By D. E. Boone
Every step required more exertion than I cared to give. The wheezing sound from my throbbing lungs, added to my discomfort. My chest felt like it was on fire. With a cigarette dangling from two fingers, I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my inhaler and raised it to my lips. Then I alternated between puffing on the nicotine stick and sucking down the asthma pump. I had reached an all-time low.
I thought about my doctor’s words. I saw him as he stood over me in his white generic lab coat. His tone was distant and cold. “You have Asthma related bronchitis.” What is that? I thought. He never really told me. He just gave me an inhaler pump, then told me to get used to it.
I was too young for this. How could I, “get used to it?” Never once did he tell me to quit smoking. The frown on his long thin face spoke volumes. He didn’t believe I could quit. He didn’t know that I had quit smoking many times. Of course, I went back again with the first stress I encountered. Once, I quit for three months. Thanks to hypnosis. But the post hypnotic suggestion soon wore off. But this was different; my health was at stake this time. Also, I wanted to show up my doctor.
So, I planned it out in my head. I needed four days to detoxify my body. I knew I couldn’t handle work related stress. So, I took off Friday and Monday. I was conditioned to smoking every two hours. It would be especially difficult at work. I knew I had to give up my smoking buddies. I would miss standing outside in sub zero temperature smoking with them.
I discarded all cigarettes and ashtrays. I didn’t want any reminders around. Then, I went to the grocery store and stocked up. I would lock myself up in my apartment. I didn’t even want to go outside for a gallon of water.
The rest is all a blur. I vaguely remember cold sweats, vomiting, headaches, and bouts of nervousness. I turned off my phone. The last thing I needed was to hear my friends say: “oh you are quitting again?” It was apparent that my friends had lost faith in my abilities to quit smoking. But this was the most extreme method yet. I would exclude them until I had it beat. I didn’t want to hear a single “I told you so.”
When I emerged from my self-imposed prison, the real work would begin. Like a drug addict, I had to avoid all smokers. I stayed away from the clubs and bars. I had to learn proper stress management. So, I joined a gym, learned yoga, and took up meditation.
Two months later, one of my friends asked me if I still smoked? “Why do you ask? I inquired. She said it just dawned on her that she hasn’t seen me with a cigarette in a long time. Quite an accomplishment, I thought. I was so pleased. She would be the first person I would tell. With my feet planted firmly, and my chest poked out. I raised my head, as if singing to the world. “Yes, I quit smoking.”
It’s been five years since I have gone through that ordeal. I still haven’t smoked. I threw my inhaler away, and never had another attack of bronchitis. I feel great. I look great, too. Oh, and I found a new doctor.
D. E. Boone on D.E. Boone
I live in New York City. Every time I think I have all the answers, someone changes the questions. I am working on a novel and a play. Of course, working a full time job, means there is never enough hours in a day. I am always growing, and trying to learn new things. Writing allows me to be heard. If I write something that touches you in any way, don’t hesitate to let me know. (via Feedback)