I smoked cigarettes in 1984.
I was working at Viking Penguin and coordinating two large sales conferences per year.
Whilst attending the sales conferences, all there was to do was listen to the descriptions of upcoming books, eat, drink coffee, and smoke. In those days, one could smoke wherever they liked and everyone around me smoked through the meetings. I don't drink coffee, I'm not a compuslive eater, so I smoked.
I probably smoked sometime during college, clubbing and socializing, but not the way I did when I was working.

At some point that year I discovered I was pregnant. K and I had been trying to conceive but I didn't think it would happen as quickly as it did. It was easy to stop smoking. I spent too much time throwing up to even consider cigarettes, so I stopped before I even knew I was pregnant.

I smoked again during 1989. I was back at work, freelance, at Viking Penguin, and I was anxiety ridden and surrounded, once again, by smokers. We were able to smoke in the office so it was easy. K was working to move within the ranks from Production Coordinator to Producer and didn't work as much as he had in previous years, so I was worrying.
I can always find an excuse.

I don't think I smoked when the writers went on strike in 1988 - K didn't have work for a long time then either. And I didn't smoke in 2001 when 9/11 effected several businesses that K had ties to, even though I took a job and was very afraid. And I never smoked through dozens of other crisis situations that effected our family.

I'm smoking now though.
I started sometime in June. I don't remember if there was a specific thing that made me buy a pack of cigarettes. It could have been the trips to the emergency room that month, it could have been PMS, I really can't recall.
I don't like that I'm smoking - but I like to smoke.
It feels better to have something to do when I fret, though I try to wash my hands, never smoke anywhere near Youngest, and always feel ashamed about it.
I know all the arguments against it: the health issues, the risks, the dangers - and yet, for now, I can find reasons each day to use smoking to steady my nerves.
I tell myself that I'm not addicted, but know I am.
I try not to have more than a certain number a day - but that doesn't always work.
I don't like that I'm doing it - but I like doing it.

Each of the times that I smoked I quit when I wanted to.
I stopped cold-turkey.
I tell myself that's what I'll do this time too... maybe when K is settled, when Youngest seems safe for a certain period of time, or when I'm feeling less fragile.
I tell myself this.
And I hope it's true.


MsCellania said…
Aw, I certainly understand the hook of cigarettes. I smoked for years. I would love to smoke still, after having quit since 1987. I honestly found alcohol easier to give up.
You'll quit when you're ready.
TSintheC said…
Blackbird, I smoke too. Very few people know this. My parents don't know. Most of my co-workers don't know.

I don't smoke much. It can take me two to three months to get through a carton - sometimes that last pack is on the verge of stale - even though they're in the refrigerator and still sealed.

I, like you, like to smoke. I also will stop. Some day. I hope it's true for me, and I hope it's true for you.
Saoirse said…
I crave a cigarette every day. I stopped smoking years ago when my son came out, crying, after finding me on the front porch, having a glass of wine and smoking a cigarette. I didn't even know he was behind me. He was little and I had gotten divorced and, after I put him to bed, would always go outside on the porch, sip some wine and light up. That night, I heard a faint sound, turned around, and there he was looking out the front window and I could see him crying. I ran in the house and asked him what was wrong. "I don't want you to die like Papa did" were the words he gasped out between tears. So, that was that.

There's NOTHING virtuous about that. I traded one vice for another. I have been overweight for years now. I often think about switching vices again--probably both as unhealthy but at least one is less visible.

(God forbid, I should actually NOT have a vice, you know?!)

I think: whatever gets you through. You're a wonderful person, BB and 'ef 'em if someone has anything else contrary to say!
Anonymous said…
I totally know what you mean about needing something to do. For some of us, finger candy is a requirement. I find mine in knitting, although once upon a time it was in cigarettes, too.
country mouse said…
When my daughter was engaged to a skirt chasing-deadbeat-bastard-fucktard-loser, I ate and ate and ate. Sometimes there's nothing to do but give in to the stress. I figured it was either that or go crazy for real. I'll take the pounds over the crazy.

