Thursday, March 04, 2004

Confessions of an Ex-Smoker

Jilly before she quit smoking.

Jilly, over at Poetry Hut has quit smoking. I think it's something like Day 4 for her. Just yesterday, she mentioned that she'd like to gnaw her head off. Heh. Kinda like a bear in a trap. 

Cassie Lewis, who observes the weather along The Jetty, also quit smoking not long ago. Having been out of country for the past couple of weeks, she hasn't posted much of a reformed smoker's diary, but seems to be enjoying life as a non-smoker.

Jilly after she quit smoking.

Naturally, this has gotten me to thinking of the time I quit smoking. By the time I quit, I was averaging a pack-and-a-half a day. If memory serves, this was 1984 or '85. I was leading music for the folk mass, and noticed that I was losing the high notes in my range. Well, as a tenor who was vain about his impressive high notes, this loss made a distinct impression.

Lent was coming up, and it made sense to give up smoking during the time when it is traditional to give things up.  I told my friend Scott my plan, and he agreed to quit with me. We'd get together every morning, and encourage each other through our mutual withdrawal pangs.

Another thing that helped was the fact that I saved back the money I would have spent on cigarettes.  I set aside around $1.25 a day for each pack I would have bought, ending up with something over fifty dollars at the end of Lent. That money was donated to the church of my choice.

How did I do it, on a day-to-day basis? I drank a lot of water. I did deep breathing exercises. I was moody as hell, and had to work extra hard not to chew off co-workers' heads (let alone my own).

So, take heart, Jilly! There is life on the other side. I've been a reformed smoker for around 20 years, and life never smelled so good!

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