I wish that I could sit here and tell you my recent decision to quit smoking was for a selfless reason; that I quit for the health of my children, to set a good example for them while minimizing their exposure to second-hand smoke. I wish I could tell you that it was because I want to get healthy and live longer to see my children get married or enter Holy Orders. I mean, I do want to live a healthier lifestyle, but this was not the real, driving reason I woke up this past Monday (8/14/17) and decided that I was done smoking.
I decided to quit because it’s ruining my voice.
I’m 28, and already I can hear that raspiness associated with old biker ladies who have smoked three packs a day since they were, well, my age. I don’t want to be that lady whose voice sounds like her vocal chords are made of sandpaper.
This is especially true when it comes to singing, which I’ve done basically since birth. I love singing. Always have, and always will. What I don’t love is being unable to sing simple measures because my lung capacity has been diminished by smoking. I don’t love the rattling in my lungs and throat when I sing because of the buildup smoking has caused. The songs I love to sing the most have become more and more difficult over the years, and with every cigarette, I’m stealing away my own gift, and one of the things I love to do most in the world.
So, as shallow as it is, the fear of losing my singing voice is what has pushed me into quitting. And this is what continues to push me through the temptation every time see/smell/or hear about a cigarette. Smoking just isn’t worth it when I think about never being able to sing again because I get lung or throat cancer, or because my voice will sound like rubbing bricks together.
And you know the crazy thing?
I’m not usually the person who just decides to do something drastic like this and then does it. I’m that person who needs to mull it over for a few years, who needs statistics and motivational Memes and scary-truth tactics like the CDC’s smoking and tobacco use campaign, because I lack anything resembling self-discipline. And while I’m not usually one for calling something a miracle, this ability of mine to just… quit… kinda feels like a miracle. Or maybe I’m just growing up and becoming more disciplined. Who knows?
So today is day 5, and while it’s not as sucky as it was a day or two ago, I am still in a state of unpleasantness. I’m having to rewire my brain from deeply embedded routines like smoking after I eat, smoking whenever I go outside, smoking when I drink, and smoking on a particularly stressful day. *pointed glare at yesterday* I’m fighting a visceral “necessity” to go through a set of motions I have for a long time, that I suddenly decided to stop doing cold-turkey.
For anyone thinking of quitting, yes, it’s hard. Even so, if we could eat better, quit sodas, quit smoking, or extract other nasty habits from our lives without any effort, what would stop us from going back to it later? Because, from where I’m standing at this moment, I never ever want to have to go through nicotine withdrawals again. This means I either quit for good now, or I start again and never stop, and die a really nasty death that my family will be forced to endure right along with me.
(Speaking from experience, watching someone die from smoking is horrible and I don’t wish it on anyone)
Luckily, while my husband isn’t ready to give up his own habit quite yet, he is very supportive of my decision. He doesn’t pressure me or mock me or get upset when I don’t come out with him. Plus, he’s probably happy that he no longer has to supply two people’s habits, or have me bumming off his pack everyday. Because… you know… smoking cigarettes looks a lot like this:
While part of me feels completely conceited and shallow for the reason I’ve chosen to quit smoking, another part of me thinks: is there really a bad reason to stop smoking? I mean, I guess if you were going to quit smoking to pick up another awful–or even worse–habit, then yeah. And truly I think it would be worse to say, “I know that all these awful things could happen to me and my family if I continue to smoke, but I choose to do it anyways”, than it is to say I’m quitting because I value my voice too much.