I admit to watching too much TV. It’s on in our study and I kinda listen to the “white noise” it churns out.
But a recurring set of commercials makes me think back to one of my most glorious victories. They are the commercials that pitch methods for people to use to quit smoking. Chantix, Nicoderm, other prescription drugs . . . you name it. Folks get on the air and give these glowing testimonials to all those aids they use to quit smoking.
I once was a relentless smoker. I lit up about two packs of cigarettes daily. At today’s prices, I would burn through about $15 each day, pun intended.
Then in early February 1980, I got sick. I came down with a cold. Raspy throat, snotty nose, cough. It all hit me.
I reached for a pack of smokes. I lit one of ’em and then took a drag off the cigarette. The smoke reached about halfway down my throat. Then I started coughing, hacking. I damn near puked!
I snuffed the cigarette out. I then grabbed the pack from which I took it, crumpled it up and tossed it into the trash can. My thought at the time as I remember it was: What in the hell am I doing to myself?
That was on Feb. 2, 1980. Nearly 39 years ago! I quit cold turkey. I required no prescription drugs. No nicotine-flavored chewing gum. No patches behind my ear or on my upper arm.
I mention this as a “life experience” entry on this blog, because I want to declare that if I can quit a nasty habit that I actually enjoyed while I was in its grasp, then anyone can do it. I was hooked, man!
I began smoking when I was around 15. I quit smoking just a few weeks after my 30th birthday. Therefore, I had smoked cigarettes for roughly half my life when I decided in the moment that I was done with it.
I have become a fairly militant anti-smoker in the years since then. I used to refer to myself as a “former smoker.” Now it’s “non-smoker.” I’ve been known to declare my non-smoker status with some emphasis.
I mention all this because of those TV spots that offer up all kinds of expensive remedies to rid yourself of a habit that can kill you. Yes, I know we all aren’t wired the same. Some folks need help to do the obvious. I thought I did, too.
Then I choked on the smoke and called it quits. Even after all these years, it remains one of my proudest personal triumphs.