I have smoked cigarettes since I was twelve years old. I remember the first time too: my friend Sarah M. and I were hanging out at her house on the opposite side of Lake Carmel when we stole a bunch of smokes from her dad. I can't remember if we each smoked four, or we smoked four together, but either way Camel unfiltered was my first cigarette. I was hooked. I was moving into the stage of my life where looking for escape in any form began, though the fantasy and desire existed for many years prior.
Over the years, I have smoked various brands, including Marlboro Reds, Mediums, Lights, and No. 27's, Camel Lights, Parliaments, and the one that always surprises people Newport 100's. I have stopped smoking for a year in High School because when I started seeing a boy who didn't smoke, I thought that would be enough, and it was until we broke up, I started smoking immediately. I quit for two years at the end of college, but started again as soon as I moved. I quit for three months this past summer and it was the first time I ever noticed how much I used smoking cigarettes to deal with, or rather not deal with, emotional stuff, i.e. uncomfortable feelings. Which is exactly when I started smoking again in the fall. Heart broken and uncomfortable with reality, I smoked my heart out, until one day in December, I smoked a cigarette and it just didn't taste good. It wasn't planned in some elaborate scheme to try and trick myself into not smoking, or making some grand gesture on the first of the new year, I just stopped. I made the decision I didn't want to be a smoker anymore and ten weeks in this time I've only had the desire to smoke due to stress, but have used breathing meditations and bringing myself back into the moment and not letting my anxiety get the better of me help me through those times. In just ten weeks I'm amazed at how intense the smell of smoke is. Some days I love the smell of smoke, on most though, I can't believe I used to walk around unable to notice how intense it smells, though I'm grateful to say I rarely smoked a pack a day.