Smoke Out

by Tracee Sioux

I can hardly wait for New Year’s Eve to come because I never have to put “Quit Smoking – for real this time” on my list of resolutions again. I can move on to getting organized and saving my receipts so I can deduct them.

The best thing about this year is that I’ve become a non-smoker. I really and truly quit smoking. Well, maybe the very best thing is that I’ve encouraged thousands of other smokers, to become non-smokers with the breakout success of one BlogFabulous post about the miracle drug Chantix (around 957 comments). It feels fantastic to effect the soul of the world in such a positive way.

If you still smoke here’s what I want you to know:

You’ve been underestimating the tole smoking is taking on your emotional life.

The chronic sense of failure, guilt and shame is effecting everything you say, think and do. You’ve been doing it so long that you think it’s who you are.

It’s not.

You’ll have to take my word for it, but after a few months you’ll discover a deeper person underneath all those negative surface emotions and that person is worth knowing.

It’s liberating and confidence-boosting to be without that sense of shame, guilt and failure.

Smoking undermined every relationship in my life. If you always leave a conversation to smoke you rob yourself of the full relationship – usually the healing, reconciliation and understanding that comes at the end of conversations.

You think you can’t find the emotional strength to deal with people because you’ve been mentally checking out as soon as conflict comes up by thinking about how you’ll escape to smoke.

That you can’t deal with stress is a fiction created by your addiction to cigarettes. Period. It’s a fiction and it will take some pain and a lot of practice – but you deserve to know that you can deal with everything you think you can’t deal with. You can learn to deal with stress, loss, pain, trauma, anxiety, insomnia, conflict, boredom and every other emotion you’ve avoided by smoking.

You’ll need to dedicate yourself to finding new coping strategies for every instance where you previously smoked. That’s seriously uncomfortable. It’s painful sometimes. It’s overwhelming. I promise you – it’s worth it.

There is no way to quit smoking with total ease and comfort. But, Chantix will take the edge off. And if you’re a smoker, I know you understand that by edge I don’t mean a slight discomfort, I mean the depths of hell. Chantix will elevate you to purgatory levels of discomfort which almost feels like heaven if you’ve ever been to the depths of hell.

Today is the Great International Smoke Out. Ten years ago I ended up on the front page of a Lithuanian newspaper for smoking it up on the street on this day. It’s embarrassing to be held up as the epitome of stupidly continuing to smoke.

This year, when I see smokers on the street, I want to tell you: You don’t have to smoke anymore.

You deserve to be a non-smoker.

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