No Tobacco

I used to smoke. Years ago. I regret it immensely. No one to blame but myself for starting. I must've been 17 at the time. Thinking it was cool. But it wasn't.

Cigarettes were a part of my life growing up. My father, his friends, the neighbors, my aunts and uncles- almost all of them smokers. Ashtrays and stale smoke filled my home as I grew up. I'm not blaming or accusing anyone for me starting but it didn't deter me from it either. In fact, back in my childhood I remember my father having a set of pipes and a large jar of tobacco on display. Occasionally I would open the jar just to smell the tobacco.

I only know of one photo of me smoking since having children of my own. It was a Halloween party in 2002. As mentioned last year in Healthier Choice, I had made a conscious effort since meeting my wife in 2000 to not get photographed with a cigarette in my mouth or hand. We also had a no smoking indoors rule that we adhered to. It made smoking that much more difficult to enjoy- Although that really isn't the correct word, enjoying cigarettes never really happens. I believe it was somewhere on October 31st or November 1st 2004 that I smoked my last cigarette.

All I remember about it was that I felt like my lungs were collapsing and I wasn't getting any oxygen in. It was right after another Halloween party at our place. I quit cold turkey that day. My wife had already quit because of being pregnant ages before. She had already been closer to never smoking again than I was. But me quitting helped to never have it again in our home.

I keep one of my father's old pipes in a small box with his wedding ring and a ruby ring that he used to wear. In all the years growing up, I only ever saw my father smoke a pipe maybe twice. And that was when I was about 4 or 5 years old. But my memory of him smoking was a part of who he was. The smell of cigarettes stayed in his beard and was a permanent fixture of who he was.

I now have to use an inhaler daily and also a steroid inhaler to give strength to my lungs in order to breathe somewhat normally. I hate it. I know that the dozen or so years of smoking increased the necessity of an inhaler but I probably would've needed one regardless at some point. Growing up in a home of secondhand smoke didn't help with my health.

Waking up today struggling to breathe is what prompted me to write this. I don't like talking about the negative parts of my life. But certain things I do not want to repeat. Smoking is one of them. And I really hope my children don't smoke ever.

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