Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My adventures with not smoking

I started smoking at age 10 with a friend Darin McGrath, while camping with his family. I remember my first cigarette greeted me with coughing. Darin taught me to take invisible hits and I would adjust. It worked, I continued down the road attempting to be “Cool” and fitting in. Kelly Camp, my best friend, joined me trying to smoke everything that burned including our spelling book. At 16, I was a fulltime smoker and gravitated to the crew that hung out in the Agoura high school access road. I finally enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard when I was eighteen. I was legal!! Smoking gave me a false sense of status, a reward system and way to settle down. My dad smoked, my mom smoked and no-one ever gave me a reason to stop including my parents. It was universally accepted by the fellowship I kept which was, recovering alcoholics who smoked rather than drink. Smoking was normal, and I received very little encouragement to stop. In my 20’s, I had brief periods of not smoking. I would come to a peaceful, relaxed state and I would reward myself with a smoke which always led to a pack, even though I promised to stop for good. I would think to myself “I just wanted one cigarette then I would stop”. This addiction model  has carried on to this day, 30 years later, can you believe it?! This will bring us here to this day, I am now 39. I am a professional quitter. My wife doesn’t smoke and I have been ordering a pack at a time because I am always on the verge of quitting. I understand the destruction it causes in people and families and I just can’t stop. I needed spiritual help and I turned to Jesus to relieve me of this obsession. He did it for me when I was baptized and I need him to do it again. An elder at my “Toast to the master and Lord” , Toastmasters group encouraged me by offering advanced gratitude for relieving me of this problem and I got to tell you it’s worked so far.  Jesus is so awesome!! Our provider and friend. He spared my life in my accident and he’s not going to let go of me now!! Today is day three and I’m breathing easier.