Time to quit smoking – and this time I really mean it

I’m a smoking momma, not to be confused with a smokin’ hot momma. That said, if I quit smoking, I’d have a better shot at becoming the latter because it really isn’t an attractive habit. I started puffing away when I was 13-years-old. You know how some people take a first puff and think, “that’s disgusting; I’m never doing that again?” That wasn’t me. I smoked my first cigarette and thought, “sign me up!” Before I knew it, I was hooked.

Cigarettes were way cheaper back then, but still, I was young and strapped for cash, so I had to be resourceful. Luckily, my mother was a smoker. (Side note: I blame her just a little for my habit because she made it look so darned cool.) I’d sneak a couple of cigarettes out of her pack every day. But better than that, I’d sneak ENTIRE PACKS out of the boxes of duty free ciggies my uncle would bring her when he returned from his travels abroad, which was often.

I was onto a good thing. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. On a day I will never forget, I was walking past the living room when I saw my mom reaching into the hutch for a fresh pack. With one arm in the cabinet, she looked up at me and, well, are you familiar with the death glare? I was officially busted. No more free cigarettes for me. Sadly, this meant I had to resort to stealing cold, hard cash from her wallet instead, and when my habit got heavier, I had to get a job and start making real money.

I know it’s not impossible to quit smoking. I’ve done plenty of times before!

Fast forward to 20 years later, when I met my ex-husband. He was a non-smoker who had sworn he’d never date a smoker, but he broke his rule for me. I figured I owed it to him to quit, so I did, and I stuck to it. For 10 glorious years, I was smoke-free and IT WAS FANTASTIC. I was over it. Me? A smoker? Never!

Fast forward again to 12 years later. My marriage was over. It all turned out for the best but still, it was a pretty hard time, one I’m gearing up to write about in a future post. I didn’t reach straight for the cigarettes. Like I said, I was done, done and done. But just a few months into my newfound singledom, a boyfriend from my past found me on Facebook.

Max and I had dated when we were 18, both living in London, England. We hadn’t been in touch for 19 years. Not a peep. He was reaching out to me from NY City, where he’d been living for a while. A few months into our Facebook relationship, a girlfriend invited me to join her and some other gals for a weekend in The Big Apple.

Who was I to argue with the stars?

We planned to have dinner together. He came to meet me at my hotel, which by chance was kitty corner to his office (another sign the universe was taking charge). I was nervous. Our Facebook relationship was in full swing, but who knew how I’d feel when I saw him. The truth is, I barely had a chance to look at him. Within seconds of my having stepped out of the elevator, he had enveloped me in the biggest, greatest hug I’d ever had. All I could do was take in the heavenly scent of aftershave and cigarettes.

That’s when my 10-year endeavour to quit smoking failed.

I get this may not sound like an attractive combination to you, but to me it was an absolute aphrodisiac. The smell evoked memories of the boy who had once made me weak at the knees. Within seconds of inhaling his musky, masculine scent, I was smitten again and so began a long-distance relationship.

Every second weekend, either he would cross the border to Canada, or I’d make my way to the U.S. During our weekends together, my daughter would spend time with her dad. I was living a double life. One moment, I was a single mom. The next, I was living out episodes of Sex in the City.

It started slowly. At first, I only smoked when I stayed with Max. Then, I began to smoke when Max visited me. Before long, it didn’t matter who was where. Smoking had seeped its way into my single mom life and I kept it hidden from Lucy for about six years.

I adjusted my daily routine to accommodate my habit. Instead of showering first thing in the morning, I’d shower at about 2pm so that I could wash away the smell of that day’s cigarettes before picking Lucy up from school. In the evenings, I’d look forward to her bedtime so that I could sneak out onto the balcony and smoke again, every cigarette accompanied by fear that she might wake up and find me. When she was old enough to stay home alone, I’d make up errands and look for a discreet wall in the neighbourhood, one where the likelihood of somebody spotting me was minimal. Still smoking in fear. Oh, the shame.

About two years ago, I told my daughter the truth.

My confession devastated Lucy but with her being 14, it was only right that I come clean. To this day, she begrudges me for having lied to her – and I can’t say I blame her.

Since resuming the habit, I have thought about breaking it every single day and attempted to quit smoking at least once a month. Friends and family have shared encouraging words, but none resonated with me. That is, until last week. Max and I (we’re married now and both still struggling to break the habit) went to dinner with a very dear friend of mine who has supported my every endeavour. She has championed all of my attempts to quit smoking, never once raising the fact that I have failed time and time again.

Knowing that I’d recently shed about 20 lbs through Weight Watchers, she lovingly but sternly said, “You know, losing weight is fine, but quitting smoking is more important. That’s what you need to focus on.” Boy, did this make me realize how wrong my priorities have been. She’s right, and my dieting success proves that I have the discipline to do this, so here I go.

I’ve marked the date on the calendar. On July 6, I am heading away for a heavenly four-day yoga retreat. For four straight days, I will do nothing but nurture this body of mine. And for each day thereafter, I will continue to nurture it. Come hell or high water, there will be no smoking in this temple. As a bonus, I will have undertaken another step towards becoming a better role model for my daughter. You can read about the first step in my post about modelling a positive body image.

Want to quit smoking?

If you’re ready to take the leap, I’d welcome the company. I’d also suggest checking out this support book by Allan Carr. Successful quitters have told me it’s an excellent resource.

I’ll be posting monthly updates of my progress as a NON-SMOKER on this blog. Hope to see you on another page soon!

