I read somewhere that if you quit smoking before the age of 30, all the damage is reversed (not sure if this is a fact so if you are reading this, quit as soon as you can). In light of this information, at age 19 or so I decided 30 was a good benchmark to aim for. To be honest, I don’t think there are any smokers who don’t wish they were non-smokers (we are just fantastic at making excuses) and let’s face it, back then 30 was a long way away.
But over the years I had started to get chest infections when I caught a cold. My netball fitness was not as strong (I was still lighting up between quarters). My initial ‘I will quit and can quit whenever I want’ attitude was starting to fade. When I had my wisdom teeth taken out and was standing on the hospital balcony having a ciggie as soon as the anaesthetic wore off, I realised I no longer smoked because ‘I loved the little suckers’; these little suckers had sucked me right in.
Fast forward to pregnancy number one – I did it! Cold turkey. Easy. However on the day my daughter was born – there I was on the balcony of the hospital- smoking! If it was possible to quit while pregnant, why couldn’t I remain a non-smoker? Fast forward to pregnancy number two – quit again. Cold turkey. Easy. And once more, lit up when she was born. I guess it didn’t help that my husband smoked. That’s what I told myself anyway.
So my girls are 15 and 13 years old now, and they hate that I smoke. My 30th birthday came and went and still I did not quit. Didn’t even try. But five years ago I got whooping cough. Broke a rib coughing. Ouch! Decided to quit. Cold turkey was my method and you did not want to be anywhere near me for the first couple of weeks. It was really, really hard. I lasted four months. My trigger was an argument with my husband (so I told myself) and I bought a pack – smoked a few and threw the rest out. A few days later I had a night out, bought a pack – smoked quite a few – and then hid the remainder in my wardrobe (for a rainy day I told myself). Big mistake! Within a month or so I was smoking again. Wake up – coffee and ciggie to start the day.
The disappointment I felt (and the disappointment in my daughters eyes) was intense. But as a dedicated addict – it was not enough to make me try again. But it was enough for me to make a promise to my girls. That I would not be a 40 year old smoker.