At this moment, on this turkey-filled day, my friend T-lish has officially lost count of how many hours it has been since her last cigarette. She’s smoked since I’ve known her (four years, I think) and for four years before that. It’s weird to think that when I see her at Christmas (she lives in North Carolina) we won’t bundle up and go sit on the front porch every hour, and I won’t worry about sitting upwind of her so she can smoke a cig. Her purse won’t smell like smoke and lip gloss, and now when she digs around in it for her keys I’ll only get a whiff of candy-flavored Lip Smacker (she’s not twelve, she’s just awesome like that).
I’ve seen T-lish try to quit a couple times. The most memorable was when we both worked at a coffee shop in college and she went cold turkey. It was one of those days where not a single cup of coffee went unspilled, and anyone coming through my line to order decided to put the “custom” in customer, with their grande, nonfat, sugar-free, one-and-a-half shot, half-caf vanilla latte. T-lish was slamming those paper cups around, and her ever-present dimples were nowhere to be found while I chattered on and on about her re-pinkening lungs. She probably would have traded me for a smoke. I began to sense it, so I grabbed the trash can and hauled it outside to the dumpsters. On my way back, that mischievous creature roared past me in her little white truck, puffing away, like that tobacco-filled roll of paper was her lifeline. I whipped out my phone.
“What do you think you are doing?”
The wind from her open window crackled in my ear. “Where are you?!” she squealed.
Needless to say, that attempt didn’t go very far. A couple years later, around her birthday, she researched a little bit about acupuncture. According to acufinder.com, the treatments focus on reducing withdrawal symptoms, like the jitters, cravings and irritability. In between treatments, little pellets are secured to acupuncture points, and, when a craving hits, gently pressing the pellets will stimulate the point, thus calming the mind and relieving the craving.
T-lish also looked into hypnosis, which puts the quitter in a deeply calm mental state. While in this state, according to health.usnews.com, the patient is provided with a series of skills to deal with withdrawal symptoms and to kick the habit. Audiotapes are often given to the patients for at-home practice. Remember that episode of Friends, where Rachel gave Chandler one of those tapes? Unfortunately for Mr. Bing, the tape told him that he is a “strong, confident woman,” and his behavior the rest of the episode, including his lip blot after a balm application, can only be described as “girly.” On the plus side, he did quit smoking.
As life would have it, a series of events swooped through my friend’s life and her motivation to quit dimmed. Then, last week, out of nowhere, I got this glorious text message:
“I have a little surprise to tell you. I quit smoking.”
She told me around Hour 36, and her tone, via text, was her trying to make it sound like NBD. But the sheer number of exclamation marks in my reply told her that it was, in fact, a very big deal. Because I believe she’ll do it this time. There were no deadlines, no resolutions, she didn’t tell anyone about it first. She did it for herself. She said giving up smoking was like losing a best friend. Well, I’ve got news for you, sugar, and I’m assuming you were being dramatic anyway. You’ve got tons of real live friends, who support the bajeezes out of you. Friends that you don’t light on fire first.
What about you, Denver? What made you quit?