Monday, February 23, 2009


"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."

Morpheus, 1999

While the red pill sounded more fun (and more like my personality) I took the blue pill.

84 of them to be exact.

I'm tired of saying, "I'm officially a non-smoker." Instead, I will now say, "I'm officially a former Chantix junkie." I'm sincerely glad that both phases of my life are over.

I'll admit that I've had a few smokes since the first of the year, since I decided to quit for good. And, while I've only had a few that I've truly wanted, I can honestly say that I have had zero that I've enjoyed. The smell, the aftertaste, all of it. I'm glad that it's over.

It hasn't been easy. That much is true. Smoking is the most frustrating of all catch-22s I've found. When you are frustrated or anxious, you want a cigarette. But, when you are attempting to quit, you can't have a cigarette when you're frustrated or anxious which makes you frustrated and anxioius which makes you want a cigarette even more, one which you can't have, which in turn makes you even more frustrated and anxious . . .

. . . No matter how hard you try you can't find a place to put the period at the end of anything you feel.

Eventually, you feel like your head is going to explode and you can't think straight and you're yelling at people who don't deserve it. You find yourself flicking the ashes off of your pen, or even worse, taking a drag off the unlit end. You tap-double tap your cigarette pockets as if motioning a runner in the distance to steal. You crack the window of your car no matter the occasion, temperature or current precipitation.

But then you wake up one day and you grab the coffee and kiss the wife on the way out the door, heading off into the sunrise. You make it through the morning and it doesn't even cross your mind. You go through your new routines, your new habits, and you continue to build a new way of interacting with your nicotine free world.

And then, you smell it on someone from 20 feet away. It hits you like 10-month old chocolate pie. At first, your mouth waters and your eyes glaze. You instinctively reminisce the aroma, the flavor, the feel of a long forgotten friend.

Then, your nose starts to burn. Your eyes water a little and the smell begins to repulse you immediately. With every step the smoker takes in your direction, the smell becomes worse. And even though your body, your mind, your everything tells you that you want one, you know that you don't. You know that you'll smell that way when you light one up. You know that people will smile and shake your hand throughout the day and now you'll know the truth of the look on their face.

Tomorrow, I'll be on my on. The Chantix will start to wear off and work it's way out of my system. The wonderfully bizarre dreams will turn into the dull black & white ones that I was having before Christmas. I don't know how strong the urges will be or if they will ever even return.

But, I do know that people won't be repulsed by my smell before they ever see my face. I know that friends won't struggle to breath while in the room with me. I know that my clothes and my car won't smell like an armpit at Woodstock at any more.

To hell with it...

"I'm officially a non-smoker!"


  1. Congrats! I hope it lasts. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  2. Good for you! I was starting to get worried about your lack of posts. I'm glad to hear you are doing well and you've overcome this challenge.

  3. Congrats, JV - I just hope that you don't become officially a non-blogger :)

  4. That is awesome! I can't imaging how difficult that is.

  5. Hey, awesome! I'm pulling for you. The guy I work with can't seem to stay in that club, so I hope you'll be a permanent member!