Part three of The Houses That Built Me will appear in a few days. This post is for Katie - and anyone else who wants to drop a bad habit.
I, Katie P., devoted wife of Ross and loving mother of Riley and Reece, do hereby declare, ordain and establish that I will become a non-smoker.
I will begin by…. Procrastinating… I will achieve this goal in 40 days.
Day 1: I will light my first cigarette of the day ten minutes later than I did yesterday.
Instead of smoking at 0:00 AM, I will drink one 8 oz. glass of water and wait ten minutes.
Day 2: I will light my first cigarette ten minutes later than I did yesterday, drinking one 8 oz. glass of water instead of smoking.
Day 3: Same as days 1 and 2. I will keep in mind that the water is helping to flush the nicotine out of my system, thereby reducing my craving for it.
Day 4 through 20: same as days 1 and 2. Additionally, I will consume one less caffeinated drink per day, because caffeine aggravates craving for nicotine. I will replace it with cool, clear, cleansing water.
I will diligently seek to eliminate the following idea from my mind: “Just this one won’t hurt. I can get back on track tomorrow.”
I understand that irritability is a withdrawal symptom. Nicotine is a parasite and emotional irritation is its way of fighting to hold on to its place in my body. I will ignore these feelings and remain steadfast to my personal choice to become a non-smoker. I understand that, during these times of irritation, lighting a cigarette will not make a bad situation better.
Day 21: I will skip my last cigarette of the evening. I will avoid alcohol during the next 20 days, understanding that it also has a tendency to aggravate cravings for cigarettes and weaken my resolve to become a non-smoker.
During the next 19 days, I will keep in mind that dropping a bad habit is a lot like breaking up with a bad boyfriend: I am going to miss it for awhile.
I will remind myself that I have successfully quit smoking before; I know I can do it. I will begin taking a daily walk of at least 20 minutes, 4 times a week. I will notice how much easier it is to take deeper breaths and how I no longer become out of breath when I run up the stairs to the time clock.
Day 22: I will skip the cigarettes I usually smoke right after meals, waiting at least 20 minutes from the time I usually light up after eating.
Day 23: I will skip the cigarettes I usually smoke right after a meal, waiting at least 30 minutes.
Day 24: Same as 22-23, adding a 40 minute wait. More water will continue to cleanse my body of the influence of the parasite.
Day 25 - 30: I will continue to add 10 minutes to the time I usually light up after meals.
Day 30: I will not light up during my work breaks. I will look back over the past 30 days and build on my success in kicking cigarettes out of my life.
I will notice that I sleep more peacefully and cough a lot less when I first lie down at might. My walks will become longer and will eventually give way to running.
Days 30-39: I will continue to eliminate one cigarette per day until I am down to 1. I will memorize the following Bible verses so that when I feel irritated and/or am about to give up I will set my mind to CHEER UP (John 16:33) and CALM DOWN (John 14:27).
Day 40: I am now a non-smoker!!
I WILL NOT CELELBRATE BY LIGHTING UP A CIGARETTE!!!
I further strengthen my resolve to remain a nonsmoker by never, ever thinking “Just one won’t hurt…”
I am Katie.
I am strong.
I. Will. Do. it.