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Congratulations to me! As of yesterday, I have lived five years as a non-smoker. Some of us refer to the “quit smoking” status as being “smober.” Well that’s what I am— five years smober.
I started smoking as a young teenager and really picked up the habit during my junior-high school days. Although lots of folks look back on their lives and blame such bad behavior as being caused by peer pressure, I do not. I hold myself accountable for my actions. I was a leader— not a follower. I smoked because I wanted to. More likely than not, I started because my dad was a smoker. I can’t remember Dad without a cigarette in his hand. He smoked non-filter brands like Chesterfield Kings or Pall Mall, and sometimes rolled his own, which not only gave him the nicotine he craved but turned his fingers a lovely shade of pukey yellow. ICK! He was a very handsome man, always dressed to the nines and perfectly groomed. His silver hair was so striking, except for the yellow tinges due to nicotine stain.
Our house was always under a smoky fog, as was the interior of our cars. Yep, Dad smoked in the house, in the car, and, frankly, wherever else he wanted to. There were no laws regarding designated smoking areas back then. In fact, smoking was touted as being glamorous during the ’40s and into the ’60s. Shoot, even Andy of Mayberry and Lucy smoked on their programs. I also remember seeing Walt Disney on television puffing on a cigarette. Ah— role models!
After trying to quit smoking a time or two, I don’t think I ever really thought I’d be a non-smoker. I was a smoker, and that was that. I now believe that with five years of smobriety under my belt, I will never again resume the habit. For those of you wondering what methods I used to quit, I offer the following:
I had to find the right motivation. My reasons for trying to quit in the past had always been pretty run-of-the-mill: the cost of cigarettes, stinky clothes and hair, fear of cancer, chronic pneumonia and bronchitis, and the unhappiness it caused my husband and mother. Although they were all valid reasons and may be motivators for others, none of them worked for me.I have written before a time or two about the one factor or motivator that finally did the trick, and I feel this is a good time to repeat the story.
About five years ago, I found out I had periodontal disease. It was painful, and I was afraid to undergo the cutting and suturing necessary to treat the condition. Thanks to my friend,Robert Quintero, I went and saw Dr. Gregg in Cerritos who put me through some pretty intense (although nearly painless) and costly laser dental/gum procedures to cure me of my dental issues. I haven’t had any problems since.
How is that a motivator? Dr. Gregg informed me that if I didn’t quit smoking I’d have to go through the whole thing again and again, and if I decided to keep smoking and NOT have the procedure repeated, I would probably lose my teeth. Now there’s MY motivator. With the genetics in my family (I should live to be nearly 100 years old), dying doesn’t scare me, but living without teeth does. Ah, vanity. That was and still is my motivator! Thanks to nicotine patches and a 12-step program, I did it. I am a non-smoker!

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Thoughts from the Publisher