The Final Smoke.
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I had been smoking for more than ten years but this last summer I finally quit on my birthday. For a 26 year old I have lived an eventful life, no doubt, having been to warzones 4 times already in my life the first time when I was only 19. Smoking was a crutch then, when I was a younger man in the military, very stressful times and the smoking did ‘help’ calm the nerves. I did eventually become used to the warzone life style and the stress levels dropped as the wars changed, this is when smoking was no longer a crutch but was now the worst habit I had.
I started when I was a high schooler, trying to look ‘cool’ and being a bit of a screw up, OK a big screw up. I was very poor then as most high school kids are so I couldn’t always afford to buy cigarettes and being in class for most of the day made smoking more of a social thing for me then. When I turned 18 while in ARMY basic training I hadn’t been smoking for 3 months, I should have taken the opportunity to stay off of smoke but I didn’t. Not long after I finished all of my military schooling and was back home with my friends from high school who all smoked did I find myself smoking again. This is when is became a crutch, soon I was in the exotic land of KS, leaving the SF Bay Area which has a metro population of about 8 million to then go to a state that has less than 2.5 million people there was a big shock for me, more than basic training was. The worst was still to come when I was up to more than 2 packs of cigarettes a day while in Iraq and only 19. Like I had said though, I had become used to the lifestyle in Iraq what was once a crutch just became habit.
After I came back from Iraq the first time I started to take my fitness more seriously but was still smoking, like putting diesel fuel in a high performance vehicle. Was eating healthier too but was still smoking. My father developed cancer, which means my risk is higher, was still smoking. It wasn’t until my last trip to Afghanistan and while just day dreaming that I started to do the math, for more than 10 years I had been smoking, my birthday was 2 days away. For some reason that number just spoke to me. I was fixated on 10, 10 years I had been putting this harmful stuff in my body and I know it’s bad for me too. I have been smoke free for 4 months now, I have been smoke free for longer times before but never took it too seriously, this time I intend to stick with it.