self-proclaimed film buff and I thought that smoking was glamorous, like in the old black and white movies. I was Bette Davis warning my crew about how it was going to be a bumpy evening.
When I was 28 I quit. January 4, 2008. I did it cold-turkey and remained smoke-free up until this January where I let curiosity get the best of me and lit up a cigarette at a pool party in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was almost impossible not to smoke there, and South Americans make it look so cool. In Canada smokers look sickly, and they probably are.
The reason I quit smoking was entirely for health. When I turned 27 I took up running as a hobby and I found it increasingly difficult to build my endurance. When I went to the doctor to complain about the tightening around my chest she asked me if I smoked, and I sheepishly copped up to wasting her precious time.
In the past ten months I have had 55 cigarettes. I know this because I have counted each one and made a note in my online journal. I’m not sure what compelled me to regress. Maybe I’ve been stressed, or unhappy. I know that I have to stop again. I know that I have the will power and that I will succeed.
Listen, nothing is worse for you than smoking. Even in moderation it is a terrible abuse to your body. It’s not a joke that by lighting up a cigarette and sticking the butt into your wrinkled mouth that you’re in fact slowly killing yourself. It’s an insane act and one that none of us can sanely articulate the reasons as to why we do it.
It takes me back to an earlier post that I wrote about how so many men in the gay community proclaim to work out for the sake of health. Yet I see them at the clubs smoking profusely and dabbling here and there with drugs. Their choice to have an appealing physique has nothing to do with health. It’s really about vanity. The only problem is that they don’t know how transparent their lies are to those they’re trying to convince.
But I’m no better. I know that one cigarette can lead to 55. I’m living proof. I can’t run on a treadmill and convince even myself that I’m doing it for health if I then go outside and take a drag from a carcinogenic cigarette. It’s delusional to believe that I’m doing my body any good through cardiovascular exercise when it’s burdensome to breathe due to my unhealthy habit.
But how many of us don’t even ask these questions of ourselves? How many of us just make excuses and go about our days justifying our dubious choices?
In my advancing years I’ve come to understand that I have to take responsibility and accountability for my decisions, good and bad, and work on self-improvement. I definitely disappoint myself from time to time, but I’m learning not to beat myself up over it. I don’t want to feel shame, but I’m also refusing to wallow in a pool of helplessness either.
I’m not proud that I started smoking again, but I’m going to stop. My heart will thank me. And that’s all that matters.
Now I think it’s time for a cigarette!