Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ending a relationship

I dumped a loved one last night after 10 years of being together. It isn't the first time I have done it, but I hope it is the last time.

The three prior times I stopped the relationship, I quickly ran back to it after a month or two as soon as I had faced adversity in my life. It was always there for me and if given the opportunity, it always will be there waiting to embrace me with open arms.

Ironically, I will have a harder time with the breakup than it will. It's as if it knows that I will be back.

Not this time, though. I can't go back after hearing these words from my daughter.

"Daddy, I saw on TV today that smoking can kill you. Is that true?"

My heart sank just hearing the way she asked me. Shelby seemed so upset about what was about to come, despite not knowing the answer.

How do I answer that question without upsetting her even more? More importantly, though, how can I live with myself knowing that my habit was causing my daughter to worry about my mortality.

As hard as it was for me, I answered her with the truth.

"Yes baby. Cigarettes can kill you. It doesn't happen over night, but it can cause you to get sick and maybe even die."

"Then you have to stop... please Daddy."

My daughters have asked me to stop smoking before, but never the way Shelby did. It was the first time where I could actually see the pain in her face at the prospects of losing me.

So, last night at 10:15 p.m., I smoked what I hope to be my last cigarette. It has to be my last cigarette.

In my life, I have climbed to the the top of Mt. Whitney (the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet), jumped out of an airplane, and ran in and finished two Los Angeles Marathons. However, if I am successful in quitting, I will view it as my greatest personal accomplishment.

That's how hard I know this is going to be. Smoking isn't just something I did, but it became part of who I was. As a casual drinker who has gotten drunk in the past, I can say that I have never miss getting drunk or drinking at all.

Smoking will be missed for me. A non-smoker can't understand, but smoking and I did have a relationship. I turned to it for everything. I truly loved to smoke.

That's why today was as hard as I thought it was going to be for me. All day I had thoughts of smoking and wanting so bad to bum a smoke from a co-worker. It truly was something that I could not get out of my head no matter how hard I tried.

Fortunately, though, Shelby's face and the way she looked when pleading with me to quit also kept popping into my head. It was that thought that kept me from going back to smoking.

At least for today.

I view my blog as a mirror of sorts, the way I that I see myself. While I may have been able to lie or mislead other people, I have never been able to lie to myself when looking at a mirror at the end of a day.

So, I will never lie to my blog about whether or not I have smoked. I hope that this will also help me quit as I will have to face my blog at the end of each day. Wish me luck and feel free to offer up any tips that may have helped you or anyone you know who has successfully quit smoking.

There is nothing better than having friends who prevent you from going back to a bad relationship.


  1. I'm not a smoker, never have been and for that I am thankful. However, several of my friends, relatives, and co-workers have tried this book, and it has worked:
    I wish you good luck and good health!

  2. Good luck...remember that if you do take the "wrong road", it is okay to turn around and get on the right road.

    I think this is one relationship that you will always miss, but glad you don't have any more.

    Keep that picture in your head of your me she is worth it!!!

  3. I'm a smoker and I've wanted to stop for ever now. But I'm sure if I had that cute lil face of hers looking up at me, it would make me sick to even look at cigarette again.

    Good Luck!

  4. I never smoked. Never tried, never tempted. My parents smoked. I thought cigarettes stunk, their breath stunk. I was embarrassed that they smoked. I was never tempted.

    Eventually they both quit. Dad did it by weaning himself off cigarettes with a pipe. I think my mother weaned herself off them too.

    I know this is a hard habit to break. I hope you are successful!

  5. Good luck in your effort to stop smoking! It is a very good thing that you are doing for yourself and for your family. I've never smoked, so I don't have any good advice on quitting except maybe to keep tons of gum around.

  6. I quit smoking in November 2007. I smoked for the better part of 20 years but I wasn't a hardcore smoker - usually 5 or 6 cigarettes a day - but I enjoyed it like you did. It was such a source of stress relief.

    Quitting was relatively easy for me. I have smoked one or two cigarettes on a couple of occasions since then, and one event in my life made me think about buying a pack very recently but I didn't.

