Later on that night, after my parents went to bed, I snuck outside and went behind my shed. I took a cigarette out and lit it and IMMEDIATELY coughed. It was terrible! The bitterness went away after a little bit and I took another drag.
Then it hit me. It REALLY hit me.
But one cigarette a day turned into two and then three and so forth. This is mainly because I was beginning my "party stage" during late high school. I never really did learn to use a substance, and not smoke. Smoking came first.
I'd say I was smoking five cigarettes per day by the time I graduated high school in 1996, and that includes the time spent going to track practice, cross-country practice, and living at home. Almost all my friends smoked, too, at this time.
As I said before, it was cool to smoke. It didn't really affect me, either. I wasn't coughing, or wheezing, or having trouble sleeping. At that time, I was fine. It wouldn't last long, though.
By the time I turned that monumental age of 21, I was up to a half a pack a day. I enjoyed them. They were my lifeblood. However, they decided how long I stayed out. They controlled my life and told me what to do. Sound familiar?
If I was planning on going to some huge event, like camping or a concert, I would stock up on cigarettes. I'd buy two or three packs at a time, all different kinds, both regular and menthol. I smoked in my car, in my apartment, around my parents, and in any public place. I was definitely addicted.
But I didn't really care because I was way too young to think about quitting. Everyone around me still smoked, and I was still going out every weekend. I knew they were horrible for me, but I liked smoking. I woke up with crap in my lungs, though, and I had a constant cough. Deep down I knew what was going on. Smoking was ruining my lungs.
I don't believe someone in the mindset of going out every weekend is ready to quit just yet. There is some growing up to do first.
But, at the end of the day, I was still the party guy going out to the bars every weekend. I was not in the correct mindset at all. Quitting was always a thought in the back of my mind, but realistically? No, I was not ready to quit.
More about my life as a smoker.
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