The Isolation of a Widowed Smoker

The Isolation of a Widowed Smoker

Joel
Joel

January 28th, 2001, 9:40 pm #1

I put this one under the topic heading "My New Life" but I think a more accurate title would have been "remembering my old life." It is crucial that we all remember life as a smoker. Only then can an ex-smoker truly appreciate the true gift of liberation and freedom they have given themselves. Life gets better on so many fronts it's hard to keep track of them all sometimes. But hard as it may be, keep remembering the past, comparing life now to life back then. It will make every smoke free day a precious commodity as opposed to being taken for granted. Those in the first few days are fighting with all your might, keeping up your resolve is of obvious optimal importance. Those with more time under your belt sometimes lose sight that keeping up resolve is still of great importance too. Keep your memory strong and you will find your resolve will stay strong to never take another puff! Joel
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

January 28th, 2001, 10:02 pm #2

God Joel - this story is SO SCARY! - only because it is so real!-
I completely identify with it and it shakes me out of my complacency (how can I afford to be complacent at justover one week??) and reminds me how much smoking controlled my life from the minute I woke up until the minute I went to sleep! -and I tell you I would have had a cigarette in my sleep if I could have worked out some way to do it!! Not today though - Just for Today
I WILL NOT SMOKE and I'll NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Thanks Joel - big thanks
Maz
One week, one day, 1 hour, 5 minutes and 47 seconds. 201 cigarettes not smoked, saving $64.36. Life saved: 16 hours, 45 minutes.
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Joel
Joel

April 15th, 2001, 8:21 pm #3

Sorry to bring this one up on a holiday weekend, but some of you may have practiced a similar lifestyle when you were smoking of rushing people out or rushing to leave yourself from get togethers that the only reason you could not fully enjoy the occasion was because you were restricted from smoking. Hence when they time came to choose between your family and friends or the need for nicotine, nicotine won. Life for some of you may have been very limited in the past because of your drug seeking behavior.

Remember life as it actually was and you will truly appreciate the great gift you have given yourself by quitting smoking. You have also given a gift to those closest to you--your time. More importantly though is the time you have given yourself--on a daily level where just seeking and smoking cigarettes were robbing you of time and more importantly, over a lifetime where cigarettes were actually taking away years or decades of potential health and eventually robbing you of years or decades of actual life.

Always appreciate what you have done for yourself by quitting and your continued success will be guaranteed as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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duncan
duncan

April 16th, 2001, 9:24 am #4

Dear Joel - I loved this - I remember when my parents used to visit me and I'd shove down my lungs as many smokes as I could prior to their arrival - the most outrageously stupid thing about this was that I would declare to them often that I had greatly cut down on my in take of cigarettes - (never did it vary much outside 25 a day over 13 years ) - I must have smelled so strongly of smokes to them when they finally arrived - how could I have lied - how could I have deceived them - why did I do just as this old lady did and plan their departure for them, prematurely, just so I could smoke another cigarette - this is another case of cigarettes completely governing your lives in the saddest dimension - just the other day on this board, a new member named Jordan mentioned how he did this same thing - he missed out on time with family because he could'nt smoke around them - is'nt this something that so many of us can relate to - wow - thanks for this blessed reminder Joel ! Respect, Duncan
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Hilary (silver)
Hilary (silver)

April 16th, 2001, 2:05 pm #5

Hi Joel:
This is one of your strongest writings -- it was one of the first things I read when I found Freedom, before I joined. It would not be possible to rewrite the same scenario and have it ring so true. We've all been there and we've all let the drug rule our days. We've all learning to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF. Thank you, Joel.
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Joel
Joel

July 10th, 2001, 9:10 pm #6

Yesterday's parade showed that people here had many family members who were important to them. This letter illustrates how cigarettes will take your priorities away from your loved ones in order to sustain smoking. Every one of you that participated yesterday, as well as those of you who did not should recognize that smoking was risking your long-term relationship with every family member and friend you have on three fronts.

First, as this letter shows, by making your desire to be with them secondary to your to need to feed your addiction. Next, by shortening your time of being alive you are going to be taken away from them prematurely.

