It was Spring 2014 and I was carting my 9 month old son through a Half Priced Books in his favorite stroller. I we there to scour obscure RPG supplements to breathe more life into my campaign. I sat sprawled, books circling me as people walked past toward more popular genres.
A plastic motorcycle flies by, missing my head, followed by a mischievous cackle. I smirk, grab the toy, and return it to John as I mine the tome for literary nuggets of golden inspiration.
But there was no gold that day and John was ever increasingly demanding for my attention from his buggy. The anxiety was also creeping back into my mind as my mouth dried from dehydration. I needed a cigarette.
Returning the books to shelves in no order, I cart John outside, 25 feet from the entrance to the edge of a covered area. I then proceed to pace 10 more feet away, deftly producing cigarette and lit lighter in motion. By 9 feet, I was already devouring my first drag.
I turned and glanced at John who curiously considering me with cherubic cheeks. Then, as cigarette smoke filled the space between us, he let loose a moan of discomfort and frustration. In response, I took another drag.
After 10 year of trying to quit, I knew I was shackled to this flaming stick of tobacco between my fingers. It is was it is.
I took another drag and glanced back. John, restrained in his black stroller, delivers another glance of disapproval. He reached his short, stubby infant hands up to the air expecting I would drop everything to run over and embrace him. At least, that was my interpretation. But first, I needed to finish my cigarette.
I bring the cigarette back to my lips. Smoking in front of my 9 month old boy, who does that? What is wrong with me? The weight of guilt pressed down upon me.
I took another drag. No! I stopped half way. Why am I doing this? Don't I want to see him all grown up? Don't I want to see him have his own family?
His namesake, my father, died when I was two. My stepfather died of lung cancer. I saw what it did to him with my own eyes. Do I want my baby to see that?
Do I want that? Because with each drag I move one more step closer to that reality! No I will not allow this no more.
I took another drag. But how? I tried for 10 years. Doesn't matter. I'll find a way. I dropped the cigarette and snuffed it out with my shoe.
That's the moment I proclaimed emancipation from cigarettes. I began looking into ways to kick the habit. Later that week, I purchased my first "Vape Pen" from a tattooed guy named Tommy. He ran a VapeShop from his garage somewhere in a run down neighborhood in La Porte. I smoked two more cigarettes that night.
Later that week I ran out of smokes and I wanted to have a cigarette so bad but instead I clinged to my vape pen. It wasn't easy. But the results were inevitable. I haven't bought a pack of smokes since.
After 3 months of vaping, I finally got down to 0 mg. I wasn't interested in blowing clouds all day.
It's been 2 years since I quit smoking. I wasn't easy and the result weren't immediate. But it was inevitable.
"Change is immediate, but results are not. Instead, results are inevitable if you persist through the change."