Men fail much oftener from want of perseverance than from want of talent.
I used to smoke cigarettes, nearly a pack a day of Marlboro menthol lights. I smoked for roughly 16 years, and tried quitting probably as many times. Each new year would bring another promise to myself to kick the habit. Varying degrees of success were achieved, using all sorts of smoking cessation methods. I tried prayers, and patches, and gums. I tried switching brands and going cold turkey. Every year I’d have some success, but inevitably I’d find myself again with a cigarette and lighter in my hands.
I vaguely remember that I had almost kicked the habit in 1998, but somehow after nearly six months of being a non-smoker, I bummed a cigarette from a friend, and inhaled the drug I was craving.
Nineteeen-hundred-ninety-nine would however prove to be a turning point. The challenge to quit, a ritualized resolution now. I remember using the nicotine patch for a couple of weeks, but when my patches ran out this time, I just went cold turkey. Every day I got up, and didn’t smoke. No cigarettes with coffee, no cigarettes with beer. No smoking in the car, no smoking in a bar. No smoking in my chair, no smoking anywhere. Weeks went by, then months, and my lungs were clearing, my sense of smell and taste were returning too. This time, the quitting stuck.
Looking back I remember how hard it was to break the addiction to nicotine.
I’ve probably been promising myself nearly every year that I would achieve the level of physical fitness I so desire, and every year some steps toward losing weight, beginning a workout regimen and becoming a marathon runner are taken. But the goal of having the lean chiseled physique attainable by this now middle aged man who has aches and pains in his knees and feet, remains just out of my grasp. Each year, the promise is made that this will be the year, and each year, I have failed to achieve that goal.
The process of becoming an ex-smoker was wrought with one failed attempt after another. Until my umpteenth attempt to quit, finally succeeded.
So I begin again.