Archive for the 'A Powerful Addiction' Category

Time To Quit

September 29, 2012 posted by Len B.

Today marks my second year anniversary of quitting smoking. It was on September 29th, 2010 at 9:25AM that I finally crushed out my last cigarette, ending an addiction that I had been struggling with for more than 40 years.

Not everyone is on the same quitting schedule – some are ready to quit long before others. I actually knew it was my time to quit for several years. I just didn’t know how to do it, nor did I have the right tools to go about it. Check out the clues below telling you that it’s time for you to quit, then get in touch with your local VA Medical Center to find out what they can do to help. Mind you, any one of these clues alone is reason enough to quit:

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  • you need to stop and catch your breath sooner and more frequently than you did just a year or two ago.
  • you find yourself clearing your throat and/or coughing more often than the non-smokers you come into contact with.
  • someone mentions that the inside of your car (or your clothes or your house) smells of smoke.
  • you find yourself staying away from those places where you feel uneasy because smoking is forbidden, such as movie theaters, restaurants, night clubs, etc.
  • you start using credit cards to buy cigarettes because you never have enough cash to keep up with the ever-increasing number of cigarettes you smoke each day.
  • you notice that children you come into contact with begin to mimic your smoking, either by pretending with props or by using real cigarettes.
  • you make excuses for not going on vacation because it’s too difficult to find affordable, decent hotels that have smoking rooms available.
  • you avoid visiting relatives and other loved ones because they don’t allow smoking in their homes.
  • your mustache and/or beard shows unsightly orange stains from constantly exhaling smoke and nicotine.
  • you keep burning holes in some of your favorite clothing, furniture, and/or car upholstery.
  • you visit Internet dating sites knowing that you must restrict yourself only to contacting the small number of members who are smokers, or who claim to be sympathetic toward smokers, because none of the non-smokers are willing to meet up with smokers.
  • more and more you find yourself limiting the places you visit, the people you socialize with, and the activities you participate in due to new restrictions that continue to be placed on where and when people can legally smoke.

Can you think of more clues that it might be time for you to quit? If so, leave a reply and I’ll add it to the list!

Most Powerful Addiction

May 4, 2012 posted by Len B.

I was having lunch at an outdoor cafe with a new friend of mine the other day. I say “new” because I met him after I had quit smoking about a year and a half ago. Therefore, he’d never known me as a smoker nor had I ever shared with him my history of smoking.

A few tables away sat another couple, one of whom was relaxing with an after-lunch cigarette. My friend spotted him and immediately began ranting (the way so many non-smokers do) about how idiotic smokers are. Now, even though I no longer smoke, I did take offense to his comments – so much so that I felt the need to speak up in defense of smokers.

I explained to him that no matter when, why, or how a smoker starts smoking, it quickly becomes a powerful addiction. In fact, the addiction to cigarettes is far more powerful and difficult to quit than the addictions to heroine, cocaine, and all the other addictive drugs. That’s because cigarettes and the chemicals found in them attack people from so many different angles – physically, psychologically, and habitually. Add to that the fact that cigarettes are legal and easy to obtain (as opposed to any of the other illicit drugs) and it’s easy to see why it’s so difficult for smokers to stop.

The Centers for Disease Control have been airing new videos aimed at illustrating some of the more serious effects of smoking. My reaction to watching them is to realize, even more so, just how addictive smoking really is. I mean, if people continue smoking to the point of suffering such catastrophic physical disabilities as demonstrated by the people in these videos then it must be one helluva difficult addiction to break. Posted here are a just a couple of the new CDC video ads. Take a look and let me know what you think:

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Liar Liar, Pants On Fire

October 22, 2011 posted by Len B.

Most people know that when someone is addicted to a drug or alcohol they frequently lie to maintain their addictions. For example, they lie about how often they imbibe, how much they actually spend, etc. A certain degree of secrecy makes it easier for them to hold onto their addictions in two ways: they fool those around them in order to avoid the criticism, and they fool themselves into thinking that what they’re doing is perfectly healthy. What many people don’t realize (and I can include doctors in with this group) is that smokers are not all that different in this regard.

If a smoker tells you that he smokes half a pack a day, rest assured that he probably smokes closer to a whole pack a day. If he tells you that he spends only $30 a week on cigarettes, more likely than not he’s spending closer to $40, $50, or more. If you still smoke and this sounds like you, then you really need to start being honest with yourself. And, for your own benefit, be honest with your doctors and caregivers about how much you smoke. This is especially true when you’re going through a smoking cessation program because the type and amounts of medicinal treatment you receive will be determined based on how many cigarettes you really smoke each day.

Think about it: as with any life-threatening disease, nobody wants to be told that they’re only going to get half the amount of medicine that’s actually needed to beat it.