As the Smoke Clears

Carrie here! Well, I hope everyone had a nice holiday and brought in the New Year with merriment and laughter. I have to say I almost slept threw it. Watching the amount of football I did over the holidays, seems to have the same effect on me like eating a big meal on Thanksgiving day--lots of snoozing. I was visiting my parents over the holidays and "abstaining from smoking." I made it for 6 days without a cigarette. I think 6 days is a nice time period to visit with the family. Anymore and you will need something to soothe those nerves. So after the 6th day of parental accompaniment, I had to figure out a way to sneak out and find some cigarettes. I ran/walked a total of six miles to find a store that was open past 10 PM. I couldn't find even one in Tampa, Florida, of all places. This is the town of strip malls and everything convenient...except after 10. So I knew better for the next day and went on my nightly "walk" a little earlier, pursuing my quest for cigarettes. I just hope my parents don't find where I stashed my nerve soothers. In my rush to get packed and not miss my plane, I forgot to pack my cigarettes and left them in my secret hiding spot, which is an electrical box on the outside of the house. Maybe they will think they are the nasty neighbor kid's.

Well, this post has to be about New Year's resolutions, especially since we're talking of living life smoke free. Just as the clouds of fireworks dissipate into the night sky, so must our dirty habits of 2006. In my previous post, I mentioned that my official quit date - the day I break it off with Mr. Cigarette - is planned for Valentine's Day. 2007 will be the year that the smoke clears and a better focus is found. Since giving up smoking is a lifestyle change, there are some other changes that will need to be made, besides snuffing out my last butt. Without further ado, I will list a few of those that I wish to focus on this year:

  1. Reduce my consumption of alcohol: Much of my interaction with friends occurs in a bar or club, where we all have nice chats, gossip, dance, and have a couple to wash down the stress of keeping up with our busy lives. This is the "scene of the urge" - as Mrs. Quit likes to say. Alcohol increases my desire for Mr. Cigarette and is one of the reasons why we haven't broken off our relationship.
  2. Take singing lessons: Quitting smoking can only aid in this, unless raspy is in and coughing is considered an elemental part of making a song "real" and having "feeling."
  3. Volunteer at a youth group: I really wouldn't be setting a good example if the kids see me puffing, now would I?
  4. Use public transit more often: The nearest MUNI station is a 15 minute walk. This is a great way to incorporate fitness into my everyday life, which is a practice well preached in The Fitness Fixer's blog. Plus, you're not allowed to smoke on the trains or buses.
  5. Become more aware of the environment around me: With all the perils that nature has caused in the year 2006, I realize I need to be more prepared for my wilderness outings. Thinking of packing an LED flashlight, instead of making sure I have my pack of cigarettes and lighter, should be a higher priority.
  6. Become a vegetarian: With the way most of our meat is produced in this country, I can't help but want to start eating less of it and more of a plant based diet.
  7. Convince Kris that driving a motorcycle is not the healthiest of habits.

Leave a comment on how you will incorporate quitting smoking in your New Year's resolutions or write your story and email it to me (carrie) at (healthline) dot (com). Remember it's a lifestyle change. Until we meet again, mes amis (my friends)!

Photo courtesy of besar bears

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About the Author

MA, MAppSci, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Foulds is an expert in the field of tobacco addiction.