How quickly the illusion of wanting to be a smoker disappears, when you actually become one again. That dirty cigarette, the one I had so desperately missed while having my morning coffee, was exactly how I remembered it.
Twenty minutes of pain, alongside an unsatisfied hunger for nicotine.
I would cough uncontrollably, at least until my lungs were cleared just enough for it to be physically possible to draw back on that sweet smelling, fresh, tar filled smoke.
It really was painful.
Of course, the first few days of smoking weren’t so bad. After all, my previous attempt to quit smoking had allowed me to clear out a good portion of the brown and black tar that coated my lungs.
Obviously, this didn’t last, within weeks my smokers cough had become worse than ever.
I would wake at least twice during the night, barely able to breath due to a persistent, screaming itch, deep within my chest. My cough had become so horrendous and loud, that my neighbors thought I was dying.
No matter how much I hated it, I didn’t have the strength to quit. I knew I had too, and I remembered that life had actually been better when I quit. I just wasn’t ready to face the pain and do it all over again. I needed time, I needed to feel the pain of smoking and strengthen my hate for cigarettes. I needed to burn into my brain, the resentment I felt over my previous failure.
So, for six months I maintained a pattern where I would light up, then cough, then curse, then declare my hate for cigarettes and the fact I had actually quit for 6 weeks only to relapse.
My health reached a point that if I didn’t quickly change, I would probably cement a very early death. It played on my mind constantly, and it turned out, that I wasn’t the only one disturbed by such a notion.
My sister, who had perhaps been my most vocal supporter during my last campaign, sent me a text pleading me to quit smoking. Coincidentally, the previous night I had been talking over with my wife, the notion of having another quit attempt.
For several weeks, my resolve to quit had been growing, so on receiving that message, I sat down, lit a smoke, then replied with my own message.
It was time to prepare and this time it was going to be for real.
For two weeks, my sister continued to send a daily text, “Quit Smoking,” to which I replied “10/08/2011.”