The Closet Smoker

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

13 Jul 2002, 13:28 #11

You know, I was talking to my mother yesterday. Her friend's son has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and it's spread.... all over. He's 33...... 33.

She says to me, "and he didn't even smoke." "Really!" I replied. "Well, only one or two here or there. Just occassionally."

Of course, she's getting this from his mother. And, I'm thinking to myself, "yeah, and you didn't think I smoked at all." Of course, I have no way of knowing how much the poor guy really smoked. But, I also know how many people hide their addiction from their parents (especially mothers!). I did. Several of my friends have. I have to wonder, if his mother knew he was smoking some, did he really have the control he seemed to have from her perception? Or, was he, like so many other closet smokers, quietly, uncontrollably and secretly poisoning himself on a regular basis?

You can hide it from your parents, your boss, your co-workers, friends.... you can't hide it from everything.

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:23

20 Mar 2003, 00:41 #12

I have been a closet smoker for the past two years after my relapse (I quit for 3 yrs). In the last two years, I have smoked only in my garage at home and in my car (with my air freshener always in reach).
I have been in a perputual state of withdrawal which maybe why this quit has been okay - I am used to this feeling on a daily basis! I have lived in fear that my parents and friends would find out (of course, it is very possible that they knew- a non-smokers nose is very perceptive!). I am tired of living a lie and tired of being a slave to nicotine!

By the way, for some inspiration for all - my parents both smoked (heavily)from their late teens until 40 years old. They both quit cold turkey over 30 years ago. Today, they are 73 years young - my dad golfs every day and my mom still water skis on one ski! They hike together on a regular basis and live each day to the fullest.


BubblyDoodlebug Gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:10

28 May 2003, 12:52 #13

I was a closet smoker. I learned lots of tricks. One was to drive to a park and I would put on a hooded sweat shirt put the hood up and get out of my van and smoke. I didn't care it was dark and dangerous. I probably looked dangerous myself standing there in the dark with my hood up smoking. Kind of like the Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable" When I was finished I would take my sweatshirt off and my clothes and hair would not smell like smoke. I would do this all year around no matter how cold or hot if it was raining or snowing. I didn't want people to know I went back to smoking. I figured I'd quit again before they figured it out.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:14

23 Nov 2003, 02:24 #14

This was one of two articles that started me on the journey to become a non-smoker. Looking back, I can't believe how much I suffered being a closet smoker. I think I was in withdrawal for about 10 years. Sheila (Gold today)
One year, 5 hours, 24 minutes and 19 seconds. 5113 cigarettes not smoked, saving $894.80. Life saved: 2 weeks, 3 days, 18 hours, 5 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

22 Mar 2004, 17:46 #15

I was a closet smoker. I went to tremendous lengths to hide it from my family. Nrt was my way of avoiding smelling like smoke and keeping myself from severe withdraw around them. How rediculous I was... I would go months without seeing my parents because I didn't want to go through the process of taking a shower and putting on clean clothes after the first 6or 7 ciggs of the day. In public places I was always paranoid about running into them with a cigg in my mouth. I would hope that thier friends wouldn't recognize me if they saw me standing outside somewhere smoking. And so, even on the front porch (the only porch) of my apartment I would throw my cigg down whenever a white car that looked like my parent's went by. I would have still smelled terrible anyway but I figgured I could come up with some excuse.

My point is that I lead a life with paranoia that I would let my family down. I felt weak and stupid knowing what each puff was doing to me not only to my body but to my mind as well. I shut myself off from my family. I chose smoking over them.... Now I choose life over the chains and weight of addiciton.

I never enjoyed smoking but it ruled my life. Alienated me from the people I loved and destryed my self-esteem.
This is one of the many countless ways my addiciton was taking my life little by little each day.

I will never EVER take another puff ever again.

I have stopped nicotine for 8 days, 2 hours, 44 minutes and 47 seconds (8 days).

I've not smoked 162 death sticks, and saved $28.41.
I've saved 13 hours and 31 minutes of my life.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:08

12 Jul 2004, 03:27 #16

I wish I had thought of laying it on thick and making my fiance feel guilty about smoking instead of just letting her know that I knew she was still smoking. Instead, she's back to her regular smoking routine and all I can really do is hope she once again gets the courage to quit smoking.