Third, you were affecting your health and endurance and eventually, even those times when you are in their presence, it may have been as an observer as opposed to an active participant, witnessing life on the side lines as opposed to being an active participant.

Whenever the thought of a cigarette occurs consider everyone and everything that you will be leaving behind. Now what is more important, your hopes of a momentary pleasure from a drug fix or your ability to share your lifetime with your loved ones? If the answer is the latter always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

July 25th, 2001, 1:59 am #7

I brought up a post earlier today about remembering what smoking was like at the end so that you would always remember that your current way of life is likely better than what it was when you were a smoker. This one illustrates what you life could have been if you hadn't stopped when you did. Just how much length of your lifetime and quality of your life were you going to sacrafice in order to sustain your addiction? If smoking is really looked at objectively, for where it was the day you quit and where it was heading if you had not quit, your likely choice will always be to never take another puff!

Joel
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wcsdancer (Gold)
wcsdancer (Gold)

December 6th, 2001, 2:25 am #8

Joel, Not wanting to live the life of a "closet smoker" anymore was the #1 reason why I quit smoking. The lies, excuses, avoidance, hiding, covering up, and the constant withdrawal I was in was horrible. Because I'm feeling more comfortable physically, I've been forgetting how bad it really was. Reading about the widow has given me a swift reminder. Thank you! I've been enjoying ALL family activities now for: 3w5d12h54s! *Candy*
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Joel
Joel

December 19th, 2001, 6:04 pm #9

With the holidays coming and social events possibly on the increase, this is a good one to reflect on when you are with family and friends and not hurrying to leave or constantly going out for a smoke. You can enjoy social events unencumbered by withdrawal and will so forever as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

January 5th, 2002, 7:21 am #10

The true costs of smoking is more than just premature death--in many ways it is the premature loss of quality life that can even be more tragic. I noticed we have a few new members who are grandparents--I think they will relate to this one to the importance of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Alice
Alice

March 18th, 2002, 5:44 am #11

I love that post of 1/28/01. The Widowed Smoker. I did that. I cleaned and smoked and cooked and smoked and talked and smoked and smoked.
I'm so glad I've been smoke free for almost 5 months now.
Day by day, cooking and cleaning and working and enjoying life a whole lot more.
YQS
Alice
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Mary (Green)
Mary (Green)

March 18th, 2002, 6:39 am #12

Hey Alice, I just sent you a response but I think it got lost in cyberland. If found, please forgive me for repeating. Your post reminded me of the story of the student of spirituality who asks his guru, "How will life be different for me after achieving enlightenment?" The guru responds, "Before enlightenment, fetch water from well, carry water. After enlightenment, fetch water from well, carry water." Before I quit I was scared stiff that I wouldn't know how to "do" life. But two months into it, I see that it's all surprisingly "doable." Only now we're healthier, smell prettier, glow even! Take care, Mary
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Joel
Joel

March 31st, 2002, 10:11 pm #13

I've been spending a lot of times with my inlaws this weekend--lots and lots of people, 24 or so, I lose count. Only one smoker in the bunch. Everyone is spending time talking and visiting and playing games, 6 hour stretches in fact, with no one seeming to be in a hurry to get anywhere--except maybe for me looking for a computer to check in at the board and my email. It made me think of this letter of people who can't enjoy and experience such occasions because of smoking. It is one thing when people are limited from sharing such experiences because of the lack family and friends because of isolation of distance from people--it is quit another when people are available and willing to be there but you let a drug get in the way of quality time. To be around longer to share your life with family and friends, both more quality time now and more time because of your extended health and life, always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Kit Cat (Gold)
Kit Cat (Gold)

May 21st, 2002, 10:51 pm #14

This story reminds me so much of my mother. My father passed away August 28, 2000 from cancer. My mother had given up smoking for 5 years prior to him getting sick. He got sick June 15, 2000 and she picked up that cigarette again and hasn't looked back. My brother and I vowed to quit smoking when dad passed away. It took us both awhile. He has not smoked for 2 months and I have not smoked for 15 days. Mom's the only smoker left and she's been having second thoughts! I will pass this on to her and leave it up to her to make her choice.

