This Happened Yesterday

I just got off the phone with a friend whom I trust completely.  We were discussing the bad habit I picked up when the ex left years ago.  Her angels told her to talk with me about it today, although we have talked many times beforehand about it.  My initial response when she asked if I had given any more thought to quitting was to groan as I didn’t want to think about it again.  I knew she was right in her thinking and bringing the subject up, but I didn’t want to deal with it.  Haven’t I been through enough pain?  And surely quitting smoking would be painful.

There, I’ve outed myself.  My dirty little secret for which I am ashamed.  I didn’t smoke for over 20 years until the ex left me and as a convoluted fuck you, I picked up that first cigarette and inhaled and that was all she wrote.  I was back smoking again even after not having had one in over 2 decades.  It was a stupid response to my overwhelming grief and pain.

The cigarette numbed the pain and was a substitution for my voicing how I was feeling to the ex.  It was, in all honesty, like drinking poison and hoping he felt the pain.  But it doesn’t work that way.  In a twisted way, I was showing him how hurt I was by his betrayal, but it wasn’t hurting him at all.  It was only hurting me.  It gave me an addiction which embedded itself in my psyche and grew stronger with each inhalation.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say.  I know you’ve heard that before now.  I read this quote:  Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards by Soren Kierkegaard.  How appropriate for me today as I step into my next healthy chapter and let go of the addiction which has held me spellbound for longer than I’d like to admit here out in the open and for reasons which to the healthy mind are ridiculous because it is inviting cancer into a body which has already dealt with enough pain.

I feel empowered after talking with my friend.  I feel emotional and a little frightened to declare that as of today, I am no longer a smoker.  It’s been my crutch, my strength (I know that sounds silly but my warped mind declared it).  It’s been my fuck you, my friend, my time out, my help when I needed to gear up for something scary and my gift to me as a prize after I did something that was hard.  It has been my disgraceful secret, my shameful flogging of my already beat up self-esteem and broken inner child.  It’s been my carelessness about my own self health.  It’s been a twisted way in which I didn’t care what happened to me because the ex left and my self-esteem was so wrapped up in my role of being his wife and mom to our kids.  It was the product of my failure and the blame I felt for the failure of my marriage and subsequent divorce.  I couldn’t be enough of who the ex wanted me to be for him to stay – which wasn’t true at all in hindsight, but with a battered self-esteem childhood issue, it made sense to me at the time.  I didn’t blame him.  I blamed myself for not being enough and in that unhealthy state, I would have done almost anything to keep our marriage afloat even though I had already lost sight of myself.

I’ve cried quite a bit in the last hour as I wrote this down.  A release of grief streams out of my head, heart, mind and body.  Wracked with tears, I’ve been rocking on the couch while writing this post.  I’m not really good at self-discipline so this may be trying at times.  While I wish there were a magic wand to simply wave away the deprivation which will come as I navigate the pangs for nicotine which may come my way, I will cold turkey the addiction.

As my trusted friend suggested, here are the three new rules in my life:  1. Don’t light another cigarette.  2. Change the channel when the urge hits.  3. Refer back to rule 1 and don’t ever have another one.

Sounds simple, right?  I didn’t expect to be quitting today.  It wasn’t even on my radar, but it’s been in the back of my head for awhile now.  I quit a few months ago for a week, only to hear bad news and picked up another cigarette in response to it.  I thought it would help me deal the pain.  All it did was put me back to square one after having gone through a week’s worth of withdrawal.

My blog is embracing life’s changes and I write from an honest place.  I’m tired of being tied to an unhealthy, expensive, disgraceful habit.  I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true.  I need to break the habit.  I began it initially to numb the pain and I figured it was better than drinking alcohol because I would be able to manage myself easier.  Drinking only hinders driving (in case the kids needed me) and also my inhibitions to say what I was thinking to the kids about the divorce situation would only hurt them and me.  I thought I was choosing the lesser evil.  I’m a lightweight so if I were to drink then I might not keep control over what I said, nor remember what I revealed in an inebriated state.  Stupid girl that I was.  But no more.  I am tired of feeling like a bad example to my kids and yes, they found out that I was smoking because the smell gave me away.

