Thursday, February 5, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard (if at all)...

I was once a smoker. I started smoking in high school. However, I didn't really smoke that much then, just a butt here & there, mainly with friends. When it developed into a habit was when I went into Basic Training with the Air Force. That was 1980.

Back then, there was no ban on tobacco in the military as there is now. I started smoking in earnest because smokers were given smoke breaks. Those who didn't smoke had to stay in the barracks & clean, shine shoes, make beds, etc. I wanted an extra break, so I took up smoking. By the time those 6 weeks were done, I had a regular habit. I was smoking about a pack a day.

So it continued throughout the rest of my stint in the military and beyond. I pretty much leveled out at 2 packs a day, which at the time was about $4 a day. After about ten years of it, I started thinking about how much I was spending on smokes each week. It was close to $15, and at the time that seemed to be a lot. I was thinking that I wanted to quit.

Then, one day my Dad needed me to take him for his annual MRI at the time. The night before, I smoked the last cigarette in the pack. I hadn't decided to quit yet. I remember thinking that after I picked Dad up the next morning, I needed to stop & get a pack of smokes. But Dad was running late the next day & I had to drive like crazy so he could make his appointment. The cigarettes would have to wait.

After I got him to the MRI place, I asked the receptionist where the nearest convenience store was. It wasn't within walking distance, and I didn't have time to drive there before Dad was finished. So, I was going to have wait until we were headed back home to get my cigarettes. But, Dad wanted to go straight home, and we started talking so I completely forgot to stop.

To make a long story short(er), I went the entire day without a cigarette. The odd part was that I didn't realize it until about 7pm that night. When I did remember, I thought, "Well, let's see how long before I really crave one. When I get a real craving, I'll buy a pack." I never got a cigarette craving. Somehow, I had quit smoking without even trying. That was back in July of 1990.

Why am I telling this boring-assed story? Because about 2 months ago, I started having cravings for cigarettes. I don't know what's causing this. The strangest part came last Saturday. I was in a convenience store buying a soda; when I went up to the counter to pay, I came within an inch of asking for a pack of Camel filters (my former brand). It almost popped out when I put the soda on the counter. It was really weird. Even now the thought of having a smoke is actually kind of nice. But, I don't think I'll be having one any time soon. I'm just wondering why these cravings are coming back now? I'll be damned if I know....

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