End Smoking Addiction

Anne Mitchell

When we are born, we gasp our first breath of life-giving air and use our lungs to make our needs known. As we get older, we run and play and use our lungs to capacity to win races and holler to our friends. We take our lungpower for granted – it is our God-given right to be able to breathe.

Then we try our first cigarette and our lungs rebel. We cough and choke because our bodies aren’t made to absorb smoke and chemicals. As those chemicals make their way through our bloodstream, we feel the exciting new sensations from nicotine and we think to ourselves, “That wasn’t so bad, and it felt pretty good – maybe I’ll smoke a little more. But I certainly won’t smoke until I get addicted!”

All of us feel invincible when we’re young. It’s probably hardwired into our brains so we will be brave enough to go out into the world to find a mate and hunt for food. This sense of invincibility leads us to believe that we have control over our lives and that we will not fall victim to addiction. What I finally learned was each time I tried to quit was another experience in success. The noose was actually getting a little looser (despite what my emotions were telling me) and eventually I was able to shake it off altogether.

We think we won’t get addicted, yet we so often do. We think we won’t get lung cancer or lung disease, yet so many of us do. We are pretty sure we can quit smoking while we’re still young, but what we find is that we’re hooked and it has become a serious problem.

Quitting smoking becomes a matter of saving our own lives. Every day we do things that help build the bodies we will have in the future. Clearing the air we breathe is a tremendous gift we can give to ourselves.

I often thought during my late teens and early twenties that I could quit whenever I wanted to. I just wasn’t ready yet! I would tell people, “I’ll never be a 30-something smoker.” I thought I was way too smart to become an “old” smoker. I certainly did not want to get emphysema and have to lug around an oxygen tank... or worse.

But when I tried to quit I found I did not have control over the addiction – it had already ensnared me in its noose. Trying to break free felt like agony and every time I relapsed it felt like the noose was tightening.

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