The Cigarette Saga: 4 Months Later…

Today marks four months without cigarettes. To backtrack a bit, I decided to quit smoking cigarettes five months ago. A month later, after getting engaged, I made the commitment to say goodbye for good.

It was hard. I struggled through the summer on boats and at barbecues, rosé in one hand and a twitch in my other instead of a cigarette. Even though I had someone else to share my misery and to keep me honest (my fiancé quit with me), I’m not embarrassed to admit how difficult it was and that it took me a while to find what worked.

I failed over and over again. After experimenting with nicotine patches (not recommended for anyone who smokes less than a pack a day), there was a stint of vapor cigarettes (making me probably more chemically dependent on nicotine than when I was smoking straight cigarettes). It was a challenge to remain patient and stay committed. I had a lot of negative self judgement every time I fell short of a goal.

It was a constant balancing act of vigilance and kindness.

I was forced to challenge my cravings and to have that hard conversation with myself weeding out wants from needs. It is an important exercise, even if you don’t smoke, to question what and how you consume. I had to trust myself and my process. It is an immensely positive and supportive experience to share these goals with my fiancé, and at the same time, I have to know I can rely on myself.

It was an empowering opportunity to examine a part of myself that I didn’t have control over before. I had to build some very important, invisible muscles that extend far beyond my lung health. I can choose how I want to live my life and to control how I access success.

Smoking Cessation Recovery — Benefits
A helpful 60-Second Mindfulness Meditation Tool


Followup Thoughts on Meditation and Discipline

Fuck cigarettes.

Having been a smoker for nearly a decade, I’m deciding to cut it out. I’m setting a quit date. It’s going to be a week from today: April 7, 2015.

Both my parents are doctors, and they’ve been begging me to quit for years. Being the obstinate, oppositional person that I’ve already cited myself as, my parents’ wishes alone never stopped me. Truth is, I love smoking. Smoking has been my constant companion these past few years. Smoking has traveled with me to great places, it’s lived with me in Milan, London, Paris, and New York. Smoking has connected me with some of the greatest people I’ve met and has kept some of them close. Smoking has been with me through the best and the worst times of my life. It’s been with me when I’ve been bored, stressed, celebrating, and even sick.

Smoking has never really held me back, either. I can run 10 miles at a time. I still get asked out on dates by non-smokers. I always haughtily announced that I hoped by the time I was stricken down with cancer that modern medicine would have come up with a way to fix me. And I still hope it does, since most likely something else will go wrong with me.

However, it’s time to say goodbye, dear friend. It’s been real, but you’re killing me. This toxic relationship is not working out. It’s just simply not cute anymore. Smoking is a weakness, and I admit I am weak to it. I acknowledge that it has, in its way, become a meditation. But now, I am changing my intention. It is a public self-shaming. I’m telling everyone around me that I really don’t care about my life or, frankly, the environment. It’s frivolous and I preach discipline. It’s got to stop.

I’m not a bleeding heart liberal, however. I don’t really care so much about smoking bans and legislation. Don’t expect me to vote on this issue, for instance. You do what you want with your life, as long as it doesn’t endanger children.

Not that money is really the issue, but I will probably save a bunch since cigarette prices are what they are in NYC. At the end of this year if I’ve deemed this self-study successful, I’m going to buy myself a great pair of shoes and take those shoes with me on a vacation. Hope to see you there.

Quaerendo Invenietis

Life is an incredible adventure. There is a story in everything. I believe our world is made up of beautiful, diametric energies—a balanced tightrope of tension. Art lives in that very friction. As a writer, photographer, and creator I seek to coax out those sweet chords, whether wrangling the timbre of color temperature, or delicately tuning my diction.

This is my wonderland. Welcome.

Quaerendo invenietis.