MY FIRST UPDATE IS NOW READY FOR VIEWING! 

Check out My quit-smoking journal — monthly check-in #1.

If you like what you’ve just read, sign up below and I’ll deliver future posts directly to your in-box. 

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By | 2017-08-07T14:49:04+00:00 June 22nd, 2017|20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Addison Messer June 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Thankfully I have never tried one, but my husband was a smoker when we met. He started very young too. 8 years ago, he decided to quit. I was thrilled because my allergies were terrible and I knew it was the right choice. It was hard. We stayed in, a lot. The smell would make him twitch a bit. Gradually it started getting easier and he starting becoming more in shape. He picked up running (previously couldn’t run around the block if he was being chased). That seemed to help him stay away. It is always a struggle, but it is possible. I am so glad you are doing this. Quitting smoking will be just as valuable a lesson, if not more so, than abstaining entirely. You’ve got this!

    • THE WORDY MOM June 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Addison! And congrats to your husband. I’m looking forward to running around the block with ease again, too. Believe it or not, during my 10-year break from smoking I trained for a half-marathon! It’s amazing what our bodies can do when we look after them. If you know any other smokers who need a gentle nudge, I’d so appreciate you visiting my Facebook and sharing the link to this article!

  2. Brittany June 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I never have smoked myself but my mother was a heavy smoker when I was younger. Thankfully she quit and has been smoke free for 15+ years. I think people don’t realize that it is in fact an addiction which lends to heavy criticism. Good for you for making your health a priority! May you have much success and lead a happy healthy life! <3

    • THE WORDY MOM June 23, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks Brittany. 15+ years for your mom – that’s amazing. I look forward to being able to celebrate that milestone for myself.

  3. Natalie June 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    I also started smoking when I was 13 and did every single day until the day I got pregnant ! I quit cold turkey for 16 months until I was back in Chicago visiting family and we were out having some drinks and someone offered me a smoke. Uhhh that is all it took ! I smoked off and on for the next few years and now I just have an occasional one with a glass of wine on the weekends. Hang in there mamma ! You got this !!

    • THE WORDY MOM June 23, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Natalie! And be sure to keep those occasional smokes in check. Such a slippery slope as I know you know.

  4. Elise Cohen Ho June 24, 2017 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Great post. I am looking forward to sharing this with several smokers. 🙂

    • THE WORDY MOM June 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      I’d so appreciate that. Thank you Elise!

  5. Kyler June 24, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    I started smoking at age 15, the day that I found out I was pregnant I quit immediately. I was too scared of the consequences. Now that my son is here I’ll have a cigarette on occasion, with a glass of wine usually. For me the easiest thing was the replace my addiction with another “addiction”, I started snacking more often. Which isn’t always a good thing, but it can definitely help!

    • THE WORDY MOM June 25, 2017 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Oh, how I wish I could be someone who could enjoy the occasional cigarette, but I’m an all or nothing kinda gal.

      • Erini July 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

        Exactly how I am. I just started a Facebook support group. I’m on day two being smoke free and had an acupuncture treatment to help…. Come check it outm it’s ‘Kick the Butt (support group)” on Facebook

        • THE WORDY MOM July 26, 2017 at 9:01 am - Reply

          Congrats, and good luck to you. Hang in there. I’ll be at 3 weeks tomorrow! I’ll definitely check out your group.

  6. Nicolle June 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    My husband was a smoker when we first met. When we had my daughter, I would make him shower, change his clothes, and brush his teeth before holding her. It’s been a struggle for him to quit, but he’s doing great. He rarely smokes now. I’ve heard a lot of people say cold turkey is the way to go. I wish you the best of luck on your No-Smoking journey! You can do this!

    • THE WORDY MOM June 25, 2017 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Nicolle. I’m pretty sure I’ve got this — this time!

  7. Hena Jose June 26, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Smoking for sure is a bad habit and can damage your health. As a non smoker it might be easy for me to say, but then as I understand from your blog that it’s not that easy to quit. Wishing you all the best in this journey.

    • THE WORDY MOM June 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Much appreciated Hena.

  8. Bobbi June 26, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    I started smoking when I was 13 and haven’t looked back. I’ve tried to quit several times. I’ve tried the gum and patches. I just changed insurance and tried to get Chantix but, thanks to my lovely deductible, the cost is $375! It’s cheaper, financially, to smoke right now. I had a severe reaction to the patch and the gum was absolutely horrible. I’ve lost 91 pounds and would love to quit smoking. I’d love to hear what worked for you and how you dealt with cravings. I’m terrified of gaining back weight I’ve already lost….

    • THE WORDY MOM June 26, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Bobbi, I’ve tried it all. Cold turkey is my chosen torture — I mean method! I too am afraid of weight gain, but think about the risks. With the exception of those who might be dangerously obese, I’d venture to guess that smoking poses a far greater threat than excess weight. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Right now, the plan is yoga and healthy eating. Counting down!

  9. Momma Luvz June 27, 2017 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I’ve been smoke free for almost 2.5 years now. I had quit a couple times before, and have had the best luck using the patch (or getting pregnant lol) I hope I’ll never go back. I still have cravings, especially if I drink alcohol. Each time I crave, I picture my daughters smoking or think to myself that if I smoke it’s likely they will. I never want that to happen, so it helps!

    • THE WORDY MOM June 28, 2017 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Congrats to you! Yes, visualization will definitely be a helpful technique.

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