I started smoking Lucky Strike unfiltered cigarettes shortly after joining the Air Force. My uncle had smoked the same brand–they were my favorite. I always loved the smell of Camel cigarettes too. Not sure exactly what got me to start smoking but once I started I was hooked. That is until I met my wife. I chose not to smoke in our house, and tried to quit a couple of times after we got married in our first year. I just couldn’t shake the habit completely but managed to reduce the amount by probably a pack. Our first home together was in Alaska. About a year after we married, I was stationed in Washington D.C. I knew I wanted to quit for many reasons–one of them being the “low sperm count” attributed to smoking–I wanted to be a daddy!
My wife and I also had really deep, intellectual conversations that really made me crave time with her as much as I craved cigarettes. So, I tried to figure out how to satisfy both cravings. This challenge turned out to be my pathway to successful smoking cessation.
In base housing at Bolling AFB, they had mailboxes mounted to the house just outside the front door which weren’t used because they had larger mailboxes at the end of the driveway. I decided that I would make myself smoke only half a cigarette, put it out, then deposit the unfinished cigarette in that mailbox just outside the door. If I craved another smoke, I forced myself to go outside and finish the unsmoked half a cigarette! Well, I’m here to tell you that the remaining half of a once smoked cigarette doesn’t smell or taste the same as a new cigarette! With this new self-imposed requirement to satisfy my cravings it wasn’t long before I was down to half a pack a day, then 5, then 3. Pretty soon, I was down to smoking only one cigarette per day. I enjoyed much more time conversing with my wife and playing card games than I was wasting out on the front stoop.
I finally decided that the amount of time wasted smoking really wasn’t worth the time invested, and besides–it always made my clothes and breath stink! From the time I began my half-cigarette smoking requirement to quitting totally was probably two months. It’s been almost twenty years since I quit smoking cigarettes.
Do you have a unique story about how you quit smoking? I’m always fascinated by what motivations and methods people use to quit bad habits…like chewing fingernails–I recently quit that habit too!
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