I grew up in a house where no one smoked. I was never around it. Then I got to high school, got a job and I remember a great friend that was a few years older than I was a pack a day smoker. I thought she was pretty cool and we always had so much fun. She never asked me to smoke, I wasn't even of legal age at the time. I didn't want to...I just remember in the back of my mind thinking it made her look cool the way she told funny stories while puffing on a cigarette. Then one day a friend of my same age and I were messing around and going to go to a billiards place to just sit around and hang out and we thought it would be funny/cool to go get those really long skinny cigarettes super glamorous people in commercials/ads used to use. It felt like just a joke and I had a great time. When it was time to leave I noticed my pack was practically gone. Oh well, right? they are basically like puffing on air.
I went on about my business and then one day a bunch of my friends and I were drinking and some had cigarettes. I thought what the hey, I'll have a couple. That happened several times. just did it at parties, and not much at all. My parents didn't know I smoked for years. I was great at hiding it even for the couple years or so I smoked while living with them.
Anyway, it got to the point where it wasn't just at parties. Id be at work and get upset or annoyed and then go to my car and just have one. Or Id be at home and Id get upset and call one of my best friends and say hey let me come get you and we will smoke since obviously we didnt want to do it where we lived. We would park in a parking lot and smoke a couple cigarettes and gossip or vent, then we would go back to our houses. A pack of cigarettes would literally last me almost a month. They'd get stale and I'd have to throw them away after a couple weeks or so. I refused to call myself a smoker. for at least two to three years. I simply was not one in my mind. Smoking was disgusting and that just was not me.
Then I got a job at a call center. Talk about stressed out. Talk about being around 90% smokers. I would smoke with them on all of my breaks, on my way to and from work. I became, almost overnight, a pack a day smoker. I remember the day I had to admit to myself I was a smoker. I was in a doctors office for some reason or other and like always they ask if you are a smoker and I just stared at her for what felt like minutes and finally said "yes" in a childlike ashamed voice. And then it just hit me.... I was a smoker. for years I smoked about a pack a day. And not that light stuff people seem to smoke. My poison was Camel Menthol Wides...and not Camel Menthol Wide Lights.... the full blown dark green package.
People would pressure me all the time to stop. Ask me when I plan on stopping. That I need to quit. "Aren't you worried about your health, Rachael?" ..."What about your future?" ...."Smoking makes everything you own stink" ..."You are too pretty to smoke". I loathed hearing all of these things. It was none of their business and not their place to tell me what I should do. and besides, I enjoyed it. And I would tell them that. I liked it and I would never quit. I couldn't even imagine my life without a pack of cigarettes on hand and hopefully a backup one just in case. Anytime I tried to envision any kind of a future that didn't include my cigarettes it would make me feel very uneasy and unhappy. I never planned on becoming a smoker.....but once I was I never planned on not being one.
Then on August 1st I started jogging again. I did it in junior high, high school, and for a couple years after high school. It was always a huge stress relief for me, and unlike most everyone else I enjoy it. I started jogging again because I was having anxiety attacks and I was told by my doctor to find something that I enjoyed that relieved stress for me. And all that came to mind was jogging. so I did that for a good two months and felt great. It really relieved a lot of my stress and anxiety. Still, though, I was able to do it and still be a smoker...so I had no intention of quitting. Then one day in the beginning of October I realized just how much I was getting into this jogging thing again. It no longer was only about relieving stress I was starting to feel pride any time I went further or improved my pace. I was getting a high from it. I was becoming obsessed. I was becoming proud. Then it hit me one day after a run, I have to quit smoking to be better...to be the best I can be at this because I love it. It wasn't a slow realization or a slow acceptance. I just suddenly knew I had to stop and that I had no other choice because I loved running more than I loved those cigarettes.
Smoking has been a huge part of my life and as stupid and weird as it may sound I always saw it as a friend. Like a really best friend. The kind that no matter in the world happens or what awful thing you may have done would always be there...not judging. Just there to comfort and "listen". Thats how I viewed it and thats why I would always tell everyone I would never give it up. So I gave myself the rest of the month of October to tell that "good friend" my good byes.
Everyone has been behind me 100% except the one person who has been trying to get me to quit smoking for almost a year. I made a post about them the other day when I was bawling, googling, desperate, and stumbled upon this site. They have quit multiple times. All on Chantix. They would last a few weeks then ask me for a cigarette. Go another few weeks...ask me for a cigarette. Sometimes they'd even go over a month without relapsing. I told them in the beginning of October I was going to quit and he was excited. I told him I was quitting cold turkey (the only way I would ever have wanted to quit if I ever came to that point) and he was so against it. During the month of october he would tell me how I wasn't going to make it and that I was setting myself up for failure. That I needed Chantix. it was funny during October while I was still smoking and we joked about it. He made a bet I couldn't even go 21 days without relapsing...but that if I did he'd buy my lunch at work. He's the only one who still believes that Im setting myself up for failure by telling my family/friends on Facebook that I never see and sharing this journey with them. He is a really really really good friend of mine and it makes me sad that he isn't behind me 100% on this like everyone else is.
I know I can do this, because when I say I am going to do something...I do it. No matter what. No matter what I have to do. Finding this place was such a godsend. Most of my friends are either smokers or non smokers...so none of them truly know how I feel and what is happening to me. He was the only one who could and he's not the most supportive, so finding a community of supportive people who are going or have gone through the same things is going to help me so much, I already know it.