ok, wow... this was a **really** hard one to do... especially that last column of journaling... i cried like a baby while i was typing it. whew. (...was even harder to post... i feel all exposed.) anyway... just a little letter to my sweet gage...
JOURNALING: It’s been almost 19 years since I tried that first cigarette. Please note here that I was 13 years old. Everyone in my family smoked, (including my very cool and popular older sister)… everyone at school smoked… it just seemed natural. I was a full-blown smoker by age 14 and was allowed to smoke in front of my parents by age 15. Don’t think badly of them… smoking back then wasn’t near as big a deal as it is today. The health problems associated with it were just coming to surface… there wasn’t even an age requirement to buy them… it just wasn’t a huge issue. Anyway… I could have quit at any time then. I even did quit for almost a year during my senior year in high school, but I had huge plans at that time that didn’t quite pan out the way I thought… so out of sheer rebellion, I started back. But as the years went by and more and more “breaking news” surfaced, the more I realized that I had a big problem… but not necessarily the one you may be thinking of. You see… my “big problem” wasn’t so much that I was addicted… it was that I LOVED to smoke. I felt grown up, I felt accepted, and I LOVED having an “action” to perform when I was stressed out or upset… it just put closure to it… I could then relax. I justified it in so many ways. I didn’t do drugs, I got good grades, I worked hard, I didn’t get into trouble… if smoking cigarettes was the worst thing I did… I wasn’t too bad off.
So… your dad and I knew it was time. We tried (again) last year to quit… cold turkey… lasted for 46 days. We were both miserable the ENTIRE time. It was awful. I was literally mad at how hard it was. We hung in there for as long as we could. But low and behold… as life would have it… stressful circumstances crept in and we broke like twigs. Gage… you were devastated. You were so proud of us for quitting and the day I had to confess to you that we had started back probably marked my lowest point ever as your mom. So, here we are a year later. Nana told us about this new "quitting smoking" drug called Chantix. Dad tried it first. He shelled out $130 bucks for it (hardly the cost of a month’s worth of cigarettes) and gave it a go. Within 2 weeks, he was down to 3 cigarettes a day… another week went by and he had quit altogether. He is now in his 8th smoke-free week. I was getting lonesome going outside all by myself to smoke, and was actually intrigued at how easily he seemed to be resisting. So I started taking it… within 2 weeks, I was down to 3 a day and a week and ½ later, I quit. I am now on my 8th smoke-free day and I must say that I have literally not looked back. I have high hopes and pray on a daily basis that God will continue to strengthen me to win this battle. I know 8 days doesn’t seem like much… but after 19 years… to a creature of habit, like myself… that is huge.
So... please let me say... I’m sorry… for every time I went outside to smoke when you wanted to just keep playing. I’m sorry for every cigarette I smoked while I was pregnant. I’m sorry for every time I smelled like smoke when you hugged me. I’m sorry for every second I set the example that such addictive behavior was okay. I’m sorry for every time you heard at school that smoking kills people and you thought of me and worried. I’m sorry for every time I blew you off when you tried to warn me. I’m sorry for each time you saw me smoke after your warning and wondered if I just didn’t love you enough. I’m sorry for the years I have probably already taken off of my life that can’t be reversed. I’m sorry for some of the things I wasn’t able to buy for you because of the expense of my addiction. I’m sorry, baby. I’m so sorry.