Three years ago, I smoked one final cigarette and said to myself as I crushed it out: OK. Last one.
It’s a ritual I’d done dozens of times before. Birthdays, New Year’s Day, Wednesday. I’d sit and enjoy a cigarette, then declare my freedom and walk away. Till the next time. Till the next time I’d smoke because of stress, anger, boredom, anxiety. Didn’t matter. There was always something that drove me back: Finals, difficult girlfriend, job interview, holidays.
Once, I managed to quit for a few weeks, but I found myself smoking long butts discarded in ashtrays, and that shamed me into buying a pack.
Marlboro ultra-lights is what I ended on. I started with Camel nonfilters. They were too harsh, so I tried Camel filters. Then Camel ultra-lights. Then Marlboro reds, lights, ultra-lights.
When I was 19 or 20, my friend Mike smoked, and I’d bum cigarettes from him until that day he cut me off and said, “Look, man, you are a smoker. Get your own cigarettes.”
It was a wakeup call that I didn’t heed. Instead, I just bought my own pack, and thousands of dollars later, I’d grow to hate it.
So it’s been three years. Three years without a cigarette, without a single drag. Feels like a long time, but I know better. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.