|Why I Quit Smoking|
I was a jock in high school in the late Eighties. And a smoker.
A chain smoker.
I got hooked after I tried it at age 16 in Grade 11 and I couldn't stop. I became an addict right away.
I woke up every morning and thought about smokes. Before school, I smoked.
I thought it was cool on some level, but I also needed it. Craved it. I was no "social" smoker. I felt the withdrawal if I went long without it.
I was the point guard on my basketball team. I smoked before basketball practice, after basketball practice, during half time of basketball games if I could sneak out.
Non-smoking friends and classmates laughed at me. The dumb-ass jock who smoked. Jock-smoker. Oxymoron.
I was slightly embarrassed but I chose cigarettes.
I loved basketball. I loved smoking. I was the foyer guy, but also the back parking lot guy. Socialize in foyer, go hack a butt in the back.
And my lungs felt it. I was way more winded than the other guys on my team -- non-smokers -- and I got sick way more often. My sinuses were always acting up.
Here's the thing: The problem with addiction is you don't really know you're addicted until shortly after you try something a couple times. It sneaks up on you. Quickly.
And if you have an addictive personality or you're susceptible to something -- if it's in your DNA somehow, like alcoholism -- you can get hooked. And boy did I.
So I smoked my way through the rest of high school and then university. I played varsity soccer. I smoked before practices and games, and after. Couldn't keep up with my teammates on the pitch. Wasn't nearly as good as I could have been for that reason.
I got up to smoking least a pack a day. Two packs if I hit the bars. My smoking intake increased the older I got.
All my clothes reeked, my body reeked, my breath reeked, my teeth were getting stained. My car reeked, my residence room reeked. I reeked. A shower would only temporarily mask the smell. And then I'd light up a smoke again.
After university, I entered the job force, and I still kept right on smoking. Being in journalism, a lot of journalists smoked then still. So it was perfectly acceptable. And despite my wife's protestations, I just kept right on at it. Not around her ever or in our house but outside or wherever.
Now about my wife.
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