The Insanity of Cigarettes

Last week marked my 5-year anniversary of quitting smoking. I haven’t talked about it in the vlog before because I felt a lot of shame around it. But now, I’m ready to talk about it.

I smoked on and off my whole life. After getting married and having kids, I stopped teaching college courses and was working at home, getting the Bright Line Eating business started. I was spending my days alone and missing social interaction. At a 12-step meeting, I found myself wanting to join the social circle of folks outside the meeting doors who were chatting and smoking. 

One night, I found myself chain-smoking in secret in the wee hours outside of my house in the bitter Rochester winter weather. My husband knew (and hated it), but I was hiding it from the kids. Every time I finished my nightly smoking binge, I would come inside, shower, brush my teeth, and put my clothes straight into the washing machine.

It was insanity. And I realized it is so similar to food addiction. It’s the same mental process. There are specific biases—insanity, really. Not clinical insanity, but the lack of ability to think straight and effectively weigh the cause and effect. 

First is the exaggeration by the mind of how good it will feel to indulge, along with dismissing the impact of the consequences. Second, the brain convinces you that you can have “just one” or “just a little.” Then the third insanity is convincing yourself that after you’ve had “just one,” you’ll be operating with the same brain you have before indulging—a brain that can effectively consider the cause and effect. But once you’ve picked it up, you don’t have the same brain anymore. You are now experiencing physiological cravings. And what “just one” does is trigger the desire for another. 

And we forget that. We have amnesia about it the next time we go through it. We forget the struggle and go through the madness all over again. 

I finally hit rock bottom, smoking outside in the snow on the eve of my husband’s birthday. And I decided, as a gift to him and to myself, to quit then and there. And that commitment stuck—and now it’s been five years. 

A book that really helped me a lot was Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. There were so many nuggets from this book that really spoke to me and I made a lot of notes as I read it that I kept in my phone. 

So it’s been five years since I quit, and I didn’t feel equipped to talk about it until now. I talked about my food and times that I wasn’t Bright during that span of years, but cigarettes are just another issue. Even during that time, as I was smoking, I considered myself a non-smoker. Addiction is such a head trip, isn’t it?


Episode: The Insanity of Cigarettes | Bright Line Living | The Official Bright Line Eating Podcast