    I guess I don't have any words of wisdom but I do have all kinds of encouragement. Do whatever it takes to get past the urges - wait 10 minutes, chew gum, chew carrot sticks or celery, walk, call someone, whatever. I've heard that it takes 3 weeks to establish a habit so if you can tough it out for that long, I bet you will feel much stronger.

    I can tell you this - I don't have the random cough, the raspy laugh, I don't worry about smelling smoky, and my body feels cleaner than it did those years I was smoking.

    My best wishes to you! Kicking this relationship to the curb is the best gift you can give your girls...and yourself.

  7. I quit smoking 17 years ago. I actually went to a hypnotist. It worked! Good luck!!

    Oh, and welcome to blog land! Enjoy!

  8. I don't smoke so I can't truly undersatnd your struggle however a person who can and does all the things you listed is made of strong stuff!
    You CAN do this! Good for you...good for Shelby!
    You have a great blog!

  9. I used to smoke too. As soon as i got pregnant with my first child i just stopped cold turkey. I have casually smoked a cigarette here and there for years but every day wake up the next morning and think gross... my mouth smells horrible. Why did i do that ? I think for me now it is a thing of cost.. thinking of how much they cost and how much i could save . Maybe you could try and keep a jar like my dad did .. he put in there everytime he didnt buy a pack what a pack would cost .. used it for his vacation then with us .
    Good thing your daughter doesnt go to work with you.. she would be watching you! I have girls about the same ages as yours and they have ears and eyes like a hawk!
    Good luck!

  10. I smoked years ago..I was in high school and it was more for the "coolness" of it than anything. I quit easily however I find myself in times of trouble that I still would love to have one. It simply calmed me down. Of course I would never do it now because of my children but that doesn't stop me from wishing every now and again. Today I can't stand the smell of it..I smell it from a mile away and it drives me gives me migraines however I still think about it from time to time. Odd how that works,isn't it? I think what your daughter said was very profound and I find it amazing that you took what she said to heart! You are an amazing father for listening to her worries like you did and for acting on them!!

    Thanks for visiting my blog..I love to have visitors. Feel free to stop by whenever you like. I'm going to keep in touch with yours and hopefully out here in the bloggerworld we can all be a source of inspiration and motivation to each other.

  11. Good can do it.:) What a wonderful thing to do for your girls, and yourself. I remember begging my dad to stop smoking......he still hasn't to this day.

    Now, what will you do with the money you save? That's the big question. :)

    I hope that this weekend you plan different activities so that it's harder to break into the old habit and routine of smoking......

  12. Read about my relationship with cigarettes HERE:
    and if you scroll down to the very bottom of my blog, I have a counter that tells you how much $ i've saved!
    I did it with Chantix.
    But I'm sure you can do it with "baby girl"
    I'll say a prayer for you!

  13. I smoked for over 13 years, but quit several times along the way. I tried various methods for quitting and in the end I weaned myself. Even down from 1-1 1/2 packs a day to three, that first day was hard. I allowed myself a trip to Mr. Bulky candy store and bought ANYTHING I wanted to keep the smoke hole happy.
    I have quit for over 10 years now. I just needed to practice quitting a few times before I finally got it right. Now, you couldn't pay me a million dollars to go back. Good Luck!
    PS I've heard the nicotine gum helps!

  14. I smoked for many years. I began to detest it. I hated the smell, the distress it caused my children, the victim I felt, being chained to an addiction.
    I began to try to overcome this demon. It took me years, & many different methods, but I absolutely persisted. I won! I have been smoke free for 20 years. Would I smoke again today? NO WAY! Do I ever miss it? NO WAY.

  15. Good man. Your daughter is your best reason to give up. Not the only one though. My dad died of smoking related lung cancer last September. It is not pretty.

    The thing is to change your view of it; once you see it as a conniving, lying and very treacherous enemy rather than as a reliable friend you are in a better position to resist it.

  16. Oh, I sure hope you can quit, for your girls and mostly for YOU!

    My husband HAD quit last fall with Chantix but now he's back to smoking. I hope he will eventually find what works for him to quit forever. Maybe when one of our boys pleads with him like your daughter did...

