A Confession...

I have a secret to tell you.

I used to smoke. A lot.

I loved my cigarettes and, before the indoor smoking ban took effect (back when I lived in New Jersey), I used to spend hours upon hours hanging out at a diner, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.

Oh the glamour!

Oh the glamour!

Yes, my habits back then were...ehhh...not so good, and neither was my health. Between the constant smoking and my absolutely abysmal diet (more on that another time), I never felt well. It wasn't until I changed these habits that I realized how horribly sick they'd been making me.

If you're a smoker, I'm not about to lecture you on why you shouldn't be smoking. You know it's bad and nothing I say to you will make you want to quit. The only thing that will make you want to quit is you. YOU have to be ready.

So...what made me decide to quit? That's quite personal, but I will tell you that it has to do with meeting someone whom I didn't want to subject to what would have been my eventual, terrible decline. I was never pushed and the decision was all my own. One day I decided that, at the end of the pack, I wasn't going to smoke anymore. I had that last cigarette and, well, that was pretty much it*.

When I quit, I was fortunate enough to not get too miserable with people. I started snacking a bit more, but overall I was okay. I only had one big relapse and that was years later when my mother died. I very was lucky to be able to stop again with such ease.

If you're thinking about quitting, there's a few things I think you should know. First, there will always be a reason to smoke. It sounds funny, but really...your brain will attempt to justify smoking somehow (in fact, just writing about smoking is making me want to smoke). Don't listen to it, the urge to smoke will pass.

Second, don't get cigarettes off of other people. Just because you're not buying them, it doesn't make it any better. You'll not only be “that guy”, but you'll also get to the point where it's happening so much that you'll just go out and buy your own pack.

Finally, don't beat yourself up if you do have a relapse. You might think you failed and that there's no point to trying again, but you couldn't be more wrong. Remember, cigarettes are designed to be highly addictive and not everyone is going to be able to quit as easily as I did. Keep trying- you'll be glad you did.

* There were a few minor hiccups early on in social situations where adult beverages were being consumed. So, yeah, that's something you might want to stay away from for awhile when you quit.

** Just a note to the non-smokers out there- if you have someone in your life who is a smoker, and you want them to quit smoking, please be supportive and stay positive. Remember, the person quitting is going to be having withdrawal symptoms and that is really not a good time.