As I walked through the hallway I’d glance at the package, hundreds of times it seemed. Why did I pick that spot? I knew.
Every time I’d tried to quit smoking I’d always gone through this same little conversation with myself. ‘As soon as I finish this pack, I’m done!’ And I always was, for some period of time. I think five months was my longest, a couple hours, my shortest.
It was always too easy, and then too hard. While I was smoking the rest of my last pack, I was so confident! Best decision I ever made! I will be so much healthier! Think of the money I’ll save! Then I’d smoke the last one, and afterwards, panic, withdrawal, rationalization.
How can I take my break? Ride in my car? Hang around with friends? How can I get organized in the morning without that first smoke? How can I go to bed at night without that last? Every moment when I formerly smoked suddenly seemed so empty. I’d buy another pack.
So, new plan. Knowing I couldn’t trust myself I decided to force the issue. No more “when,” just “now.” I had about three cigarettes left in the pack, maybe four. I quit. I put the pack on the corner of a table in the hallway. I had to go through that hallway to get from anywhere in my apartment to anywhere else in my apartment. I had to pass that pack of cigarettes a dozen times a day. Every time I passed it, I looked at it. I knew I could walk over and take one out, but I knew if I did, then it was over. I was twenty-seven years old.
I quit smoking a million times, the last time stuck for forty-three years.