Like others have said, you'll quit when you're ready.
BabelBabe said…
I tend to smoke like you do. I smoked for about six-eight months a few years or so ago, and quit before i found out I was pregnant this time. I LIKE to smoke, as well. It tastes good to me, it gives me something to do, it soothes me, and nothing goes better with a drink. It's a shame it
is so damn bad for you, or I would still do it. On a weird , maybe more positive ? note, my mother smoked for YEARS, decades, a pack or two a day. And she died of cirrhosis of the liver. The 'punchline'? She was pretty much a teetotaler.

so have a smoke, and there will come a time when you'll quit. and then start up again. and quit again, etc. and so what?
Anonymous said…
I used to smoke, too. I quit in 1984. But during really stressful times a few years ago, I had my husband go and buy me those organic tobacco cigarettes ( I was too embarrassed) so I could have one whenever I could get far enough away from my son to pull it off. Maybe twice a week. I felt better smoking those kind because I firmly believe that the additives in commercial cigarettes make them more bad for your health than they would be otherwise.

I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with smoking a few cigarettes a day if they are of good quality tobacco with no additives and pesticides. It's probably good to take some deep, relaxing breaths, even if they are smokey.

So enjoy -- you'll quit when you are ready. Guilt is far more carcinogenic than tobacco, in my opinion.
Anonymous said…
Oh Lord! I thought I was the only one who still loves cigarettes. This toatlly makes me want to go hang out behind the high school gym with the cool girls! Stupid children. Stupid spouses. Stupid surgeon general. (TX Poppet continues muttering to herself as she pops another candy in her mouth)...
alice c said…
Don't beat yourself up about it. Save your energy for other, more important things. And then one day, when you have some spare energy, you can devote to to giving up the evil sticks.
MizMell said…
Looks like I'll be hanging out in the virtual smoking alley with you...
I have smoked a hundred years. Never tried to quit, but--like you-- never smoked around the children. I never smoked IN the house when the children were at home. (Always the garage or the patio)
But when I remarried and moved back to tobacco country, I married a 2-pack-a-day-er, so we smoke where we want and when we want. I still manage to do less than a pack a day.
There are worse things...
Badger said…
I was only ever a social smoker. But I still miss it. I VERY nearly started up in a serious way this summer when Bad Grandma was dying (again). Mmmm, menthols.
Sarah Louise said…
The first guy I ever kissed smoked menthols. So, later in life, when two guys I dated started smoking after not having smoked (dating me was stressing all of us out??) it was like my first kiss all over again, each time. The main thing that keeps me from smoking is that for us depressives if you smoke, it takes longer to get over depression. Other than that, I probably would smoke too.

I'm glad you didn't close the comments.


Unknown said…
I, too, am an on-again, off-again smoker.

I started smoking when I was 20, when I learned how to inhale for a scene I was acting in. Although I had been a nearly militant anti-smoker up until that point I hated how fake smokers look on stage.

I've quit for months at a time, and years at I time. I used to start smoking again each time I worked at a particular theatre and would quit when the show closed.

I've also always quit cold turkey. There've been times when I was just smoked out, and that was it, and other times when it was a more conscious decision.

These days, I usually wait until after dark to smoke, and end the day with a cig or two. Actually, I've been a little stressed out the past week or so and have been having three.

I know it's a short-term solution, but in the short-term, we gotta do what we gotta do to soothe ourselves, and as everyone else has been saying, I believe you and I will both quit when we are ready.

There are definitely worse vices out there...

Hang in there!
Fannie said…
I smoked a pack a day in college. I quit when I met the Saint and he kept flushing them. Stupid boyfriends/husbands. Now, I only smoke OPCs (Other People's Cigarettes). I can go to a party or a bar, smoke four or five cigarettes, and then not smoke again for months at a time. What I can’t do is give up my nightly cocktails. We all have a habit we’re not proud of. Yet the world keeps spinning….
Paula said…
Dale and I quit together years ago, but when Little Dale left for Iraq this time Dale started smoking again at work, he was worried I be mad since he's the one who pushed for us to quit in the first place. I told him it was okay. I almost wish I could smoke again, but I have settled for a cocktail at five o'clock.