Dave - Free and Healing for One Month, Nine Days, 12 Hours and 58 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 6 Days and 20 Hours, by avoiding the use of 1977 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $235.65.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Jul 2004, 00:23 #17

Wow - this thread caused me to revisit my life - the pieces and chunks that required me to give up friends and family for periods of time so that I could keep the addiction going.

As a public school teacher of health and biology, I was on constant alert lest the truth be discovered! How in the world could I honestly educate young people when I was harboring such a grevious defect in my own character???

My first husband was adamant about my NOT smoking - so therein was a challenge that kept me on edge for 14 years of a terrible marriage. No matter that HE was a clinical psychologist and a total control freak - I took MY power in my use of nicotine - whenever I was w/ friends who supported my habit and kept my secret. Of course, that I smelled like an ashtray could be "blamed" on the association w/ smokers/.

A divorce - and 5 years of single life - removed all the stops, other than my job. A remarriage was to a smoker - you have to know that I KNEW I never wanted to be around a nonsmoker again. Although we are divorced now, we are still friends and I am watching him die from lung cancer.

Through all of this - through 30 years of teaching - I hid my smoking from certain groups of folks. Oh, lordy, when I left town for long road trips - the freedom to smoke anywhere, anytime was heady stuff - until society began to put some restrictions on me.

SO - this thread has me looking back - but only for a moment - because 48 days ago - I began to look ahead - and I have been nic free for all that time - and now we can really talk about FREEDOM.

Thanks for being there! YQF - Vicki

Joined: 13 Jan 2009, 23:02

15 Nov 2004, 22:18 #18

Boy can I ever relate to your story!! I am a new member - smoked for about 40 years and have now quit for 6 days. I was a closet smoker for the last 4 years or so. My story is so similar to yours - even though I love my family/friends so much I thought of excuses all the time to be alone - so I could smoke. I always encouraged my husband to go out-of-town, found ways to be by myself. It was horrible and got worse as the years went by. I even picked up butts off the street when I didn't want to buy any for fear of someone in the store recognizing me. Here's to a better and brighter future!

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

15 Nov 2004, 23:08 #19

This link really hit a nerve for me. I was a closet smoker for the last 4 years of my addiction. I started smoking when I was about 16 and continued until I got pregnant with my first child at 32 years old. I Quit through 2 pregnancies (smoked for the 6 months in between) and started again just a couple of days after my second was born. From then on, the deception began. I had 2 groups of friends which represented my duel personalities. One group were from my past, my smoking buddies. Looking back now, they actually encouraged my sneaking around to have a fix. They even supplied them and hid me out when neccessary so I could smoke. Then I had a second group of healthier friends. People I have met since my marriage and children. I would have been so embarrassed and ashamed if they saw me smoking. I would go for hours in withdrawal when ever we spent time together. After about 4 or 5 hours I would start thinking up reasons why I had to get away to get a fix. It was terrible. I was always in withdrawal or in a state of anxiety. I can't believe I lived this way for so long. I used to sneak away from my kids. As soon as they were old enough to be able to tell on me, I never let them see me do it again. Which meant leaving a 3 and 4 year old alone long enough to go outside to sneak a smoke. Thank God nothing ever happened while I was outside. I used to worry about that too while I was hurrying to finish a smoke. I honestly did not enjoy my smoking at all those 4 years. It was soley done to feed my need for nicotine. I know now (finally) that I am an addict and I can NTAP. No more lying to myself or those I love. Thanks for making me think and letting me get this off my chest. This site has made all the difference in my attitude towards my addiction. And that's what will keep me from going back. I truly know that ONE=ALL.

Image Cheryl - Free and Healing for One Month, Ten Days, 11 Hours and 5 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 2 Hours, by avoiding the use of 607 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $136.79.

Joined: 13 Jan 2009, 23:02

16 Nov 2004, 03:51 #20

I just want to thank you for taking the time to write. It is SO GOOD to FINALLY talk to and listen to other people who were closet smokers. I really thought that I was alone in that "catagory". I have driven through snowstorms in the past, risked my life (I still can't believe the things I did) for a cigarette. And, it never really tasted that good! I went about 4 years too with my family thinking that I had quit. They were forever praising me and using me as an example to other relatives that couldn't or didn't want to quit. The guilt was tremendous. I am looking forward to a new life and feel like I have been reborn in the past 6 days. Thanks again.