Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday, Halleluiah.

I have only worked two days so far this week, but I am beat!  I have a ton of work to get done today, and then I will have a weekend.  The weekend is so full it is kind of scary.  No time for naps!  But I have a date with the fella tonight and I am happy about that, and I will get to see the little baby on Saturday and Sunday and I am happy about that.

I have an anniversary coming up and I can't believe I don't know the date.  I quit smoking sometime in November or December of 1991.  It is hard to believe that I didn't make more of a mental note of the date.  It was a momentous change in my life.  It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  I was a heavy smoker - for a long time - and I even loved it.  I was ready to quit drinking, but I was not even ready to quit smoking.  I didn't even want to!  I did it to support a friend (who didn't quit).  Now twenty years later, it still astounds me that I have never had a cigarette in all that time.

But after those first days of withdrawal, I have always "thought it through" like I learned to do with the thought of a drink.  Sure, I would like that first puff, but I would not enjoy standing outside in the rain and snow, always bitching about it.  I would not enjoy the cigarette I needed in the middle of the night.  I would not enjoy the shortness of breath.  I would not enjoy that raspiness in my voice and the cough that was always present.  I would not enjoy the ever increasingly severe cases of bronchitis that I was getting.  And then there are all the things I do enjoy that would be over if I were to smoke again, like marathons and triathlons, etc.

On the day my daughters were born, I spent a moment with each of them alone and promised them I would not leave them.  It turns out I didn't exactly keep that promise, but I did try.  My mother died when I was 19 and living without a mother is a desolate thing.  I did not want to do that to my daughters.  I am positive this promise has been involved in many of the paths I have chosen.   I knew I would not live long, or even want to, if I continued to drink.  I knew I was ruining my health smoking 2 packs a day.  I knew that weighing over 200 lbs. was not going to help my longevity.  Today, all of those things are in my past, and I say Thanks Be To God.

I do wish I remembered the date I quit smoking though.  I know the year before I quit on November 11.  I know I started smoking again in late May and thought I would never quit again.  I know it was before my 40th birthday that I quit.  But I don't remember whether it was November or December.  Maybe it was even October.  I don't know.  But I know that I have been a non-smoker since 1991 and I am very grateful for that.

I am also grateful that I had cigarettes to lean on in my early years of sobriety.  I don't think I could have gotten sober if I thought I had to go "all pure" at once.  But I sure am happy to be now.  The grace of God is a wonderous thing.



Lou said...

Funny you should write this. The new thinking in rehabilitation and recovery circles is that continued smoking is not "real" recovery.

Myself, I would take a Marlboro over a fifth of Smirnoff or a dime bag of crack any day.

dAAve said...

Cheers! Mary.

Anonymous said...

My sponsor was one of those teetotalers who gave up alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and even Listerine the same day she quit drinking.

I'm still resisting the idea of never eating fish cooked in white wine and butter again. My sponsor says she "respects the disease," while I look at her sideways and raise my eyebrows. For now, I'm acquiescing out of desire to prove to her that i am willing to do whatever it takes. But, in the long term, I'm of the opinion that its probably okay if we each set our own acceptable levels of what counts as "real" recovery.

Then again, I only have 9 months. Maybe I should just shut my mouth. :)

Mary Christine said...

Let me be quick to add that I absolutely gave up alcohol in any form on July 24, 1984. I don't cook with it, I don't eat food cooked with it. I don't purchase mouthwash with it. Etc.

But smoking isn't alcohol. And a rehab that wants you to quit everything is more interested in marketing than recovery.

Syd said...

Glad that you quit. You have done so much to change your life.