Why We Need Annoying Ex-Smokers

Jim Christopher Health Guide
  • He had a pack of Kools and asked if I smoked; I said no – I was one of those annoying ex-smokers.  I said that visiting friends and colleagues were always welcome to step outside to utilize one of the many large ashtrays attached to the walls throughout our large condo complex. The gated community had been constructed in 1978, a more “smoker friendly” era. These old ashtrays – although a remnant of the past – still served a useful purpose, I felt, in accommodating nicotine addicts and keeping toxins the hell away from my place.

    Many years before, Ed Batis, a colleague in the addiction recovery field, had commented after dinner with friends in a small restaurant, “Jim’s taking his addiction for a walk,” as I stepped outside into the rain to light up. Ed, of course, was one of those annoying ex-smokers who cherish fresh air and pink lungs. He had the stamina of a much younger individual and gave exhilarating addiction recovery talks to attentive groups in numerous settings: treatment centers, hospitals, conferences. Ed and other annoying ex-smokers were inspirational figures to me, long before I bid adieu to cigarettes.

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    My gradual, deliberate escape from the chokehold of tobacco did not include a fond farewell, nor did I nostalgically swoon over past smoking memories. I, instead, cursed cigarettes under my breath after I was safely on the other side of the fence and a grateful member of the annoying ex-smoker league. Glamorizing horror is not for me today.

    Ed couldn’t step into my shoes and stop smoking for me; I get to take full credit for my magnificent achievement. I’ve been nicotine free since 1993 and plan to stay free.

    Are you strolling in the park today with pink lungs or are you tragically taking your addiction for another walk? Are you one of the growing throng of annoyingly joyous ex-smokers or are you a weary nicotine addiction-laden traveler, trudging ultimately toward diminishing returns?

    Are you exuberantly running in place, sweating gleefully in a gym, visualizing a forthcoming splash in a cool pool, or are you still taking your addiction for yet another walk away from a healthier, happier life?

    Ed’s example shouted volumes without a single spoken word:  I’m so very grateful for having had annoying ex-smokers in my life, both before and after.


    Read more on quitting smoking and fighting cravings:

    How to Stay Nicotine-free in the Face of Pain

    Use Positive Reinforcement Lists to Help Stay Quit

    Welcome to Marlboro Country

    Nicotine Substitutes: To Use or Not to Use?

    Check out escapefromnicotinecountry.net. I look forward to being with you again next week.


Published On: July 30, 2008