Monday, November 05, 2007

Evil Cancer Sticks

OK, about Don and his smoking. He has been in various states of quitting for the past seven years. When he first wanted to change the nature of our friendship to something more romantic, I declined on the basis that I would never date a smoker again-- previous boyfriend had been a smoker, y'see. He surprised me by promptly agreeing to quit (I guess I was underestimating my allure as a potential girlfriend) and did really well for maybe the next six months. Then he gradually backslid into smoking again, until he was smoking maybe a few cigarettes every day, brought on by the stress of our move to Vermont, temporary unemployment, and my sudden descent into depression. The way I see it, he quit just long enough to cement the relationship...

We've been following the same pattern ever since, with a quitting cycle, several months of doing quite well, and then a return to smoking, usually triggered by periods of stress and upheaval. The last year hasn't been so good; our move to Virginia separated us for a good six weeks or so as he came up here to start work and I remained in Texas to tie up loose ends and get transferred through work. That period of being alone, living in the hotel and away from the positive influence of a nagging fiance plummeted Don back into smoking, and he hasn't really crawled out of that hole ever since-- except for a brief, disastrous attempt during our wedding/honeymoon vacation.

The quitting is complicated by the fact that Don gets really grumpy and nasty when he's quitting. I suppose any smoker or former smoker (or partner of either) understands what I mean. It's as though he's been possessed by an evil, grumpy gremlin and it makes living with him quite difficult. Hence the disaster of his trying to quit while simultaneously getting married and spending the week with both his parents and mine.

Because I've been absolutely, unequivocally, anti-smoking from the start, Don has kept his evil cancer-sticks to himself: he doesn't smoke in our house, in my car, or even in front of me. This is good in that it means I'm not sucking up his smoke, but it also makes it hard to know whether and how much he's actually smoking. Now that I've read so much about how smoking can cause infertility and miscarriage, we're both being more serious about the quitting. Believe it or not, it's hard work riding someone's ass all the time, you know? Even for a righteous cause.

He's been doing pretty well so far... no smoking at all on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

1 comment:

ayla said...

When I was quitting, I started drinking tea every time I wanted a cigarette. I had just moved back in with my mom and would only smoke while nobody else was home for about two months. When people were home, I had a cup of tea to curb the craving. I also found that sunflower seeds were a nice substitute (it gave me the hand-mouth satisfaction). For accountability, you might want to have him keep his pack and his lighter on the counter, and take one cigarette out at a time, so you can see how much he's smoking every day without riding his ass constantly.

I also didn't set out to quit, but it ended up working. I don't know. Good luck to you and Don as you figure out what works for him.