In 1991 I made one of the worst decisions of my life. And like anyone, I have made my fair share. I was working as a foot courier in downtown Boston at the time. It was a decent job for a young Dot Rat. I got to rub elbows with the suits in some of the biggest law firms in Boston while putting some cash in my pocket. After work one Friday night, two of my fellow Dot Rats and a friend from Charlestown decided to grab a couple of cases of Budweiser and set up shop in that little park next to Long Wharf…I believe it’s Columbus Park. Back then, you could enjoy a few beers in that park without much worry of the cops bothering you as long as you behaved yourself…..and we did…it was 4 neighborhood kids enjoying some laughs swapping war stories and enjoying the occasional pretty woman that would wander by. I will be honest, I was a tad under age so my options were limited.
As the night carried on, my buds kept smoking cigarette after cigarette, and I remember asking “what is the big deal with the butts dude?”. It was sheer curiosity, my parents both smoked but I never asked them why. The boys replied “it tastes good dude, it’s awesome with a beer, want one?”. I smoked my first Marlboro that night, and it gave me a head rush. Just like they said….it did taste good with a beer. Beyond that night, I had no plans to ever pick up another one. Deep down I knew they were bad for me, even back then the campaigns against smoking were pretty widespread. What I didn’t account for was how well smoking suited my personality or just how powerfully addictive nicotine actually is. A week later, while walking to State Street from Mintz Levin at South Station….I decided to buy my first pack of cigarettes. I haven’t put them down since….
That first pack cost me roughly $1.90…the pack I bought this afternoon cost me $8.65. With the use of some widely available calculators and some averaging….my smoking habit has cost me in excess of 45,000 dollars. Fucked up right? I don’t blame anyone for it, wasn’t pressure or ads, it was my stupid decision based on curiosity…nothing more.
Anyway, I’m making another attempt at quitting. I have tried the cold turkey method, paid some hypnotist scam artist, tried the gum and bought a patch that I ended up looking at instead of using. I can’t go trying Chantix because it seems too hit or miss for me. Quite frankly the side effects are just too scary. So the plan is to switch to electronic cigarettes. I know, it’s not exactly breaking a nicotine addiction but I figure it will go a long way to helping me heal the damage I have done to my lungs. In turn I can start trying to form some healthier habits in terms of exercise to combat my biggest fear of quitting…..weight gain. Once I get some balance, I’m hoping to finally throw out the nicotine all together.
Years back I learned some valuable lessons from some pretty solid friends. I was taught that it’s good to share your struggles and experiences….even when they are embarrassing or show weakness. Not an easy evolution for your typical guarded Dot Rat.
I look at smoking as a weakness. But I figure that sharing my story with a few thousand people will go a long way in helping my own sanity through this process. Hopefully I can kill this addiction. And who knows, maybe my story will keep a kid from smoking or help someone to quit.
Wish me luck!