Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kicking the habit

If you read my About Me post, you'll see that I mention "ditching the cigarettes" in a casual, almost nonchalant way.

Lest you think my quit was easy, I thought it important to tell you the basics of my nicotine addiction.

I started smoking at the ripe ol' age of 15. By the time I was 18, I had cultivated a pack-a-day habit.

I smoked a cigarette within 10 minutes of waking each morning (the mark of a true addict). I smoked 20 cigarettes throughout the day, finishing my last one just moments before resting my head on my pillow for a good night's sleep.

I continued this habit until my late 20s.

Then, desperate to battle the nico-demons, I cut back to about half a pack each day.

More years passed--during which I had one, successful quit that lasted about 12 months--but I couldn't kick the habit entirely.

Finally, I made a wager with three friends (all smokers). We set a Quit Date. The bet:
  • Any individual who smoked a cigarette--even just a puff--after the Quit Date was required to pay the other three participants $5 each per cigarette. (Total cost: $15 per cigarette).
  • Any individual who smoked was required to wear the Tee-Shirt of Shame. This shirt had the phrases "I put my lips on dirty butts" and "I am weak and pathetic" printed on it in bold letters. The shirt was to be worn at the next group outing, such as a restaurant, bar, party, etc.
I haven't had a cigarette since that Quit Date.

It hasn't always been easy.

But all the agony of withdrawal is worth the benefit of being free of an addiction.

'Cause no matter what anyone says, there's no such thing as a quality athlete who smokes cigarettes. Staying smoke-free is vital as I journey on my path to fitness.

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