May 7, 2007

Off the wagon

I did something this morning that I am not particularly proud of. On the way to the office, I stopped at a convenience store and bought a pack of cigarettes. I pretty much quit smoking in college, not long before I met The Husband (which is a good thing, as he would have never given me a moment of his time had he known that I smoked), but every year or so I get weak. It's been over three years since my last pack, and that's the longest I've gone without giving in.

I can't say for sure why this week sent me back over the edge. In the past three years, I've had other times when my stress level was higher and my selections of coping mechanisms was tighter. But something about taking my certification exam this past weekend (which I think I failed anyway), and the preparation for both a Board meeting and a conference for my add-on boss in taking place within weeks of each other in June, and trying to determine what we're going to do in relation to The Younger Son beginning school...well, I broke.

As soon as I stepped up to the counter, it all came back as though I'd never stopped. Rattling off the specifics of what I needed (Virginia Slims Ultra-light Menthol), the unconscious habit of tapping the box against my palm before I opened it to compress the tobacco, the automatic movements that allow me to steer with one hand while I flick the butt with my thumb to tap away the ashes out the window...It only took a few drags for the headrush to hit.

This pack will last for three or four days, and then I will be a non-smoker again. But I can't help but be disappointed in myself for falling back into the need to chew gum and leave the window open to attempt to hide or mask the smell of a nasty habit that I haven't been able to totally leave behind.

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