Don't beat yourself up, babe.
Saoirse said…
Glad you decided NOT to close comments--I'm loving the stories! Of course, now I REALLY want a cig and a scotch on the rocks (with a twist of lemon, of course)!
Terese said…
For when you are ready
Anonymous said…
Hey, BB, at least you're not smoking crack!
Smoke and B happy.
Anonymous said…
Dunhill Menthols. If I found out I was dying I would take up smoking again tomorrow. After 10 years I STILL lean in to catch the smell and a whiff.

You are in flux and so you smoke. When you are ready you will quit again. I am still more amazed you can watch Survivior then you are in the bathroom blowing smoke out the window!! Better the kids find Mom out back having a smoke then drunk on the couch in the middle of the day. Hang in there.
Anonymous said…
Coming out of lurkdom to remind you we all have our vices (food is what does it for me, much to the dismay of an expanding waistline)and anyone who says differently is lying through their nicotine stained teeth. I quit the butts 25 years ago and still have dreams of smoking... you'll find the willpower when you need it.
Anonymous said…
I quit smoking back in my 20's, but I still miss it sometimes when I catch a sideways whiff. It was so soothing.

Are you soothed?
Anonymous said…
I quit twice when pregnant, then for good when dad had a fatal heart attack 13 yrs ago. Hubby still smokes and I want to smoke every single day. I know one would become 10 a day by day 2.

If you've kicked it before, you'll be able to when you're really ready.
afc said…
am i the only one to realize that you slipped in that you were pregnant in 1981 but that oldest is only 22?

i overeat. and overdrink. and then overeat some more. and maybe smoke a cigarette depending on the crowd (after overdrinking but before overeating).

true confessions.
blackbird said…
Very astute ann(fchen).


Anonymous said…
Ah, sister - don't beat yourself up about it. It's comfortable, it's familiar.

I'd smoke with you. I like it with coffee in the morning, and with red wine with dinner.

Not always, but with friends, it's sneaky, and I like it.
robiewankenobie said…
okay, so seriously. you're an adult. you get to make choices about these things. there are so many things that you haven't been in control's something that you are.

it's a little like wrassling the devil and winning, eh? a little fuck you to death and disease? damnit, there should be a little badass fuck you somewhere in your life. smoke 'em while you got 'em, enjoy 'em, and quit it when you're ready, chica.
Unknown said…
Y'know, I will never admit that I smoke but I bought a few packs of cigarettes recently (and of course threw them out) i've got a pack hidden in one of our out buildings. It was so easy to give up EVERYTHING when I was pregnant (well alcohol, chocolate and cigarettes).
Anonymous said…
How can I be of any help here. I never smoked,(but I tried to, forced by friends in junior high, BLEAH) never liked it and never will.
I am sure you will stop as you've done in the past. My brother is like you. On/off. He was back on beofre leaving for the US...I wonder if he's still smoking...
Anonymous said…
Dearest, I am alarmed at this and could lecture you mightily, but then again, I'm the woman who had to have surgery to lose weight.

One woman's addiction.....

But truly, I miss a cigarette on a warm summer night, with a cup of coffee on the porch.

And now I have cross-addicted to grande-skim-lattes-one-pump-SF caramel.
Anonymous said…
Smoking is evil. As an addict of some acumen, I can tell you that quitting the smoke was about 100x harder than quitting the booze and drugs. I hope that you will quit, but only because I've come to care for you. It's selfish, my wanting you to quit.

And also maybe jealous.
Donna said…
You are so brave to write about this. Hating smokers, like hating fat people, is one of the last "safe" prejudices in our society.

While I don’t smoke and don’t like to be around smoke, I understand where you are coming from.

Thank you, once again, for your honesty. It is one of the things that keeps me coming back to your blog every day.
Heather said…
200 ... wait, 199 marlboro menthol lights ... in my freezer.

that's all I'm sayin'.