The Decision

Today I had to make a decision.  It was a decision that would seriously alter my life, a life that I felt has to be altered one way or another for it to be any benefit to me, but this particular decision would be a throwing in of the towel of sorts.  I was going to the store to buy some dinner, and also a pack of cigarettes after nearly two years of being quit of a thirty year addiction.

I bought the dinner and left without the cigarettes.

Here’s the story:

When I was fourteen I was hospitalized from attempting suicide.  I was done with being unloved and having to live justifying my existence.  A year later my life was still unbearable and, having one failed suicide attempt behind me, I tried something else to release the valve a bit on my life.  I could do one thing that my parents who despised me couldn’t stop me from doing – I started smoking.  I was very aware when I began that the choice was between taking up smoking or attempting suicide again.  In a way, smoking saved my life at the time.

Thirty years later and tired of my life being robbed from the symptoms of CFS,  I quit smoking through a force of needing a changed life, despite the fears.  I began walking and then jog/walking, a near miracle to me due to my limited physical abilities.  I never gained weight during the quit, and had even lost some weight.  I anticipated a new life, new hope.

Nearly a year later my parents invited and paid my way to a Mexican resort they’re members of.  My older sister came to join us.  It seemed promising for our relationship that my parents would invite me, but it ended with my older sister being cruel to me and my parents joining in with her.  I came home sick with disillusionment and shock.

Around two months later I came down with a week-long fever, possibly due to overdoing it with yard work with my CFS.  My health and energy levels went back to where I was years before, going to being near bed-ridden again.  By the end of summer my body went into emergency mode and began to crave carbs as it hunkered down to fight off a health upset.  That, and also for the fact that I was entering menopause at the same time.   I ended up gaining enough weight to put me right into the overweight BMI category for the first time in my life.

Then Christmas happened.  I still hadn’t recovered from the trip to Mexico and braced myself to spend it with my parents and a few other siblings.  It didn’t go well.  I came home demoralized.

Since then my doctor had given me the co-diagnosis of Fibromyalgia with my CFS due to the increase of muscle pain to the point of needing a cane at times.  I told myself that this year there needs to be a major change.  It could be for better or for worse, but I couldn’t (didn’t want to) continue living like this.  It was going to be all-or-nothing, and if it was going to be worse it was going to be all the way.  I became increasingly saddened and, therefore, increasingly needing things to make my brain ‘happy’, especially since depriving it of nicotine for nearly two years.  I kept holding off buying cigarettes, even by eating even more brownies and chocolate, anything to quiet down my brain.

Today was the day I finally said I was going to get a pack of cigarettes.  I went to the store and got a Subway sandwich with chocolate chunk cookies to quiet my brain and walked past the front counter that held the cigarettes and left without them.  It was like I allowed my ‘self’ to make the decision to buy them or not and just noted that my self had decided  not to.

I guess the last two years of not smoking were not in vain, that they really made a difference in what I’m wanting to consider normal.

I write this a few hours later, still sad, still wanting a change, still needing a meaning to my life without a family or sense of purpose.

I will buy a gym membership tomorrow.  It’s too slippery to walk outside much, but I know one thing that helped me feel better when I first quit smoking and it was to go for long walks.  I told myself before that I couldn’t afford a gym membership, but I can’t afford starting to smoke again more.  I also can’t afford to be this unhappy, or this overweight.  I will only have the energy to go on the treadmill at the gym and not have any for doing anything at home – I don’t care.  I can’t care.  I’ll take some pain medication for the fibro and not care that anyone sees me only being able to do ten minutes of walking.  Again, I can’t care.

So with the same stubbornness I used to start smoking and then, later, to quit smoking, I will use this time to fight until I find new meaning in my life.  I will be turning fifty in just over a week from now, and that will be when I no longer wish to look over my shoulder for my worth ever again.

This is the year that everything changes – for the better.



15 thoughts on “The Decision

  1. I am so proud of you for not going back to smoking. You are so strong to go to gym and I know exercise hurts you, I have Fribro too. You are going to make it sweetheart, and Happy Birthday!!! The year for good changes!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot because you have Fibro also and know that exercise can be a sacrifice to anything else that day. I need it more for my head and spirit right now. I’m surprised how one part of me wanted to just start smoking again and another part of me overrode it, and I’m glad. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great decision to join a gym Prarie Girl. Exercising helped you to quit so exercising will help you to keep from starting again. Dont even entertain re-starting. You are worth the quit and smoking puts you in the opposite direction of what youre making which is progress. The gym will get you out of the house and who knows what other good things will branch off of this gym decision.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful! I’m so glad your wise inner self decided not to buy those cigarettes.

