I'm definitely one of those people who is "a puff a way from a pack a day." You have no idea how much I have wanted to be smoke free and here I am 14 days away from my last puff. I quit successfully for a long, long time and then I dated A Smoker and not just any Smoker, but a Crazy Smoker (and by the way I'm a little nuts myself). This was about two years ago. Anyhow, our respective craziness was sort of like The Perfect Storm or some kind of Wall Street "synergy" where the sum of our crazy was greater than its parts. So this little liaison burned hard and fast before collapsing in to a black hole where the only thing that got out alive was my smoking habit.
So how did I do it? Well first of all a big thanks to Katherine of Explore Books in Aspen. I told her I did not want to quit smoking because I did not want to gain weight. This was about 15 years ago. Katherine looked me in the eyes and calmly said: "you know Lisa, it's not an either or situation." I have held on to that for 15 years, and when I did quit for a time, she was absolutely right, in fact I LOST weight. The other person I want to thank is my friend Barrie in OKC. About 6 months ago I began to really start trying to quit smoking. I would make it all day without a fag and then I'd have one. And the next day the same thing and then on the third or fourth day I would swan dive right back into the ashtray. This was going of day after day, week after week: It was torture. But Barrie said to me that every time I quit I am that much closer to staying quit. And let me tell you, I fucking held on to that too. Every time I "failed" at the end of the day, I'd repeat Barrie's words like a mantra
Now there were other people along the road who said just the opposite, to wit: that I would gain an average of X amount of pounds and that each time I quit and picked up a cigarette again that I was getting closer to never ever quitting. I'm glad I tuned in to Katherine and Barrie.
The next piece of the puzzle is to NEVER, EVER date a Smoker again. Especially the man version of crack cocaine, even if he is wrapped up in a pretty six-pack ripped package. It's still snogging an ashtray and there is nothing really appealing about that, except perhaps to another ashtray.
So how did it happen? I finally got it. I could not do it. At least not by myself. I started crying and said to a friend, I can't do this and I want so bad to be free from this slavery to Big Tobacco. She said to ask whatever version of God I believed in to help me. And I did. And four days later I was getting ready for bed and realized that I had not smoked one cigarette all day, and that I was ready to get into bed and turn out the light. And so I did.
This is the huge advantage of living in the buckle of the Bible Belt. People pray without shame. Anywhere. Even in Starbucks.