    Good Luck.

    OH and Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! : )

  17. Good luck giving up Coachdad, from another reformed smoker. I LOVED smoking too, and have been known to have the odd sneaky one at times of emotional stress. But I never want to go back now, the expense, the smell, the way it sucks up your life. Do it for all your girls.

    My partner gave up really easily, his 3 rules were 1. Never ask for a cigarette 2. Say no when you're offered one and 3. Drink water every time you get a craving. I found it harder than that (I was more emotionally attached) but I found that the physical craving for nicoting passed quite quickly, in 2 days, so if you can get through that it's all a bit easier on the other side.

  18. hey coach dad, I am so impressed, you seem like such a good dad! thanks for the kind comment to me, i really appreciate it. I wish i had some good advice to give you re the smoking...i've not tried it but i hear how hard it is to quit. you have the best motivation though,your precious (adorable)daughters. YOU CAN DO IT! or you'll have to give your self a lap.
    xx lori

  19. You'll do it, CD. Every time you look at Selby, you'll be reminded of the reason why!

  20. Best wishes in your efforts. I know it must be very hard.

    Thank you for stopping by synchronizing yesterday. Such a to-do!

  21. First of all, Coachblogger, the first step is wanting to stop, as you know. So congratulations! Only YOU know when it is time to stop and when you are motivated enough. I was never a smoker but my ex-partner was and this is what I learned from her (since you asked):

    She first tried the NicoDerm patch before I knew her but it "never worked." Once she was with me, she talked about trying it again but THIS time I read the directions. It uses 3 different levels that have a designated stretch of time. In her first attempt, she did NOT go the full length of each level, so in her second attempt, I made her promise to take each level for the entire length of time it suggested. She did...and this time it worked.

    She had been smoking for 35 years, 2 packs a day!

    Thanks, BTW, for stopping by my blog. It's always fun to find new this case, probably through my sister, Ruth, at Sychronizing! It's a small world after all. :)

  22. I quit July 2000. (I met my wife in June 2000.)

    Good luck. The only info I can give you is that even after more than eight years, you may still be tempted, so always be strong.

  23. We've all got your back! I've quit other addictions but I've been told smoking is the hardest one to over come. Stick with it, your life and the lives of your children are worth it!

  24. I have total respect and empathy for your task at hand. My parents smoked in the 70's and both quit before 1980 together. Knowing what I know now, that amazes me. I do remember lots and lots of toothpicks around the cars. But, they both were successful.

    My own cigarette addiction lasted one night 10 beers, 9 cigarettes, and two days wishing that God would just take me. I guess I really can't relate. Good luck, Man.

  25. Yeah you!! You can do is going to be hard but just remember your daughters and how much they love hour at a time you will make it. Thanks for stopping by my blog...

  26. I have heard it's harder to quit than heroin. It's good to keep orange juice around, I believe.

    Way to go with all the comments just starting blogging, dude.

  27. Good Luck! I'm proud of you for deciding it's time to try to quit.

    It's really heartbreaking when your kids realize that you aren't invincible!

  28. I had to leave you a comment and encourage you. I quit 5 years ago. I smoked a pack and a half a day and I LOVED it!!!! If someone would invent a "harmless cigarette" you bet your ass I would be back smoking in a nano sec. Quitting was pure HELL. I did it on my own and suffered through it. From night sweats to mood swings I had it all. just learning to do things different. I smoked since I was 13 (horrible huh?) and there were so many things that I did that I had to have a cigarette for. Like one with my morning coffee, sitting on the crapper (sorry) talking on the phone, driving in my car. It was like loosing your hand and learning everything over again. slowly went away and now I can breathe like never before, now I can smell people who smoke ( who knew how bad you stink?)and I can promise you this....I will NEVER go back. It no longer owns me or my good can definately do this!

  29. Put that cig down--if nothing else for those beautiful children of yours!

    I have never smoked, so I guess I can say that easy enough. I know it must be hard, but every time you think about lighting up look at your girls, or a photo of them if they are not around.

    It is proven that kids who see their parents smoke are more likely to be smokers.

    Just lookin' out for you!