I have been through hell and back and I have inner strength that has nothing to do with smoking.  I’ve gotten this far in spite of the smoking and not because of the numbing out feeling it gave me.  Perhaps I would have healed more quickly if I hadn’t turned to cigarettes, but what is done is done.  I need to let go and move on with my life.

Maybe my story, my honesty will help someone else who reads this post.  Maybe my mistakes and the learning I’ve experienced will inspire someone else who is in a similar position.  At least that’s my hope since I’m coming out to declare it.

And yes, it is a big deal to me.  I’m sure to some people this may sound like a whiny post, but the reality is that it’s very real to me.  It’s a huge step in clearing the clutter from my life so that I can move on.  I saw that eHarmony was offering 50% off membership until today but I have shied away from putting myself out there on online dating sites because I smoke and you can’t hide it.  No matter how many showers, breath mints or mouthwashes, it’s there insidiously, smelly and dirty.  I don’t want a smoker in my life and I don’t want to be known as a smoker, especially when it comes to potential dates.

I am not a smoker.  I am a woman who has dealt with painful experiences and losses enough for a lifetime.  Smoking no longer defines me.  Health defines me.  I can’t change the effects that are here from previous smoking, but I can choose to heal my body starting now.

And that’s my choice and I’m sticking with it.

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25 Responses to This Happened Yesterday

  1. Good for you!! You can do this!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Very brave and revealing post (although, you’re always good at truly showing your wonderful self!)… though how it happened was frustrating, if it pushes to you to change something you need/want to change, then it’s good. Good luck. I believe in you. Push yourself, you are strong… really, everything you’ve shown in the last 6 months since we’ve met shows that potential!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mischenko says:

    Janie, you’re a strong person and can do this! ❤ Good for you! I know it won’t be easy, but know you’re not alone. I’m praying for you and will keep you in my thoughts. 😊😗

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kim Smyth says:

    As a former smoker and now vaper, I can say that is what helped me quit but only if you want to substitute one habit for another. I don’t vape nearly as much as I smoked, yet the day I switched from smoking to vaping, I never touched another cigarette. Now and then I vape CBD oil, this is very beneficial to my body and may help you overcome your addiction. It also helps with anxiety and sleep. Check out my blog sometime and read what I’ve written on CBD and the benefits, or do your own research. It can also be taken many other ways if you don’t want to start vaping. Totally up to you. Either way, you got this girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t be so hard on yourself Janie, smoking was a crutch, personally I don’t believe that you need that crutch anymore because you are level headed and you have us lot around you. Lean on us when you feel temptation (omg) I feel a poem coming on me now lol. It’s true, lots of people on dating sites are put off by smokers and your too precious to your children to risk harming your health.

    We love you Janie 💕💕🌹👍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bone&silver says:

    Yes, my response to this post was to write ‘I love you Janie’. I’ve never met you, but the honesty and old shame in this writing brought tears to my eyes; I salute you for bringing your shame and wounds out into the light. We can all help you salve those scars, and reflect back to you your courage, your awesomeness, and your generosity for sharing it all with us. You CAN do this. You’re naming all the toxic reasons why you’ve been smoking, and times will change for you (& your children). Nicotine is an incredibly pervasive chemical, so don’t underestimate the battle you are fighting, and will always fight: my Dad didn’t smoke for 25 years before his death, but still had the odd twinge in stressful times. YOU CAN DO IT! Drink lots of water, and eat lots of oranges (vitamin C to help detox). An amzing post, I’m so grateful I read it, and could be so touched by you. Much love and support, G xOO

    Like

  7. Congratulations on your decision to quit!
    As a former smoker, I can tell you the road to quitting was not easy for me.
    I hope yours is. You can do it! Deciding to quit is a great first step and knowing you won’t smoke again is empowering.
    I’m rooting and praying for you!

    Like

  8. This is a brave and vulnerable post. I don’t think you should beat yourself up about a habit that is designed to make you want more. Be brave and I wish you luck.

    Like

  9. SDC says:

    I smoked for 20 years and gave it up last year when my mom got sick. It was a wake up call. Can’t say I’m over thinking about it just yet but my point is…the only way to get through it is to latch on to the big picture priorities. And live them every single minute. Keep going! You’re doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

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