HARLEM — It’s really over this time. Yes, I know you’ve heard this from me before. But this time it’s different. For the fourth time in my personal Marlboro Era (1999-2011), I’m a quitter. And it’s going to stay that way.
It’s been a few weeks since I went to my doctor and asked for medication to help quit. So far, just like my three prior serious attempts, things are going well.
I can’t remember the last time I smoked a cigarette, or even really wanted one. I don’t miss the smell of my clothes at the end of the day, or the the smell of my hair, or the insane cost of maintaining such a habit in New York City.
And I’m not gonna lie: it’s nice to at least have the option of a re-wear, because my clothes don’t smell like ashtrays.
But while things are going well, I know there will come a point where I’ll get a bit too confident about my status as a quitter. That’s how I messed up my previous effort, and the rest of them, for that matter.
Things had gone so well that it had been months since my last smoke. And thinking I was done with them, I allowed myself one at the bar, just to be social.
Besides, I had built up enough smoker’s karma that it never seemed difficult to bum a smoke. Problem is, one became two, two became four, and soon I looked and smelled like a chimney in wintertime. And that’s “How I’m kicking my filthy cigarette habit (version 3.0)” met its smoky end.
So I’ve learned an important lesson, one that I hope will turn me into a quitter for good. I can’t ever smoke another cigarette again. Ever. Under any circumstances. No nicotine. No exceptions.
It’s quite the humbling feeling actually, to acknowledge that a substance can have that much of an affect on you. But it my case, it’s the truth, so the sooner I accept it the better.
I know of ex-smokers who can occasionally have one and walk away as much of a quitter as they were before. But I know for sure now that I am not one of those people, nor will I ever me.
And that is what’s going to make it different this time.