This past Tuesday I made it through an evening at work without smoking a single cigarette. So, naturally, I immediately went out and celebrated by buying a pack of Camels and lighting one up.
Baby steps, we’re taking here.
It’s been a week of recognizing triggers. The Chantix has done a surprisingly fine job of cutting the physical craving for cigarettes. But those moments when I really want a cigarette haven’t gone away. So I’ve been analyzing them. Like when I’m driving, something I’m doing a lot more of lately. Not many things beat the moment I strap on the seat belt and reach onto my dashboard for the Bic and the Turkish Silvers. Or when I spot over the horizon the little house with the cross painted on the fence that marks the point where, if I light up as I drive by, I can finish a cigarette off just as I’m pulling in to my driveway, fling the butt out the window, and mash the button on my garage door opener, all executed in one fluid and familiar motion. Each moment is so perfectly timed and comfortably routine. There are myriad trigger moments, numbered well up into the double digits, spread like shards of glass upon the roadway of my day. I have a list, so I’m not being hyperbolic.
I spent the week reminding myself that I will live through each and every moment either as a smoker or a nonsmoker. The latter option is gaining ground.
The most disturbing (re)discovery I’ve made about myself this week is a rather avaricious unwillingness to share my successes with those around me who would benefit the most from any positive change in my behavior and rejoice the loudest. It happened Tuesday night. As I walked to my car, having skipped the smokers meeting for the first time in two and a half years and actually leaving with the crowd, I reached for my Blackberry to call my wife and give here the good news. But I hesitated, thought too much about it, and didn’t. I’ve spent many futile years trying to persuade her to lower her expectations of me. She refuses to do so. So, I reasoned, if I dared to share this bit of triumphant news, she might get the mistaken impression that I’d somehow kicked the habit for good this time. Tooting my own horn usually summons the hounds of hell to drag me back to the dregs of depression and failure. I’ve lived my life making others proud of me by acting instead of being. And maintaining a modicum of success over the long haul hasn’t ever really been my style. Doing so, and for the right reasons, only leads to greater success if you’re not careful . . .
But these are baby steps, right? Remember those? Each one a teetering and tentative smile-bringer, a harbinger of hope worthy of much feting and photography. Scrapbooked moments we look back on and remember as the genesis of something greater.
So I’m gonna let it all hang out for a moment. Wear my successes on my bloggy little sleeve for a bit and see how they glisten. Since the day I almost died . . .
- I’ve quit drinking sugared pop. I’m hanging with Mountain Dew’s unsweetened little brother now.
- I’m taking my medication regularly. Yet another thing that I’m making room for in my daily madness.
- My average glucose has dropped from a deadly 250+ to a more respectable 120.
- My doctor actually smiled at me the other day . . .
This has happened before. A different doctor, who eventually told me not to come back until I got serious about my life, told me not to get discouraged because things were going well for a change. He knew me better than I knew myself back then. I guess I’m getting serious now . . .