Something to brag about. I’ve (Mitch) been smoking for over 25 years and I really enjoy a good smoke, but for years I have struggled with the thought of quitting and how difficult it would be. I always made excuses as to when and how I was going to quit and I had it in my head for a long time. I have tried Chantix a couple years ago and that medication combined with my miserable job at the prison, made it a very difficult time to attempt to quit, and so it was another failed attempt. But I must say that this entire traveling adventure has been a life change for me and now that this dream was near its end, it was time that I did it for me and not for anyone else.
I had always thought that I am an “all or none” kind of person, meaning that I could not just cut down on smoking or have just one beer or one glass of wine. If I was going to smoke then I was going to smoke as much as I wanted and when I wanted, and the same concept applied to my drinking much of the time. I had a tough time stopping at one, and coming from an alcoholic family, that has been a struggle all its own.
When we got back to Spokane I thought that this might be my opportunity to try and quit smoking once again for the simple fact that it would be easier for me to quit in an environment that was unfamiliar with me. So I rationalized each thing that would be unfamiliar such as a possible new job, a new location, a gym membership, and a diet plan, all those reasons combined made it the perfect opportunity for me to make another attempt. Not to mention multiple obvious other reasons such as the health risk, my Daughter now smokes, my Son at 17 has started to experience it on occasion, the cost, the smell, the yellow teeth, having to wash my hands after every smoke, my wife not wanting to kiss me after I’ve smoked or even hold my hand because they stunk, and most significantly that my Dad passed away not more than 2 years ago from Lung cancer.
The list could go on, but I will keep to those I’ve mentioned. So the odds were in my favor. Those are all of the mental, emotional and spiritual reasons I needed to quit. What I needed for me was a physical ailment that made me not want to have a cigarette, because that is the hardest part, getting through the want and desire of having a smoke. So about a year ago, I began to pray and ask God to take away my desire to smoke. It was a simple prayer and it was to the point, and it was the same simple prayer I used to take away my desire to drink beer. I can honestly say that I rarely ever drink beer. I just have no desire. (I should have been more specific with that though, because I still love the wine.) Anyhow, on the evening of March 26, I had more than my share of wine, I had Shawna’s share as well, and probably about 3 or 4 other shares too, it was much to much to share with anyone else apparently.
The next morning I was so congested that I felt like I could have choked on the phlegm. I felt horrible. So I put two and two together and knew that this was my answer to prayer. The good Lord took my body and made me feel like crap and I embraced it because I knew that it was just what I needed to allow me to quit smoking and at that time I had no desire. I was sick, I had too much to drink the night before, I was going on a diet, and I was getting the gym membership 3 days later, so the positive the reasons combined with the negative, gave me hope and my time had finally come.
I tried to not think about smoking come day 3 and then 4 and then while I was on the treadmill, I had even more enthusiasm to go harder because I had to get rid of the toxins in my body, so I pushed myself and I felt great… until oweeee!! A couple weeks later after doing cardio six days a week, my ankle was aching and telling me to stop. So I finally listened but by then it was to late. I felt defeated. I thought to myself, well if I cant go to the gym, I may as well eat a bunch of crap and forget the diet, and if I’m not going to do the diet then I may as well have a smoke and if I was going to smoke I may as well drink too because now I’m depressed and need to drown my sorrows. That is pretty much how I felt; yet I knew that if I allowed one hiccup defeat multiple positives that I was enduring, then I knew that I would have had multiple failed attempts. I realized that before any of it those defeats had happened that I was being tested and if I let one unfortunate circumstance affect so many positive changes then I would have truly felt beaten. That is when I realized that I don’t have to be an “all or none” kind of person and that things are going to happen that are out of my control and if I cant change it then I can embrace it and do the best I can to stay on track with what works for me.
I just needed to make a few adjustments and to scale back a little bit until my ankle could heal and stick to my diet and continue to go to the gym, just not as often. Throughout this month long process I recognized that this is what I have wanted for years, to quit smoking and to get in shape and both of those accomplishments make me content with me.
Today marks the 39th day that I am smoke and alcohol free, yes alcohol too. I quit drinking as well, and not for any particular reason, but for multiple ones. Shawna and I have also been incorporating some more balanced nutrition in our diet such as yummy Breyer’s Indulgences Gelato Ice cream. Now that’s a reward in itself!
I hope that sharing my story gives you the inspiration to tackle those vices, additions or bad habits that you’ve wanted to overcome, and I encourage you to not give up and to focus on what it may be that will work best for you.