Try ‘just cutting back'

You’re probably getting lots of these little tips on how to [quit smoking] (Hammer, “Time to Stop Smoking,” March 22-29). I am one of the most self-indulgent people around and I did it — 17 years ago (but who’s counting?). I remember it very clearly ...

I had tried “cold-turkey” before and went back to smoking other people’s cigarettes — not my brand, less satisfying, so, I began to buy my own again ...

Three years later after beginning an exercise/health/fitness program so I could continue to be a smoker, I decided I’d try to just cut back ...

Here’s how I did it: I put off the first one of the day for as long as I could, then I would put off the next one — it might only be 10 minutes later but I was putting it off ...

First, I noticed it was around 9 a.m. before I was jonesin’ bad for a smoke, then noon, then 1 and so on ... I was down to four or five a day ... I was pretty thrilled ... and one night, I lit one and thought, this doesn’t even sound good — I tossed it out.

I kept the pack around for a few months just sitting on the counter — after all, I’d never told myself I was quitting, just cutting back. I finally gave it to a smoker friend.

Do I still think about it? Yes ... even to the point of having smoking dreams, I can taste the cigarette — I remember one trying time (in the past year, mind you) that as I awoke, I was trying to think of what was open 24 hours as I needed to go buy cigarettes.

The addiction never leaves — or at least it didn’t for me — I can’t, won’t ever take even as much as a hit from a cigarette because by the end of that day, I’d be out there buying my own again ... however, I have made a deal with myself: If the craving’s still strong when I am 75 or 80 and I still have most of my wits about me so’s I don’t burn down the house, I will smoke again. I bet I’ll hate the first one but after that, I’m betting I’ll like them just fine.

Good luck, seriously — maybe if you think of it as a temporary thing ... you can pick it up again in your 80s, it won’t seems so bad.

Been there,

Barb Perry



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