Until now I have called myself a weekend smoker, « such a light smoker, » and even, falsely, an outright non-smoker. Because I have always been a fairly and relatively light smoker AND, simultaneously, a marathon runner, I would incessantly debate in my head: what is the big deal? « You smoke so little you can still run Boston qualifying marathon times. » I would tell myself. Other times, like Saturday mornings, after a night of drinking and five or six cigarettes, I would wake up with the stink, the laboured breathing, the disgusting clots of thick mucous. In those moments I knew that even light smoking was toxic and stupid and disgusting and was having an effect. And in the last few years, those nights of drinking and extra cigarettes were certainly no longer confined to only Fridays or Saturdays.
It hurt my pride to admit I was a smoker. It hurt my pride more to admit I needed help. Accountability, for the most part. Apparently being accountable to myself wasn’t cutting it, and that in itself is telltale and disappointing. I made a pact with a friend who was in a very similar boat to mine. We both quit. November first. On the evening of November second, I had two cigarettes. I find it fascinating the fast-swaying seesaw of such absolute determination and then less than two days later, such absolute disregard for what I know is smart and healthy and in my best interest, to put it lightly.
Last Friday (the thirteenth) was my birthday. I had considered getting hypnotized to completely eliminate the minimal smoking I do. I decided against it due to cost and skepticism.
It being my birthday, I was also not accepting Airbnb guests for the weekend.
Then, two days before my birthday, I received an Airbnb request for one night, my birthday, and the reservation request was from no one other than a hypnotist from Ottawa who specializes in smoking cessation.
We chatted and worked out a free stay in exchange for the one-hour hypnosis. I was excited. Smoking, even minimally, is stupid, stinky and expensive (and delicious with wine, but alas, I digress). I was too doubtful to cough up the $500 for such an approach to quitting smoking, but « fate » has now brought me this method for free.
The hypnosis will work because I choose it to. There is no magic. It is more like a baptism of thought; a rite of passage. The formality, the ritual, the unique marking of a specific moment. Determined enough to out myself, wear my shame, ask for help. It is any and all of these things. It is ME.
I am now a non-smoker.