No butts about it, quitting is tough 2008.01.03

Written by David Green.


After the first six months have passed, it gets easier. That’s what a Morenci resident named Doug was told about breaking the addiction to nicotine.

Don’t believe it, he now says, because it isn’t true.

“It was better than day one,” Doug said, “but it wasn’t easy.”

Doug had the satisfaction last August of making it to his fifth smoke-free anniversary. He thinks he has nicotine licked, but this wasn’t the first time he quit.

“I quit once for six months,” he said. “I guess I wasn’t ready.”

Doug used a nicotine patch the first time he tried to give it up. That was back in the mid-1990s, and after the six months passed, he went another seven or eight years—laying out a lot of cash to keep the habit going.

The cost of smoking was an annoyance, but not so much to force him to quit. Doug went through the price increase routine that many smokers follow.

“When it gets to $2 a pack, I’ll quit,” he remembers saying.

But he never did, at least not until Aug. 1, 2002, when an increase in the Michigan tobacco tax would push the price of a pack to $5.

That wasn’t the only factor. His wife said she wanted him to be around for a long time and she wished he would consider quitting.

“I think I had three cigarettes that day,” Doug said, and he hasn’t had one since.

No patch, no support class, nothing but will power and a true desire to quit. He knows that’s what was missing before.

“This time I made up my mind that I was all done,” Doug said. “I went one day at a time and it’s stretched into five and a half years. I’ll bet it was three years before my hand stopped going to my shirt pocket after lunch for the cigarette that was no longer there.”

Two-fisted approach

Drew, another local resident, remembers sitting in a doctor’s office a few years ago and being asked how many packs a day he smokes. The last time he was in for an annual check-up, the nurse asked, “How far do you run each day?”

Running is what helped him push aside a 20-year addiction to nicotine—that and a medication called Chantix.

When Drew started running, it didn’t take long for him to realize the effect that smoking had on his lungs. But everyone knows that. He needed more. He credits his girlfriend with making the difference.

“She did not insist I quit, but she began mentioning it and we began talking about it,” Drew said. “I realized—or realized more—that smoking was negatively affecting my health, wasting my money, excluding me socially, and making me smell nasty.”

Drew says it wasn’t enough to simply know he was foolish for smoking. He needed to get a clear understanding of what it was doing to him.

“There is realizing one is a moron, but then there is understanding why one is a moron. This understanding is what really helped me turn the corner.”

He asked his doctor for advice and received a prescription for Chantix, a non-nicotine medication.

“He warned me it was expensive, but it was really half of what my smoking habit cost me a day,” Drew said.

Chantix made the fight easier, but he still battled with the urge, especially in the evening after work. He kept one thing in his mind—the run when he got home.

“When everything else is falling to pieces, I can look to my run for inner peace, plus mental and physical exertion,” Drew said. “That probably sounds weird, but that is what running has developed into for me.”

He thinks quitting would be tough without a physical activity to help take its place and to provide feedback on physical changes, but Doug went without one. Maybe that was a mistake since he gained 20 pounds instead.

“To stop that craving, I guess you focus on food,” Doug said, but that’s all right with him.

He still remembers a nurse practitioner telling him that it’s healthier to gain 20 pounds than to continue smoking.

“The sense of smell that’s returned is unbelievable,” he said, and ditto for the taste of food.

“If I’d known I stunk that bad, I would have quit years ago,” Doug said.

Drew agrees: “I now wonder how non-smokers could even stand to be around me.”

Both men agree that a true desire is needed for success.

“You can have your folks hounding on you to quit, your kids hounding on you—which I did—but until you’re really ready yourself,” Doug said, “it’s going to be a struggle.”

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016