A woman with a coughing figure standing on her shoulder

I Was Keeping It a Secret

It was my secret. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want to be forced to quit.

I was so short of breath. I could barely walk across my kitchen floor to get a glass of water. It took some very clever techniques to get people to help me. I couldn't do much of anything myself. Exertion, any exertion, surely meant I would become very short of breath.

I was unable to stand long enough to shower. I started to use a stool in the tub so I could sit and shower.

Constant need

It seemed I was in constant need, and frequently asking of help to do the smallest tasks. Fetching items I needed. I found chairs or held on to walls in order to go from room to room. Going from my car to my desk at work was a total challenge.

I got paid to talk on my feet. Now in order to talk while standing, I needed to lean against a podium. I was fine while sitting. In fact, I could actually talk while sitting. As I rose to exert myself, I became very short of breath.

But, I loved it

Then, I coughed and coughed with every single one that I smoked. I felt like I was drowning in mucus secretions but still, I loved every one of them.

That was the main reason for not giving it up. I truly loved the sensation. I loved how I looked, the way it made me feel. It was the one thing that could soothe my nerves.

I had been smoking since I was 14 or so. It was my constant companion. It was one of the only things that could get me to walk to the store or go back home when I was already halfway to my destination.

I didn't want to quit

When I did try to quit smoking and was becoming successful, I reasoned that I could do it. I just didn’t want to, so I didn’t.

I tried to be as courteous as I could to those forced to smell my cigarettes and suck in the second-hand fumes, but I couldn’t really care what people thought or how they felt. I was addicted.

The day we finally broke ties was the day I was diagnosed with COPD. It was a little late coming but my doctor told me that I would surely go downhill much faster if I continued. I was truly scared.

Today, I am proud

Smoking was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to give up. It is a total mental and physical addiction. Looking back I can see and feel the total grip it had on me and its destructive ways. Yet today I am so proud of not smoking.

You will never know the freedom of living until you can do it without being a slave to cigarettes and a lighter. It is a great feeling knowing that you not only smell good but are doing what you can to live your life to the fullest.

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