Many, many years ago I used to try to send out one new item every day. It might be a joke or a poem or a piece of non-fiction for a trade magazine, a short story, whatever. One of my sales was an article about how I quit smoking. It was midnight, New Years Eve of 1955 and I was playing drums with a band called The Silvertones at the Polish American Club in Hamtramck, Michigan, a section of Detroit on Jos. Campeau and Six Mile Road. We were all set to begin playing Auld Lang Syne. I had a cigarette dangling from my lips and I removed it from my mouth, threw it on the floor, stomped it out and with a little drum roll we started the song. At that time I had a three pack a day cigarette habit and at that instant I quit cold turkey and I have not had a cigarette since then. I had tried and failed a few times before that but I knew for sure that if I lit even just one cigarette I would have my three pack habit back in a few days. This was it. I had a new plan.
I started pouring water into my system immediately. When I arrived home I took a long hot shower and scrubbed my whole body briskly. The next day I drank ten or fifteen big glasses of water and I took three showers the second day, again scrubbing my whole body. I discovered how badly my fingers were stained and I tried lemons, tooth paste and vinegar but it took a number of brisk, extended brushings with house bleach to finally get them better. I figured that my upper and lower respiratory systems were probably as badly messed up as my fingers and I continued that washing system with ten to twelve glasses or water for many days. I had this thought planted firmly in my mind, it went, nicotine demands nicotine. That told me that I must do everything I could to rid my whole system of the nicotine it retained.
Was it easy? It was hell. I must have reached up to my shirt pocket a couple of hundred times a day in the beginning to find a pack of cigarettes but, of course the pocket was empty. I got some of these little mints and rationed them out so I used 20 a day.
I took long walks and developed the habit of singing quietly as I walked just to fill my mind with other things than cigarettes. Of course I took one day at a time, one hour, one quarter hour, five minutes, one minute. I can go one more minute without a cigarette and then another and another.
If I had continued smoking three packs a day but now I would have smoked an additional 1,248,300 cigarettes, but, of course, you know and I know that that would have been impossible because I would by now be long time dead in the grave yard. Will this work for you if you have a three pack habit? Well, first you’d have to start playing drums in a band and get a booking for New Years Eve. It would help if you had a wife that was three months pregnant and who got really sick when you got near her because the smell of cigarettes made her barf. That is a good motivator. I do believe that the hydration idea is a good one and it could make things easier. Find yourself a support system too and suffer along with someone else. I wish you another fifty seven years of good living, smoke free.