Wednesday, May 28

So, where were we?

Oh yes, the quitting smoking story.

Not much of a story. There was no big fanfare leading up to the moment Arnica quit. There was no ceremony for the last cigarette. In fact, Arnica wasn’t aware he was smoking his final cigarette at the time he was smoking it. Had he known he might have made a cake. The moments leading to the start of Arnica’s non-smoking life were much less eventful than you would expect. The months leading up to that point were where all the important stuff happened.

Remember those anti-smoking commercials back eight years ago? Arnica remembers watching a commercial where somebody official looking, who was dressed in surgical scrubs, appears on the screen and grabs a human body organ from somebody who didn’t need it anymore (someone dead) and started wringing it out with a pencil. The organ was the esophagus of a dead smoker. The official looking guy squeezed all this gray gunk out of the esophagus and it spilled out onto the table. It was gross. Then, the announcer’s voice chimes in to say, "this is the esophagus of a 35 year old man who had been smoking for only ten years." Yikes. Arnica was 35. Arnica had been smoking for 17 years. That ad ran through Arnica’s head for a long time, especially when Arnica coughed, which was often because Arnica smoked.

For months prior,Arnica had pondered why he smoked. He had long since lost any ‘buzz’ he once enjoyed in his early smoking career and he often felt like a schmuck when he lit up. One reason being that Arnica was smart enough to realize he was no better than a junkie who needs a fix just to get “well.” In no way does Arnica want to diminish the horribleness of heroin addiction but the control tobacco has on a person is nearly as strong as heroin's control.

For months, Arnica would light up and get upset with myself for doing so. He started to notice that each cigarette was starting to actually taste bad. Something was happening to his taste buds or to his mind.

So Arnica’s last cigarette was just a smoke he had in his car while driving to his girlfriend’s house. The next day, he woke up and realized he was now a non-smoker. He had an open pack of smokes on his desk for many months after. Arnica was never tempted to smoke one from that pack. Arnica was now a nonsmoker.

Coming soon: the relapse and the night spent puking in the bushes.

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