    I also started smoking as a young teenager, for reasons very similar to yours. I stopped smoking when I was 39. Then, 8 years later, when I was 47, I started smoking again, because I was going through a very painful divorce and felt like I needed something to help me through that. I told myself it was temporary, that I could easily quit smoking again.

    Very quickly, I was as addicted to cigarettes as I had ever been, maybe even more so. After a month I tried to quit and couldn’t. I kept trying, and failing, to quit for the next 3 years.

    I finally managed to kick the smoking habit shortly before my big 50th birthday. Now, 14 years later, I can’t imagine why I ever wanted to smoke!

    Happy almost 50th birthday! It sounds like such a big number, but I really loved being 50. I’m wishing I could be 50 again, with you. 😀

    You are an amazing survivor. Really, truly amazing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I knew if I started again that I wouldn’t be able to quit again but I ‘needed’ the hit cigarettes give so badly because I was feeling so low. I’m still amazed at how close I was to buying them, and I am so glad I hadn’t! Thanks for the confirmation, it made me feel even better about dodging that bullet! Since changing my mind and going to the gym and eating healthy for just these last two days has taken away the cravings completely.

      I went from almost giving up completely with my health to now being determined that 50 will be a good age for me, and I hope it’s a transforming year. I remember you saying before that you really enjoyed being 50 and I’m using that as inspiration!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Fifty, for me, was awesome. Definitely a big transformation year. I celebrated the day by going, all by myself, for a hot air balloon ride over the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. The flight was surprisingly peaceful. The landing, not so much, lol.

        I have had several close friends die of lung cancer related to smoking. It is not an easy way to die. My closest friend, who was my next door neighbor at the time, died of lung cancer when she was still very young. She had been a heavy smoker since childhood. I visited her in the hospital after her extensive surgery. I drove her to and from her radiation treatments. I took her to the emergency room when her family could not handle her condition anymore. I sat beside her bed, all night long, holding her hand, every night, during the last two weeks of her life. I was there, holding her hand, silently praying for her, when she suddenly cried out “Oh praise the Lord, I see Jesus!”

        A few days before she died, she told me and the two other women who were visiting at the time, “Don’t ever forget what did this to me! Don’t ever forget it was cigarettes!” And still… still! I went back to smoking when my marriage ended after we were on the Oprah Show.

        I haven’t found anything that lifts my spirits so fast, as exercise. A fast dance to a song on the radio. A brisk walk. I got a mini trampoline and wow it is great for jumping and dancing around on, and it always lifts my spirits. I know, though, how hard it is to get started with even the simplest exercise, when you feel lethargic, achy, anxious, and very sad. But you are doing it anyway!!!! After your horrible childhood and your horrible Christmas experience that happened just over a month ago, the fact that you are exercising, eating better, and not smoking is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Nicotine addiction (and whatever else they put in cigarettes) is a powerful addiction, so it’s understandable that you found yourself pulled back into it after your marriage broke down. It’s also amazing that you quit another time, which shows that your spirit is strong! How wonderful for you to stay with your friend like that!

    I think it’s so cool that you planned for a memorable event for your 50th! I didn’t do so myself, but you have me realizing I need to think a little on what I’d like to do for myself on that day. I’d like to remember it fondly.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think a lot of people who were troubled teens, traumatized, emotionally abandoned, etc. are prone to nicotine. One step at a time and one day at a time! I also feel the best when I am exercising (elliptical, stretching, toning, etc.). My routine has been out of whack and I can feel the effect.

    You go, girl!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I think teenagers are finally able to make little decisions for themselves and, if they’re in a troubled situation, they will invariably make decisions that will help alleviate it. Part of addictions is deciding to use a substance that will make one feel better in a world where they don’t feel good at all.

      I feel best exercising, too. I’d rather be out walking outside but a treadmill will do for now due to weather. I always feel happiest when I return from an outdoor walk. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

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