Another nicotine addict for 30 yrs and I have chosen not to smoke for 2 Weeks 1 Day 20 Hours 50 Minutes 42 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 603. Money saved: C$241.20. Life/Time saved: 6 Days 6 Hrs 45 Mins 4 Secs
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AMD33 (gold)
AMD33 (gold)

May 22nd, 2002, 12:56 pm #15

This is the post Joel brought up to the top when I got here six months ago. And I just wanted to let you all know that although I've not been around much lately (i have a new job that's taking up every second of my time and I'm also going to school at night now), I am still here and still going strong :) Thank you to John and Joel and Grumpy and Joanne and Nora and Marty and Glenys and everyone :) You are all wonderful :)

And to those of you just starting, you can do it. I know because I didn't think I could and I'm here now.

All my love to all freedomites,
Jessica aka AMD33
Celebrating freedom for Six months, 7 hours, 29 minutes and 17 seconds. 1813 cigarettes not smoked, saving $484.90. Life saved: 6 days, 7 hours, 5 minutes.
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Lilac (Bronze)
Lilac (Bronze)

September 7th, 2002, 11:55 pm #16

Oh, man------when Lorraine picked this post as her favoriite in the parade the other day, I thought it sounded interesting and I believed I had not read it. I just now read it and found early on (first sentence) that it was hauntingly familiar. I had read it before and I believe REPRESSED it. I am not a widow but the part about the visit from the kids and grandkids----well, I don't want to think about it. It IS a great message. If I had read it a few years ago, it might have tipped the balance. but one can't live backwards. Lilac

I still choose "My cigarette, My friend" though as Joel's best because it's message is universal and it also, to be honest, doesn't arouse so much guilt in my recovering soul.
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Joel
Joel

September 8th, 2002, 12:27 am #17

"Guilt in my recovering soul." I like that phrase for this letter. This one haunted me too as I wrote it. I didn't have any one specifically in my mind when I wrote this one, it was just what I imagined as a composite of lonely older people I knew at the time--some of them non-smokers but who I recognized looked so forward to family and friend visits that it just all of a sudden struck me how a smoker in the same situation is likely to have altered priorities. "My Cigarette My Friend" on the other hand was inspired by a specific person I knew who I was visiting in the hospital who thought that she had just experienced her fourth heart attack, was afraid she was dying, and was wanting a cigarette. She had literally been out the night before to a play that she had left some key scenes so she could go out and smoke. That letter almost wrote itself when I went home that evening and just wrote what I thought as I reflected about her comments.

Although I don't want this letter to create a sense of guilt as much as a sense of remorse of how much really valuable time may have been wasted on cigarettes. More importantly now though, I hope this piece creates a sense of importance on how you never want to waste your future valuable time and energy from this point forward on maintaining an active nicotine addiction and remind you that you never will as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Lilac (Bronze)
Lilac (Bronze)

September 8th, 2002, 1:23 am #18

Oh, Joel, you are really such a lovely man. You are a cultural treasure. I feel fortunate to know you not only from a learning standpoint but from a literary one as well. I once wrote poetry whenever I was moved by fortune or misfortune. When I say I wrote poetry what I really mean is poetry wrote itself in me.. That sounds very much like the manner in which you wrote My Cigarette, My Friend. Sometimes high emotion leads to searing truth-- of course you already knew the truth but , in that message, you certainly made it manifest for otherrs. Lilac
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BirkyGOLD
BirkyGOLD

November 30th, 2002, 11:35 pm #19

WOA, THIS HAS BECOME ONE OF MY FAVORITE AMONG MANY, BUT THIS HIT REALLY CLOSE TO HEART. I JUST REALIZED HOW SMOKING FOR YEARS REALLY HAS MADE ME A WIDOW, NOT IN THE TRUE SENSE, BUT BY MISSING SO MUCH OF LIFE, MAKING CONSTANT EXCUSES TO FEED OUR ADDICTION. THIS THANKSGIVING WAS A CHALLENGE, COOKING AND COOKING, WITH MY SMOKING SIDE PATIO BECKONING ME. THEN THAT SIP OF WHITE WINE AS I FINISHED THE GRAVY.... IT PASSED WITH ME THE VICTOR. THANKS FREEDOM. BIRKY 15DAYS+
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Joel
Joel

