Who would’ve ever thought that after starting to smoke at age thirteen, I’d give it up. It was part of me since I was a child. Smoking was comforting. Smoking was there for me when I felt alone. Smoking was dedicated and devoted to me. Who was I to let it go?

I remember visiting my doctor just before my 50th birthday, and I told her that I wanted to quit smoking sometime during my fiftieth year of life. I was determined that this would be my year. At that point in my life, I had given smoking my entire adult years, and part of my childhood. What did I have to lose? I wanted an opportunity to be healthy going into my senior years, and hopefully not die from some dreadful smoking-related illness. My doctor did not believe I was serious, as the anti-depressants that she previous gave me for smoking cessation, did not work. I convinced my doctor to give me a prescription for Chantix, and I could begin using it when I was ready. I went straight to the pharmacy and filled the prescription.

I went home and sat that box of Chantix on the corner of my dresser where I could clearly see it. So there it sat. One month went by, and I am still looking at it. I had my fiftieth birthday, and that box that was as dedicated as my cigarettes had been. It had not moved from where it was placed. Two months go by, and I am having to dust the box off like it was a knick-knack. Time was not stopping for me to make this life-changing choice. I was well into my 50th year of life on this earth. Then something suddenly happened.

My ex-husband had passed away from something very controllable. (To make a long story short, in many ways his death had a major impact on my life, which I will share at another time.) Several weeks after my ex’s passing, one of my son’s was reading to me the findings on his father’s death certificate, which included the damage a lifetime of smoking can create. This broke my heart to have my son read something so personal and so final, hoping that the ending could have been different. My ex-husband had no choices left. I still had choices. I did not want my son reading my death certificate one day wishing I would have made different choices. What better reason to want to make changes in my life? After six months of sitting on my dresser, I began taking the Chantix the next day.

Chantix worked wonderfully! I am proud to say at this writing, I have now been smoke-free eight years today. I accomplished what I had set out to do, which was to quit smoking during my fiftieth year of life. Even though my children had asked me to quit many times before, I didn’t quit earlier because I wasn’t ready. This time I had psyched myself out, and I was ready. I felt it easier to challenge myself without the pressure to quit from others. I had to do this for me. I would have resented doing this for anyone else. Whatever the reasoning was behind this decision, I have never felt better in my life. Smoking was a comfort-zone for me, and I love it. However, I needed to let it go. We had a good 37 year run.