I was brainwashed to be a smoker.
I remember my first cigarette – so incredibly disgusting by the way – but I don’t remember the why behind it. I was with my childhood best friend Sarah and I do remember that we really liked to try “adult” things together. I feel like smoking was just that; something grown up and forbidden so a big yes please for both of us.
Years ago, 2 friends advised me to read “The Easy Way to Quit Smoking” and I said cool ok and never read more than a page. This time, a neurologist told me loud and clear that I HAD to quit smoking. Cigarettes are one of the few things MS specialists are positive make the disease worse. So with doctors breathing down my buzzy neck, I read the book in 7 days and haven’t had a puff of smoke since.
Apparently I was brainwashed to think that smoking was something I was addicted to. Something that was needed or wanted or habitual. Turns out it was none of those things – it was just a type of cult that lulled me into its nicotine clutches. It also turns out it wasn’t all that hard to yank myself free.
But it does confound me how we start doing something and make it part of our life as if it was always there. One minute I’m a healthy 16 year-old, the next I’m a smoker. One minute I’m a pack-per-day 40 year-old, the next I’m a happy non-smoker who can’t imagine doing that all those years.
We adapt. Everything changes, everything flows, everything is impermanent, and everything meant to finds its way to us does.
My journey and acceptance of MS make these truths more profound for me than ever.