February 7th, 2003, 1:01 pm #20

For those who think that the people they see smoking are somehow happy or lucky. Even the people who you don't see who are smoking are not lucky and probaly have a lower quality of life in more ways than just health impairments. Many people end up much more isolated as smokers just because they smoke.
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Jordan(Silver)
Jordan(Silver)

February 8th, 2003, 2:16 pm #21

I'm sending this one to my 3 packs a day sister. Yes, I
said 3 packs.
When she gets older and her kids are grown, she could
end up being the lady in Joel's story.

I told her about this website. I don't know if she ever
looked at it. She is the most stubborn addict that I
have ever known.

If she could only see through her addiction for a few,
clear, bright seconds!

Gena (bronze)
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MsArmstrongKIS
MsArmstrongKIS

May 1st, 2003, 12:02 am #22

You know, I don't have a husband, dead or not, much less any kids, but I remember this Joel Classic as probably the first that made my eyes pop in the first week of my quit.

I think it was because usually when you read about someone in literature, a cigarette means something about their character and is used as a prop--romanticized. You know, like Audrey Hepburn at her party in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

But smokers don't get to use cigarettes just as props. . .this little story shows smoking for what it really is; punctuation for every single act you do in the day. Joel, I just don't know how you know how to portray smoking this accurately but I'm so glad you do, because sometimes I forget what being a smoker is really like and I start thinking it would be nice to have one at the cafe or at the bar. I forget the reality.

Very powerful. . .it just got to me again, two months later.

Alex
2 months 2 weeks 2 days
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Joel
Joel

August 2nd, 2003, 5:01 pm #23

I was just resonding to an email from a person who found this one particulary helpful in realizing just how much life revolves around cigarettes when a person is an active nicotine addict. What is great is how once you quit, life no longer revolves around smoking nor not smoking either. Life as an ex-smoker just revolves around life. To keep your health and to stay permanently free from the grip that nicotine once exerted upon you is as simple now as just always remembering why you first quit smoking and why for numerous personal reasons you are still totally committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Alleen Golden
Alleen Golden

September 8th, 2003, 12:29 am #24

Joel:

This was a wonderful article and a really sad article. As I read, I could see myself, the addiction of smoking so clearly. I am amazed at the number of articles that you have and how moving they really are.

Thank you Joel... You helped teach me how to save my own life. I feel so much better that I will never take another puff.

Alleen
1 week 2 days, 17 hours. 194 cigarettes were not smoked. Wow - the cigarettes are starting to add up.
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Joel
Joel

September 8th, 2003, 1:13 am #25

Hello Alleen:

This letter was a little different than most of them. I didn't have any one specifically in my mind when I wrote this piece, it was just my impressions of a number of lonely older people I knew at the time. Some of them were actually non-smokers and ex-smokers. I just saw how much these people had looked so forward to family and friend visits and then it just struck me how a smoker in the same situation is likely to have altered priorities.

As opposed to this letter, most of my articles were inspired by a specific smoker or group of smokers. "My Cigarette, My Friend " for example was inspired by a specific clinic graduate who had relapsed and who I was visiting in the hospital right after she thought that she just experienced her fourth heart attack. She was afraid she was dying, and was wanting a cigarette. She had been out to a play the night before that she had to leave during some key scenes so she could go out and smoke. She was bitter about that and also about the fact that she believed that her cigarettes were killing her at this particularly moment in time, yet she was saying how much she wanted a cigarette and could not have one because she was hospitalized. I went home that evening and just wrote what I thought as I reflected about her conflicting comments and sentiments. Basically, that letter almost wrote itself.

I feel that the Isolation of the Widowed Smoker is really clear at showing how much valuable time and energy our members and readers once wasted on cigarettes and on just fixating on smoking. More importantly now though, I hope this piece creates a sense of importance on how you never want to waste your future valuable time and energy on maintaining an active nicotine addiction and to always serve to remind you that you never will have to waste such quality time on smoking as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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