I lied to my Mom

My mother was a story teller. Whether talking about the difficult times when she was married to my birth Father, regaling us with tales about the things Josh and I ate as toddlers,or telling us about things she did as a kid, she always had an anecdote to tell in any given situation. She obviously got that from my Papaw, as I found out a couple of years ago .

Now at 41, I feel like the gift or story telling is one of the best traits she passed down to me. This blog is filled with stories from my life. My boys often roll their eyes when I try to teach them a lesson by relaying something I have learned along the way. And lord knows, more than one of my employees have heard me start a conversation with "let me tell you a story" when they needed guidance or direction.

One of the stories I left out of this blog a couple of years ago, when I was reliving the last days we spent with her, took place on Christmas Day 2008. I was staying at their house in Illinois, and went about my normal routine when I woke up. Stop at the restroom, get dressed, put on my coat, go outside, and smoke my first morning cigarette. This was my ritual every day, no matter where I was. But this day turned out to be different.

When I was done, I stayed outside for a minute so the odor would dissipate. Then, I went inside and hugged my Mom. When I did, she got physically ill. Her weakened condition combined with the smell of smoke on me made her sick, and, in that moment, I felt as low as I ever had. I promised her I would never smoke again and gave my remaining squares to my sister in law, Chrystal.

I lied to my Mom that day. Less than 6 months later, when we had lost her and my life was out of control,  I was spiraling towards rock bottom at rocket speed. I decided to have one just to take the edge off. I had just served papers to my ex wife, and needed to calm down. One turned into five and turned back into 2 packs and 10 bucks a day.

A little late to keep my promise to Mom, last summer I knew something had to give. I felt like crap all the time. My heart raced, my head hurt, and I was coughing up chunks of my lungs every day. I thought I was going to die, and could not stop thinking of what would happen to my boys if I was gone. It was time to ask who was bigger, me or them. I thought for sure it was probably them.

On June 5th, 2014, I celebrated one year smoke free. I am free from the habit that had me standing out in the cold, neglecting my job, stepping out of family functions, and keeping me from tasting good food for two decades. Ralph and I probably saved 2 hours each way off of our trip to Tucson because I did not have to stop, and my family has over $200 extra a month to spend on things we all want instead of supporting my habit.

I have not craved at all since that day. The way I went about it left me very sick that day, and that was enough to erase those cravings. Now, I can barely stand to be around a smoker, whether they have one lit or not. Yet I dream I am smoking at least once a week, something that I have been told will continue for life. Because I am an addict. And while my addiction of choice may not be a hard drug or alcohol, I can never afford to have just one hit again.

Yesterday would have been my parents 28th wedding anniversary. Last year, on that day, I went to a Reds game with my sons and my Dad. I had not smoke in 2 days at that point, and remember thinking how much I hoped I would be able to say the same thing in a year. Mission accomplished.

Day # 461. I feel as good today as I ever have in my adult life, and that alone is motivation to never smoke again. Now all you smokers, go smoke because I have been talking about smoking:) It is great to be me!

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