I miss smoking . . . or, more accurately, I miss enjoying a cigarette. Because I have succumbed to desire on a couple of occasions (I was a bit drunk both times) and smoked a cigarette. It was gross. I couldn’t finish it. So it’s not just the smoking I miss . . . I miss sitting outside, taking a drag of a Parliament Menthol Light, and just relaxing and enjoying the flavor.
I miss lighting up after dinner. I miss smoking a cigarette while drinking a cup of coffee. I miss the time-killer while waiting for a bus or the dryer at the laundromat or for a prescription to be filled. I miss the ability to socialize with people at a party just because we’re the ones forced outside to smoke or escaping from social interactions by excusing myself to have a smoke. I miss smoking while drunk.
And I could get all of those things back, but it would take re-acquiring that taste . . . I’m going to take an educated guess and say that would require smoking nearly an entire pack of cigarettes. At that point, it’s no longer a momentary lapse of judgment or loss of will power. At that point, it becomes a conscious decision to become a smoker again.
I won’t make that conscious decision because no matter how much I miss all of the things I enjoyed about smoking, I don’t miss having to explain to my daughter why I smoke when I know it’s bad for me. I don’t miss waking up coughing. I don’t miss standing outside in the middle of a snow storm because I can’t function without my nicotine fix.
About 4 years ago, I found a lump in my breast. It took about a month before I could get the surgery to have it removed and then another week before the biopsy results came in. Those 5-6 weeks were terrifying because as much as the doctors kept telling me how “unimpressive” the lump was, there was still that chance of cancer and they couldn’t rule it out.
It turned out to be completely benign. It was an infection called periductal mastitis . . . which is caused by smoking.
I don’t miss that.
Two years ago today, I enjoyed my last cigarette. That’s it there on the left. I guess I really didn’t enjoy that one too much either . . . the Chantix had killed the real pleasure at that point, but it wasn’t gross. I was relaxed. I sat on my front steps, finished the entire 100 cig, put it out on the concrete, and went back inside. I went to sleep that night not thinking about wanting to get up and have another cig.
And as much as I still miss enjoying a cigarette, I’ll go to bed tonight not thinking about wanting to get up and have a cig. I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and not think about how many cigarettes are left in the pack and whether or not I have enough to last through the day or if I need to run down to the tobacco shop. I won’t run through a list of justifications for spending $7 on a pack of cigarettes.
I don’t miss that.
I smoked for 17 years. I loved smoking for 17 years. I knew it was bad and I knew I should quit, but I didn’t want to. I finally reached that point of wanting two years ago. I reached the point where I wanted to quit more than I wanted to smoke. I don’t think I’ll ever not miss the enjoyment I received for 17 years, but I don’t think I’ll ever miss it enough to go back to letting cigarettes control my life.