Posted in Relationships, Writing

How I Quit a 2-Pack-a-day Habit

a lit cigarette in an ashtray
Image via Wikipedia

This is a synopsis of how I quit smoking two packs of cigarettes per day after 9 years without any medical substitutes or mental health assists almost 20 years ago.

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!

Cheers!

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Posted in SocialMedia, Writing

Words Words Words…Making Sense of it All!

Writing
Image via Wikipedia

This note serves two purposes:  One of thankfulness for a break in routine; and a real treat on a snowy day — a writing class!

The instructor, Paula Peters, is a working mother, successful entrepreneur, author, and very patient with her students.  Her firm, Peters Writing Services, has been in business since 1999 and is staffed with people who are skilled at taking the impossible and turning it into professional copy that’s easy to understand, and targeted to the audience.  Their efforts at proposal writing, marketing, training development, and procedural manuals have saved the bacon of more than one mom and pop shop.  After failed bids for lucrative government contracts, corporate executives enlist her services and quickly turn no frills proposals into stand-out winning bids!

The writing course was well crafted.  The tools were a workbook, slides, the all important candy (you’ve got to have some incentive to come out of your shell right?), as well as individual and group writing exercises.  Her coursework helps students understand how to analyze the writing task and consider strategies to accomplish before putting fingers to keyboard.  Another interesting tool of value was the notes template she designed to help with information extraction.  The image of gold-panning in Alaska flashes in my head as an analogy to describe this tool~ to collect the flashy nuggets appear on the top after shaking/analyzing!  The notes template helps guide your writing activity; gleaning important facts to answer the five W’s (who, what, why, when, and where.)  You can make your own templates that meet your particular task genre.  Once you’ve gathered the nuggets or “chunks” as she refers to them, you prioritize them, string them together and tada…you have a succinct paragraph.

I guarantee if you invite her to teach a course at your workplace, there’s more than a handful of skills you’ll take away to help elevate the professional writing skills of your employees!  Here is a link to Paula Peter’s blog.  Check out the books she’s written.  Her latest published offering is the Working Mom’s Survival Guide.

At this point I’ve already violated several of her rules/guidelines but sometimes it does take more than 350 words to get your point across.  Thanks for reading and Thank You Paula for the great educational opportunity!