Being that yesterday was the anniversary of the great adventure known as Irene, I thought I'd mark the occasion with something. As it happened I ran out of tobacco on Monday night, so I decided to quit smoking.
It's been about 3 years since I stopped smoking cigarettes. I switched to a pipe, which I knew would lead eventually to quitting, as it has. Pipes are messy. Tobacco in a pipe doesn't stink like cigarettes do but there's the cleaning of the pipe, which brings home pretty clearly what you're inhaling. Changing the screen, scraping the bowl and stem out, the blackish brown globs of nastiness get repulsive. Tobacco is also expensive these days, and I'd weaned down to one pouch a month of organic tobacco so it wasn't much of a jump to nothing. But still, it's gone.
This is far from the first time I've quit. Over the last forty years I've quit at least a dozen times, sometimes for years at a time. And every one of those times I started again by saying to myself, "I'll just have one." It's never just one. But I'm in very different circumstances now. I'm not at work and I don't go out socially much, and there aren't as many people smoking these days anyway, so there's little opportunity to grub the one that starts it all over again. Somewhat regrettably, I'll have to declare my home a nonsmoking area (I do hate smoke nazis but this is my home and health now).
What really wore me down to the point of knowing it had to go for good is that I can't sing. I've sung all my life. It's one of the things that makes me really happy. All of my family sang, together and apart. To not hit a note, or to lose wind, or to hear your voice crack and just air come out... it's a dealbreaker. My love affair with Mr. Nicotine is over. It'll take a while, but the vocal folds will heal. Without working on it I may not get the range back so I'll start looking into ways to help that along.
For now, I have plenty of chewing gum, which gives the added benefit of killing my appetite. That'll be the next issue, as my senses of smell and taste clear and everything becomes fabulous to the tongue. For the next few weeks I'll be chewing like a demon until things level out. It ain't my first time at the rodeo, I know how this goes. It's time.
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